Fighting Parkinson’s, and let’s reduce holiday stress

I know, you are thinking, “What do Fighting Parkinson’s and reducing holiday stress have in common?” Being perfect. If we can give up the notion that everything has to be perfect, including ourselves, then we can be recovering from our Parkinson’s and reducing our holiday stress at the same time. We have to give up the requirement that everything has to be perfect, including ourselves. Imagine that, we are not perfect.

We find ourselves, our Adrenaline-driven-over-thinking-perfectionist selves, wanting everything to be perfect. We have the correct answers, we can solve all of the problems facing us, and others, on a daily basis, and we have a sense that if we think about things long enough, we will figure out all of the answers. I say “we” because I include myself in this behavior previously, and part of my recovery was letting go of my attachment to being perfect and wanting perfection in all things in life. It was liberating, and necessary, in my recovery.

Since the holidays are filled with stress, let’s take a look at it and see if we can’t reduce some of the stress and have more enjoyable holidays (of course, my not-so-hidden-agenda is helping you recover):

1. My house is not clean enough. You think to yourself, “Susie’s house is so clean you could eat off the floor. Why can’t I ever get my house that clean.” I will venture a guess that Susie never has asked you to eat a meal off of her floor. Do your best and let it go.
2. My children’s behavior is not perfect. All I can say to this is “Thank God.” This decreases their chances of getting Parkinson’s, something I am certain you never would wish upon them.
3. The food is not perfect.
4. The lawn is not perfect.
5. The gifts I bought others may not be perfect.
6. This is a long list of what is not perfect. Feel free to fill in the blank ________.

Every one of these “is not perfect” examples is another stress factor being added to our lives. And, the stress leads to anger and frustration, and the Adrenaline drives the anger and frustration to fear and worry and anxiety. Are you having fun, yet? I did not think so.

What I had to learn in my recovery on this issue is that it is okay to not be perfect. I had to look at myself and say, “I am not perfect.” There, I said it. Can you? I came to realize that what was missing from my list of holiday stress perfections was the people. I was spending so much time wanting every”thing” to be perfect, I completely forgot about the most important “thing”…the people. How sad is that!

For me, Parkinson’s was an awakening. I learned that it is okay to not be perfect or expect perfection in myself. I learned that my family was not expecting perfection from me. I learned that my obsession with my long list of “holiday stress” perfections probably caused stress for Sally and the children each time we prepared for a holiday gathering, so I need to say I am sorry to Sally and Steven and Genevieve and Victoria for what I would imagine were some stressful times being around me at holiday time over the years as we would be preparing for our guests to arrive. There is much less stress now at holiday time in our home.

During my recovery, and after my recovery, this awakening has remained a strong force. It is a very important point and I can’t stop writing until I cover it one more time: Expecting perfection in ourselves leads to the kind of stress and anger and frustration and fear and worry that helped us get Parkinson’s in the first place and will prevent you from recovering. Why? I have heard from quite a few people that what prevented them from initially starting the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ was that they lacked the confidence in their ability to do each Qigong exercise “perfectly” (their word, not mine).

By having to do everything perfectly, we often find ourselves doing nothing…we become paralyzed by our Adrenaline-driven-over-thinking-perfectionism. We become paralyzed in our Parkinson’s. If we can let go of the attachment to perfectionism, it will go a long way to releasing the paralysis that stops us from “doing” and recovering.

So, be kind to yourself this holiday season. Instead of worrying about yourself and things being perfect, how about accepting things as they are and enjoy yourself and the people around you. I can tell you from experience, my family and friends prefer me to be recovered than to be perfect. I think your families and friends feel the same way about you.

So, let’s begin reducing our holiday stress together by adopting our Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ holiday-stress-reducing-affirmation:

“I choose to not expect myself to be perfect. I choose to accept that my best is good enough. I choose to be happy and joyful, opening my heart this holiday season, offering compassion to myself and others. I choose faith over fear. I have the power to heal myself, and I am recovery. I am worth it!”

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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2 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and let’s reduce holiday stress

  1. Helen says:

    I choose love over fear. Thank you Howard. I choose not to worry I can’t walk perfectly or use my arm perfectly I accept myself and give myself compassion. Happy days everyone. Love Helen

    • Howard says:

      Hi Helen,
      You are welcome! Your choices are magnificent and they sound like recovery. Good for you. Thank you for sharing your love with all of us.

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