On January 1st, I announced 2022 as the year of good days. Today we take the good days theme and expound on it again.
Parkinson’s has a way of shaking your confidence. However, your confidence slowly can be re-built.
I felt that a big part of my problem when I had Parkinson’s was that I would look at my “to do“ list for the day and become overwhelmed. I would look at my daily “to do” list and decide that I never was going to complete it that day. This attitude was very paralyzing and made me feel completely incompetent to do anything on the list; I struggled to even get started. Emotionally, it would look like a “bad day” even before it got started.
In my recovery, I realized that this way of thinking was exactly what I was doing when I got Parkinson’s, so I would need to do something different to turn what looked like emotionally “bad days” into emotionally “good days.”
Here was my “to do” list solution:
I used two yellow pads. To the left of my laptop was the yellow pad that was my “to do“ list. I added one word to the top of the list: aspirational. My previous “to do” list became my “aspirational to do” list.
To the right of my laptop, I had a blank yellow pad. At the top of that yellow pad, it said, “to do.” I would pick one thing from the “aspirational to do” list, put a line through it, and write it on the pad to the right of the laptop that said “to do” at the top. Then I would accomplish that one thing.
I would go back to the “to do” list and cross off the one thing that I had just completed. Then, I would tell myself, “Good job Howard, you have completed everything on your ‘to do’ list.“
At that point, I would assess how I felt. If I felt like my energy was okay and I could entertain doing another task, I would pick another thing from the pad on the left, put a line through it, add it to the pad on the right, and then accomplish it. Then, I would go back to the “to do” list and cross off the task that I had just completed. Then, again, I would tell myself “Good job Howard, you have completed everything on your ‘to do‘ list.“
Sometimes, if I was having a day where I was feeling pretty good with more energy, I would actually get everything on the “aspirational to do” list completed. On other days, if my energy was low, I might get just a few things accomplished.
In any event, since the list to the right of my laptop was my actual “to do“ list, utilizing this process, every day I completed everything on my “to do“ list. It helped me re-build my confidence as I always completed my “to do” list to the right of my laptop. Every day became a “good day.”
This process offers many positives in your recovery. It will help you to stop worrying, actually get some things accomplished, slowly re-build your confidence, and help with your sleep (because you will feel better about yourself and because actually doing things, rather than thinking about them worrying about them only, promotes sleep as opposed to interrupting sleep)…AND: The joy you feel every day in finishing your “to do” list will ignite your dopamine flow, thus making the tasks easier to accomplish.
You can do this!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,