Surviving the Holiday’s Like a Pro: By Dr. De Leon

This is the busiest time of year for most of us and unfortunately what is supposed to be the happiest sometimes turns into a very stressful time for many of us. We are often torn between trying to care for ourselves and make our loved ones happy. Your health should come first. Let your loved ones know your needs ahead of time, they will understand.  Also because many of us travel during the holidays, we tend to forgo our routines of medication intake, exercise, sleep, etc. increasing risks for falls especially in ice conditions. As a neurologist, December was always a month of increased strokes and ICU admits, most of the time due to poorly controlled blood pressure or blood sugars which I suspected were a combination of stress, lack of sleep, medication non-compliance because we are too busy taking care of everyone and everything around us.  Sometimes, depression can magnify during this time of year as well particularly if you have lost a loved one. Don’t let this be another reason for you not to enjoy the holidays or cause you to end up in the hospital.

Here are a few tips to surviving the holidays.

If you have to travel: prepare ahead of time all of your medications, doctors phone numbers in case of an emergency. Prepare  some liquid Sinemet and carry with you should you need a quick boost. Also make sure that you allow yourself extra time to travel if possible –expect delays if traveling by plane during this busy season so take extra medicines with you as well as food and water. Ask for a wheel chair and assistance ahead of time-it is best to have even if you end up not using. Try to get extra leg room in the plane if possible especially if a long flight. Don’t forget to carry your assistive walking devices even if you only used once in a while because the trip could be long and exhaust you to point of needing those devices. If you will be staying at a hotel make sure it has handicap capabilities including a ramp entrance because by the time you arrive you are sure to be exhausted and may have trouble going up a flight of stairs especially carrying any luggage. Make sure you arrange for transportation to pick you up either family member or a limo services so you don’t have to wait around risking falls, or other injuries.

If you feel sad or anxious during the holidays- make sure you talk to your doctor before hand to prescribe some medication to help you cope. Don’t try to be strong and go at it alone. This will only make things worse. Make sure you get out and mingle especially if you don’t feel like it- don’t isolate yourself.

Remember to take time for yourself to rest, exercise, and take your medications on a timely basis.

Set limits to what you can and can’t do and stick to that plan. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the holidays with your family, friends, and loved ones. Remember to laugh and have fun. Order take out, if it will help with stress or alleviate the pain of having to cook, or better yet ask everyone to bring a dish and make it pot luck!

If you can’t decorate – don’t worry, all you have to do is ask for help- I bet you there would be someone that just loves to put on the Christmas tree etc. in my case my daughter is the one that is now in charge of the tree decoration- she does such a terrific job any way! I just hand her the ornaments so we still spend time together.

I wish much joy and happiness to you and yours during this festive season, particularly to all my  followers who have made this site popular, and remember there is NOTHING that PRAYER & Chocolate can’t handle!


Dr. M. De Leon is a movement disorder specialist on sabbatical, PPAC member and research advocate for PDF (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation); Texas State Assistant Director for PAN (Parkinson’s Action Network). You can learn more about her work at you can also learn more about Parkinson’s disease at or at;, All materials here forth are property of Defeatparkinsons. without express written consent, these materials only may be used for viewers personal & non-commercial uses which do not harm the reputation of Defeatparkinsons organization or Dr. M. De Leon provided you do not remove any copyrights. To request permission to reproduce release of any part or whole of content, please contact me at contributor Contributor


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