Fighting Parkinson’s, and reducing holiday stress

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

You find yourself, your Adrenaline-driven-over-thinking-perfectionist self, wanting everything to be perfect. You have the correct answers, you can solve all of the problems facing you, and others, on a daily basis, and you have a sense that if you think about things long enough, you will figure out all of the answers. I had 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 you 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 “________ is not perfect.”

Every one of these “is not perfect” examples is another stress factor being added to your life. 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 no 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 yourself leads to the kind of stress and anger and frustration and fear and worry that helped you 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, you often find yourself doing nothing…you become paralyzed by your Adrenaline-driven-over-thinking-perfectionism. You become paralyzed in your Parkinson’s. You become paralyzed in your life. If you can let go of the attachment to perfectionism, it will go a long way to releasing the paralysis that stops you 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 striving 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-affirmations:

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,



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21 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and reducing holiday stress

  1. Now, if I can just let go of my idea that I have to make the perfect reply to this right on target post of yours, Howard…everything will be…oh no!… perfect?

    Thanks dear soul for this amazing post…love and warm wishes of the holiday season to all…

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Haha Penny I love your comment! Made me realise I do the same re thinking about what I will say haha. :-) xx

  2. Tom says:

    My cat is purr-fect with no signs of PD! teaching me to be present…

  3. Heather says:

    Merry Christmas and may God bless you in the New Year Howard. Thanks for all your encouraging words through out this year.

  4. Ruth says:

    Thank you. I so needed to hear this today, not so much for the holidays as for my physical limitations when I exercise. And thank you for all your support and encouragement this past year.

  5. Christiane from Germany says:

    Thank you so much for your incredible support. Your loving words just came at the right time. In a few days I will turn 60 and my family and some good friends have been invited to my house. Do I have to clean the whole house? What kind of food am I going to offer? How can I please every guest?
    I just decided to take it easy and only enjoy the company of my guests. Everything will be taken care of and nothing has to be perfect!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  6. Dr. Karen Zilverberg says:

    Thanks, Howard!

    Don says: Merry Christmas and here is wishing for a less-than-perfect 2017!

    Karen says: Thanks, Howard, because your blogs open up subjects that are good for us to discuss.

    May all of God’s blessings be upon everyone, everyone’s families, and all that everyone does.

    Karen and Don

  7. Cap says:

    Those of us who DON’T stress over the holidays can help others who do to do like the famous Eagles song title, “Take it Easy!” Thanks Howard! Great message!

  8. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard and fellow warriors. Great post friend. I have been very caught up with medication at moment ( which ain’t kicking in) so it’s good to reconnect to your wisdom Howard. :-) Happy happy Christmas to you Howard and your lovely family and same wishes to all warriors. As I remember it was near Christmas last year when we all got the gift of Helen in Australia’s recovery. Helen would love an update on how you are doing friend, how you getting on with your dropped foot from your stroke?
    Please God 2017 will see more warriors reach the finish line.
    Big Love, Karen xx

  9. Brian from England says:

    Thanks Howard for your continued support.

    I would like to share a web address of some meditation music tha I sometimes find helpful whilst doing my exercises.

    This is the first time I’ve posted a message so I hope it works ok.
    Best wishes to all my fellow travellers.

  10. Melanie says:

    It is very difficult to be perfect in any way when you have PD. There is not much choice other than to accept the fact that we have to be less than perfect.

  11. Christine (UK) says:

    Thank you Brian for your link to the meditation music.
    I found it useful.
    Happy Xmas to all

  12. Veronica Urquhart says:

    Dear Melanie….please don’t put yourself down dear friend thinking you are less than perfect. There are plenty of people walking around who may not have visible signs of disability but may have unseen emotional characteristics that are less than perfect. Because we can’t see them we may think they are perfect. There is a saying ” It is more important to know the person who has a problem than to know the problem the person has.” It’s what is in your heart that matters so you are ok. Much love.

    Veronica 🌺🌱

  13. Chuck R says:

    I am no longer perfect, and that makes me very happy! My PD recovery journey is teaching me so much and I’m very thankful for it. I’ve been on a worry free diet and part of that is a grateful diet. I wake up hunting for things to be grateful for. Anyone want to join the hunt? During my hunt yesterday I found the song by Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World. I’ve heard it many times even played in a band, but it sounds so different now. Enjoy

    Merry Christmas peace and joy to everyone and everything

    • Christine says:

      Thanks for the link Chuck. Beautiful!
      Wishing you all love and peace for the holiday season and the coming year!

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