Fighting Parkinson’s, and letting go of 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 let go of some of the stress and have more enjoyable holidays (of course, my not-so-hidden-agenda is helping you reach your cure):

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 being cured. 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. We become paralyzed in our lives. 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 cured than to be perfect. I think your families and friends feel the same way about you.

Plus, sometimes the stress is from past holidays and your life is different now. Stress has just become an old habit at holiday time…let it go.

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 curing myself. I am worth it!”

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Fighting Parkinson's Drug Free. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and letting go of holiday stress

  1. Sally says:

    As I read these words,I actually let them in!
    Getting to the truth of who I’ve been a little more each day.
    Thank you so much Howard for your incredible wisdom and truth.

  2. Howard….what timely words! I won’t say perfect…their timeliness is in the fullness of heart and the presence and wisdom with which they are offered. So yes, I breathe a sigh of relief as I let go of my perfectionism and sink into the comfort of loving connections throughout the holidays….

    Warmest wishes for peace and joy and gratitude to all….

  3. Monica McIntyre says:

    U are so right on !! Thanks
    How can anyone be perfect duh………
    Bless u

  4. Melanie says:

    Old habits are hard to break! But I’m giving it my all! I know I can break this habit because I can’t do things the way I used to do so I’m forced to give it up. I’m okay with that because I don’t have the energy that I used to have! No frustration, anger, resentment… I feel at peace with this new me! Thanks for the reminder, Howard! Happy holidays to everyone! Love to all this holiday season!


  5. judy says:

    Encouraging words that bear repeating. Chipping away at old, harmful, unhealthy habits a little at a time: Howard on the sidelines cheering us on! Thanx, Howard.


    Did you mean to use the football field with Howard on the sidelines coaching as an example, Judy?? I really like it and I would add that we are scoring touch downs and field goals every day while doing the recipe. I like the huddles also when we do our blogs, so very supportive. I am gong to add charging down the football field as well as my train journey to keep inspired —- thank you. Wishing all of you the best of this holiday season, love Marilyn

  7. Margee says:

    This is exactly what i needed to hear today………….why does that not surprise me! Ha! Our God is an “On Time God” and he uses you as His mouthpiece. Thank you for your willingness to be used.

  8. Singingway says:

    Thank you. The truths you speak wake me up. Until I read it here, I never thought that trying to hard to be a “good person/good daughter/good student/good citizen” could be what is challenging my health. Can you give some more help about how to get rid of unwanted habits? Even though I see habits in me that are counterproductive, I have not successfully overcome them. Many thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *