I am not working any more because of Parkinson’s.
Life is busy, but generally much more relaxed. As a result I have time to understand how to enjoy a good life with Parkinson’s. And the one thing that make things more difficult is stress. Stress exacerbates all the symptoms.
This has forced me into some important changes.
Part of what I love is the opportunity to do nothing, regularly.
For some reason this never happened when I worked - I seemed to be rushing around all the time doing whatever.
Being idle is a joy and a wonderful gift from the Gods for doing my best professionally for the last 35 years. And it is really helping me to be less anxious and stressed, I feel the layers of armour that ensured resilience, falling away.
Recently, over lunch, I was introduced to The Idler (https://www.idler.co.uk/).
I can’t believe I had never come across this before.
I bought the book: ’An Idler’s manual’. So much resonated with me, and it is clear that idling should be part of my Parkinson’s medication.
It explores the positive aspects of idling that it is good for you and, as Dr Johnson notes to be creative you need time to think, ponder and reflect. Which is precisely what I want to do.
So much material available through the book, magazines and their website is spot on for reducing stress, for example stay in bed, stare at a wall, be near water, wander the city. And there is an amazing catalogue of education to keeps one’s brain fit and active.
What I love are the inaction points at the end of each chapter.
For example for 'be near water' the inaction points are ‘find a river or beach, bathe, stare, stand still’.
It encourages readers to write a journal.
I have kept one on and off for ages, but mostly it was pretty boring. But with Parkinson’s, two reasons to journal properly are an important part of my so called wellness strategy: to monitor changes in my key symptoms on a daily basis and to note down whether I actually ever do anything interesting with my life (using my brain, keeping fit etc).
An aspect I miss from work is doodling in my notebook during meetings, contrary to popular belief it did help me listen and remember what was going on. Well that was my story, but I don’t suppose anyone bought that for a minute.
Here are some of my creations http://doodlewhileyouwork.blogspot.com/2014/03/ - obviously the watercolours weren’t done in a meeting - I think everyone might have noticed, and maybe even said something.
I have a load more to upload from my phone, but that's for another day.
More importantly I have a fresh new notebook in which I can draw, doodle, dream and see how I am getting on with Parkinson's.
It helps me a lot and it is free.