New Year’s Resolution: Be More Awesome than last year.
Have you made your new years resolutions? Are there things that you want to banish from your life? New things that you want to embrace? Something you have always dreamed of doing, but never thought was attainable. Should you wipe the slate clean and start over in the new year?
At yoga this morning, my yoga instructor had an interesting view about making resolutions for the new year. Look at something that has been a problem in the last year. Don’t banish it. View it as a small person to embrace. I had always looked at Parkinson’s as the Elephant in the Room, to be banished in whatever way possible. He says to look at it as a small person instead and embrace it. By looking at PD through this lens, look at the positives things about it and how you can overcome the negative – I know that is difficult – and see how you can manage your PD better.
With that in mind, knowing that Parkinson’s can always throw a wrench in the best made plans, here are some of my suggestions for 2018.
- Keep on exercising as much as possible, a minimum of 5 days a week, including more strenuous exercise at least 3 of those days, As a friend from my boxing class said, because of all of this exercise, he is in the best shape, physically, that he has ever been. I agree. I am definitely stronger than I was before my diagnosis, even though I had been exercising for years. Focusing on what exercise I need to do to keep moving, I am also in the best shape I have ever been.
- Try to learn something new. Yes, that small person may have been the reason that you had to stop doing something you enjoyed, so take that time and learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, take that class you never had time for before. I started taking piano lessons 4 years ago after a 50 year hiatus. It helped my hands become less stiff, and I have been having a great time. And don’t forget that we have been told many times that learning something new helps to reconnect some of the neurons in the brain, otherwise known as Neuroplasticity.
- Do not identify yourself as “sick“. There has been a debate over the last few weeks whether Parkie’s are “sick“.* Many prefer to call it a chronic condition. You can give in to it and be a victim of PD, with all of the negative connotations that come with the word “disease“. Or you can choose to fight back and not let Parkinson’s win. In other words, embrace the “small person” in order to live a productive life.
- Make a few resolutions that are within reach. Getting out of the house more often, visiting friends, eating better, etc. You know what you can achieve.
- Resolve to be better informed about the latest developments in Parkinson’s research. There is a lot of good stuff happening and it is hard to keep on top of it. Subscribe to a few PD newsletters that you like. Too many and you will be overwhelmed. All of this research can impact you sometime in the future, so the more you stay of top of it, the more prepared you will be when you see your doctor.
- Take that new information and write down a few questions for your doctor before every visit. Bring your care partner with you if possible so that they can become part of the conversation. Ask about new treatments that may be appropriate for you. And be honest about how your current treatment is working. If you are not seeing the results you had hoped for, your doctor needs to know in order to make changes in your meds, therapy, etc.
- Finally, add a few resolutions that are a reach. You may not get there, or maybe, just maybe, you will surprise yourself and find yourself doing something that you always dreamed of but never thought would be possible because of Parkinson’s.
*read “Are People with Parkinson’s Sick” in Parkinson’s Life