Managing Daily Tasks


Your daily life will change. Your ability to cope with and manage day-to-day activities will change. It will take some time to adjust to these lifestyle changes but using some of these ideas can help to ease the transition.

A positive, realistic attitude of perseverance, and prioritizing your tasks will be of immeasurable help.

It is so important to be gentle with yourself. Try to keep reminding yourself of that. Berating yourself will only undermine your ability to perform your normal activities.

Know that these suggestions have been compiled from people around the world who live with Parkinson's and so they know personally about your unique needs.

Sleep & Exercise

Sleep and exercise are two of the most important elements in your wellness routine. Having enough of both will help you cope effectively with the challenges of Parkinson's Disease.

This may sound small but it is not. A restful sleep and proper exercise will greatly help to refuel your body and help it to tap into its natural resources for wellness and healing. Your body is amazingly regenerative and we too often take for granted the importance of sleep and exercise. Help your body to help itself.

Your body recharges its dopamine overnight. This is why getting a good night's rest is so imperative. People with Parkinson's often report that a good sleep makes for a good day with Parkinson's.

They also report that they have more energy in the morning and that their energy levels deteriorate throughout the day. This is quite common and is why prioritizing your tasks can be of such great benefit.

You may want to try quieting your mind and releasing the day before you go to sleep.

Visualizing something calming is also helpful. You could try telling yourself and your body that everything that needed to be done today has been done, and that you will look at tomorrow only when it is tomorrow.

Imagining your body fully recharging its supply of dopamine (in any image that works for you) could also be helpful.

You are the master of your mind, and a quiet mind makes for a restful sleep.

Exercise is key for people with Parkinson's. Besides promoting overall health, and contributing to a sense of well-being and calmness, exercise also improves the body's response to dopamine.

The psychological and physical benefits of exercise have been well documented.

Exercising everyday will help to improve your flexibility, your balance and your strength. This will, of course, make moving around much easier for you. As you know, anything that will help you feel more confident with your mobility is incredibly valuable.

You can find more information here about glutathione (your body's master anti-oxidant) which can also contribute greatly to your confidence in your overall health. Very significant discoveries have been made correlating PD and low glutathione levels. "Help yourself" to the information.

Some tips:

Exercise your facial muscles whenever possible. Rolling your jaw, opening and closing your mouth widely, and doing voice exercises will keep these muscles limber.

  • Bend, stretch and breathe deeply at the beginning and end of your exercising session. Watch yourself closely. Become aware of your body and rest when you get tired. Never overexert yourself.

  • Try exercising in bed, as it might be easier than on the floor. Start slowly and build your muscles. Trust yourself - you will know when you are ready for more vigorous exercise.

  • Participate in sports and active hobbies that you enjoy. (Exercise can be fun!) Make sure to check with your doctor for his or her approval about your activity choice.

  • Exercise in water - it's much easier on the joints.
Keeping your joints flexible and your muscles strong can be accomplished through regular stretching which can be fun and relaxing. Stretching exercises have proven to be particularly beneficial for people with Parkinson's, and it is suggested that you exercise for at least 20 - 30 minutes each day. And again, remember that before changing or beginning a new exercise routine to check with your trusted health practitioner.

Simplifying Your Tasks & Conserving Your Energy

managing daily tasks with Parkinson's Some of the self-help ideas are just common sense but it is amazing how accustomed we can become to doing too many things; too many things at once and too many things in one day. It's time to get back to the basics so that you can enjoy your life and not feel like you are fighting your agenda each day.

The Four P's have some helpful reminders: Prioritizing, Planning, Positioning and Pacing.

Prioritizing

  • Take some moments to figure out your priorities for the day. If there is something that is unimportant, let it go and forget about it. If there is something that you don't want to do, it is your choice as to whether or not to do it. You might want to save it for a day of higher energy or for when a friend or caregiver could help you with it.

  • Make decisions about what is important to you (it's your day and your life, after all) and then use the Planning techniques to help you accomplish those activities with ease.
Planning
  • Take some time in the morning and plan your day. Make a list with two columns: What I Need to Do and What I Want to Do. If you can, alternate your time between the two. Reward yourself - you deserve it!

  • Organize each task so that it is as simple as possible.

  • Try and combine tasks. For example, plan your route if you're going out to do errands. Or if you're just working from home, combine errands and plan your route inside the house.

  • Do not rush - it will make you more tired. Stay as much in the present moment as possible. Avoid doing things in a last-minute frenzy - it's a big “yikes!” for your mind and your body.

  • As well as alternating 'want' and 'need' to do activities, alternate between light and heavy tasks.
Planning your day so closely will help to conserve your energy but will also give you a sense of accomplishment. You will probably be surprised at how much you will get done because you have planned your day so well.

Oh! And an excellent rule of thumb is to remember not to worry if everything that you wanted to accomplish is not complete. Worrying will eat away at your sense of fulfillment at having completed so many tasks and still having some energy at the end of the day. That well-earned sense of achievement is precious - don't let worry take that away from you.

Positioning These points are about how important good posture is; it helps all of your body work more efficiently and effectively. Just like stretching, posture is mostly common sense. It is about tuning into your body, letting your body know that you are listening to it.

  • Stand up straight and practice being relaxed while standing.

  • If you find that you lose your balance when standing up, try bending and touching your toes first, before you stand up. Stand still for a few moments if you get dizzy when you initially stand.

  • Lift objects correctly - use the power of your legs by bending your knees. Be reasonable with yourself about what you can and cannot lift - don't overdo it. Ask for help or make two trips if necessary, for ease.

  • Notice your body when you are sitting. Sit up straight but relaxed. Use pillows to sit more comfortably and straighter. A satin pillow will allow you slide off it more easily. Relax into the chair; let it hold you.

  • You could try sitting on a phone book so you won't have as much trouble standing up. Adding about 4 inches to your chair (anything stable - phone book, firm pillow) will help you rise more easily.

  • If you can sit while doing an activity, do it. This will help to conserve your energy.

  • Become more and more aware of your posture throughout the day - you will notice a change as you tune your awareness to improving your posture. Good posture strengthens your body - it is like stretching in that way. Your body will become more comfortable with better posture.

  • Whenever possible, take the weight off of your feet. Pillows, footstools and sturdy cardboard boxes are friends to your feet, and to your whole body. Keeping the weight off of your feet will help with your circulation.

Pacing

Pacing yourself realistically will help to keep you steady on your feet. Pacing can prevent falls. Having Parkinson's can affect your posture, mobility and balance, and so you may have to revamp the way you accomplish tasks. Slow down - you'll thank yourself.

  • Try to balance your workload. Take breaks in between tasks and alternate heavy and light chores. Don't forget to include your breaks in your Daily Planning. You may also want to alternate fun activities with more unlikable duties - the fun activity may actually feel like a break.

  • The importance of having frequent rest periods throughout the day cannot be overestimated. Let yourself have those breaks!

  • You might like to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable sections. Take rests between the sections and you will probably notice how much more energy you have for the activity.

  • It is a really bad idea to push yourself to exhaustion. You will likely not have the energy to complete other tasks if you do this. If you start to feel really tired before you have finished a task, take a break and then come back to that activity - it'll still be there, and you'll have more energy for it after you've rested.
Taking frequent breaks, pacing yourself appropriately, sitting when possible and planning your day can all be effective for having that 'accomplished feeling' at the end of the day. And that feeling will help you sleep better, knowing you've had a productive day, and as mentioned, proper sleep is imperative for recharging your dopamine 'battery.'

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Help for the Special Problems of PD
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