I have just returned from a working vacation in the mountains of North Carolina. The experience proved to be nothing short of amazing, as I saw an improvement in almost all my symptoms! Strength, stamina, balance, gait, sleep, cognition, and productivity were all improved and recognizably noticeable.
Nature has a healing property. Just to be surrounded by the abundance of flowering, fluttering, and stirring plants and creatures can reunite you with your connection with the planet. In this modern world, we begin to lose that connection with earth and sky, only to focus on flat screens, texts, and our on-screen accounts.
Once leaving the bucolic beauty of the lush green forest and coming back to city life, I find myself wondering if this is my healthiest decision. Returning to the sights and sounds of nature re-invigorated me–I found it to be a struggle to return to civilization, albeit, at this time, a necessity. Don’t forget to garden it, walk in it, swim in it, or just be in it–don’t lose your connection to Nature.
What keeps you motivated?
What gets you out of bed every day?
What makes you happy?
What inspires you?
Every day may be about small victories.
Be proud of your achievements.
Don’t discount yourself or what you accomplish.
I will be re-releasing this and a few other posts from my archives that I think are worth revisiting:
If you are a frequent reader of this blog or have read my books, you know that I talk a great deal about the impact that I believe stress plays on Parkinson’s disease and the related symptoms of the illness. Make note, I am neither a doctor nor am I a clinical researcher. I have recently found this fascinating research showing signs of scientific evidence to validate more of what I have experienced and believed to be true – stress may have a significant role in Parkinson’s.
I have seen benefit and strongly believe that if you are able to lower your stress level, you can improve your symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. There has to be a logical reason why when many of us go on vacation or get deeply involved in a project that engrosses us, we sometimes see improvement in our condition.
How often do you find that when your stress is lower you have unused medication at the end of the day because you found that you didn’t need it?
Does this happen to you when you go away to a place less full of stress, like the beach or the mountains?
If stress does play an important factor in neurological disorders, and it looks very possible, then the science of stress needs deep exploration—quickly.
I encourage you to read this paper online and judge for yourself. I think that you will find some observations that need further investigation.
To read the paper for yourself, go to http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/85/8/878.long
Be aware of the sun’s intensity and extreme heat!
Protect everything! If you are taking Sinemet, exposure to the sun may cause you to burn more easily! Wear a hat and sunscreen everything that you don’t want to burn.
Stay hydrated! Staying hydrated is not just good for the body, but your pills may function better as well.
Hot or cold Many PD patients, me included, can easily overheat on very hot days. For some reason, we don’t always self regulate our body temperature at peak performance. Pay close attention to your sweating and thirst.
Watch your salt–Too little salt may cause orthostatic hypotension (dizziness when getting up or lying down) and too much can cause high blood pressure, find a balance and ask your doctor.
Most of us are low on vitamin D! Have your vitamin D level checked. Sun helps with D, but sun ages and burns. Dairy has D but be careful with protein and your meds.
Moderation and body awareness will help keep you sun safe. Be sun smart and careful out there! Talk to your doctor about these issues. I am not a doctor and these are suggestions, not medical advice. Be well!
A comfortable routine is not always a bad habit.
Cats love it! The only real problem with routines is when you sacrifice an opportunity to maintain the routine. If the cycle that you are in is working for you, then by all means keep it, and don’t let go, but if the routine has gone stale or you see a need for correction, it might be time for a new tack.
Parkinson’s Disease can take away the very basic but vital skills that we treasure and sometimes take for granted. Facial masking, or loss of obvious facial emotion can make identifying a Parkinson’s patient’s state of emotion very hard to read, by observation. Due to muscle tightness and rigidity in the jaw and facial muscles, some patients find it difficult to smile.
Just taking the time on a daily basis and scrunching your face in the mirror, wiggling your tongue back and forth, and squinting your eyes and face can be a great way to keep the face a little more limber. That’s what I do!
A smile is not to be wasted nor forgotten. Use your smile and share it with the world. Sometimes we forget to smile and the power that comes with it. If those facial muscles are a challenge for your smile, do what you can to work to keep those facial muscles as limber as you can and keep that bright smile. A smile is a viral gift that often comes back, when shared with others.
We shouldn’t have to, but Parkinson’s disease may make us have to practice smiling, instead of just doing it naturally.
I am so honored, humbled, and proud to announce that for the 3rd year in a row, Healthline has recognized my blog, http://www.Asoftvoice.com, as one of the best Parkinson’s disease blogs! I enjoy blogging and sharing my experiences and thoughts with my readers. It means a great deal to me to know that my site may help in some small way! Thank you for reading my posts and coming to my site! I hope that I can continue to offer the content that you enjoy and find to be of assistance.
Where has the month of May gone?
It seems like I just took this picture in Alaska, but that was 2 years ago. Time creeps up on us, silently and subtlety. The month of May is rounding the corner and heading for the finish. As one who loves this time of year, I let time get away from me. In my focus and devotion to my projects and writing, I lost my sense of time. While my time has been spent productively, somehow, I missed the progression of time, as it happened. As weird as it sounds, it sounds even stranger as I try to explain it. Maybe, I need to go back to living by my calendar!
Hyperbole on television, the evening news, politics, the Internet, and especially late night shows, is more common than ever. Our exposure to the dramatic and the end all be all is becoming a standard occurrence. Every day we wake to a new dilemma that involves “the greatest”. “the best”, “the most tremendous”. It is a contagion that gets ratings, sells newspapers, and is the marketer’s tool of choice. Watch any infomercial pitch and you are sure to hear hyperbole.
Hyperbole is ingrained in today’s messages. Usually, the message is louder and more shocking. Drama ensues.
A few years ago, I tried an experiment to catalog the many messages that I received from viewing 2 hours of one of the cable news channels. What follows are most of the crises discussed by the news team. I’m sure that I must have missed a couple. You’ll notice that most of these topics are not of the positive nature. I think that this proves that the daily messages that we are exposed to may very well have a direct connection to our thoughts and our feelings.
Here they are:
Train bombing, Missing Dolphins that were raised in captivity, Heavy rain, City Workers Steal Donated Items for Hurricane victims, Earthquakes, Sexual Abuse of a sports star, NASCAR Fight, New Orleans Health Care Crisis, Rising Oil Prices, Missing college student, Metro fire, Hurricane evacuation, Drought, Murder, Kidnapping, Corruption in government, Sex offenders, Train derailment, oil prices, poverty, inflation, drowning, mold and spore death, robbery, plane crash, home destroyed, stock loss, computer hacking, balcony collapse, contaminated water, abandoned animals, Cancer, lack of potable water, terrorism, taxes, forest fire, thunderstorms, Space shuttle disaster, and nuclear weapons.
If this is what you hear and see in 2 hours of reporting, imagine all the exposure your brain and entire emotional system are forced to process. If your system is compromised the negativity of these stories could have even more impact.
It might be an experiment worth attempting. Try shielding yourself from the barrage of news that is unavoidable and mostly unchangeable, to see if all aspects of your illness shows improvement. Consider a respite of time for yourself and those close to you. Maybe by doing something to counteract just one of these issues, a positive change might come.
Nothing is better than hyperbole-bad joke alert.
The following PDF is an excerpt from our new book, Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit.
We are excited to provide this collection of exercises and tools that we believe can benefit most anyone! Whether you are an individual, a support group, a social group, or a small informal group, we encourage you to try these exercises and to share it with those who you feel may benefit from it.