getting dressed with parkinson's

Getting dressed each morning with Parkinson’s can be a challenge. You may be stiff from the lack of medication overnight, you didn’t sleep well, or you have tremors and/or dystonia. Gosh, all of that sounds exhausting and makes me want to go back to bed. Have you ever had that experience of running to the store in your schleppiest look, praying you don’t run into someone you know. It can be tempting if we don’t have the energy or plan to spend the day at home, not get dressed because hey who is going to see me. Me is going to see me, that’s who.

So it’s important that we get dressed every day, even if we have no place to go. Feeling put together helps us be more confident and prepared for the day ahead. So here are a few tips for getting ready in the morning, even it’s only for greeting the mailman.

Clothing:

Lay out your clothes for the next day. That may include your exercise outfit and your outfit for the day. If your stiff and foggy in the mornings, it will prevent you from having to lift, bend, and choose all the items. If you need more motivation to exercise in the morning, you can even sleep in your exercise outfit. If buttons are challenging, look for tops or dresses that you can pull over your head or that have snap buttons in front. Shopstyle has many choices and this cute cotton seersucker dress from Etsy looks perfect for spring. This denim skirt from Uniqlo is stylish and affordable with an elastic waistband.

Makeup:

Putting on makeup might be difficult first thing in the morning so you might take your meds, get dressed and wait a bit until it kicks in before you do your makeup. Combination products like IT’s CC cream which is a moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation, and concealer all in one can be easier than applying them separately. Cream blushes and eyeshadows can be applied with your fingers which may be easier than brushes to apply. Revlon colorstay creme eyeshadow is long wearing and comes in many colors. Lip stick, gloss, or tinted balms with translucent color is easier to apply than dense pigments with opaque colors because they are more forgiving and don’t need as precise edge lines.

Jewelry:

Fiddling with tiny jewelry clasps can be difficult, so adding magnetic clasps can be a big help. You can use them on necklaces and bracelets. Also wearing long necklaces that can go over your head can help avoid clasps all together. In place of a necklace you can also wear a scarf that can add that little pop of color and finish an outfit instead. Here is an interesting video from Nordstrom that shows 16 ways to tie a scarf.

Handbags:

I’ve found purses and bags that have wide openings are best for me. Also having a zipper or clasp at the top is easier to access than one with a flap over top. Having several sections and compartments make it easier to find things and save time fumbling around for everything. I feel the most stressed when I’m paying for something at a store with a line of people, fishing around for my wallet and credit card, so having items organized and easy to grab is a must. A cross body bag is great because you have both hands free. I purchased this bag about six months ago and have been super happy with it.

5 tips for exercising with parkinson's

We hear it all the time. If you have Parkinson’s, exercise, exercise, exercise. It can’t be said enough, because of the importance it plays in our quality of life. There is lot of information on which exercises are better for PD than others, but I think most agree the best one is the one you will keep doing. So here are a few tips to get started. Of course check with your doctor to help find what’s healthiest for you.

  1. First figure out your personality style. Will you be able to motivate yourself on a regular basis to do the activity or would it be helpful to partner with someone for added accountability? Do you want a structured class with set hours every week or do you want something more flexible where you can go at different times? Some people prepay for their classes so that they feel like they have to show up or lose their money. Others may go to a center where there are classes all day long and they can attend on a more flexible schedule. Do you like exercising with others or do you like the solitude of working out on your own? Thinking about the structure that would motivate you the best is important to help you stick with it.

  2. Start slow. The biggest reason I see people stopping an exercise program is that they overdo it in the beginning and end up quitting. One of the keys of staying with exercise is to make it a consistent part of your routine, and in the beginning, this may be more important than the exercise itself. So let’s say you’re going to start walking more regularly. Don’t start by planning for 3 days a week of long exhaustive hikes. Start with a short 10 minute walk from your house each day. It will start to become just a part of your day and from there you can make your walks longer, change the days and venue but you won’t have that beginners burnout.

  3. Make it easy. If you joined that great gym but it’s 45 minutes from your house or work, are you really going to go on a regular basis? That gym may have all the latest and greatest equipment, but if you aren’t using it then it ain’t that great. There may be a class easier to get to that might be more limited in what they offer, but if you’re using it more, then that’s the better choice.

  4. It doesn’t need to cost much. I know that for many people, the cost of joining classes, gyms, trainers, etc. can be out of their budget, but there are many alternatives to look into. There are many quality online classes that you can do in the privacy of your home for free. Yoga with Adriene is a fantastic online yoga channel. She posts full length classes every week and her archive of classes is the best. Fitness Blender has a variety of workouts that you can tailor by type, difficulty, time, and then save the classes you like to go back to. It has low impact, HIIT, weights, cardio, and much more.

    If you have cable TV and access to your PBS station or similar public broadcasting station, most have several exercise class series. Mine has Classical Stretch that I record each week on my DVR and now have 50 classes that are a treasure trove for me to use.

    Many community centers have inexpensive classes of all types. At a local community college here, there are several adult education programs that usually include an exercise class.

    Look for a YMCA or YWCA in your area. They are many times less expensive than a traditional gym and many have exercise classes specifically tailored to those with PD.

    Public swimming pools. We have a few local city pools that have hours specifically for lap swimming and other times free swim.

    I have a pair of light dumbbells that I can do a variety of exercises with, and if you look on Craigslist, you can find them very inexpensively.

    Then of course there is walking which is the cheapest. You can not only walk around your neighborhood but I like to choose another neighborhood. It’s fun to see other homes and shops. Walk in a park, on the beach, on a mountain trail, even in a shopping mall. The change of venue can be endlessly interesting.

  5. Just start. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to beat yourself up because you can’t do something perfectly. No matter what, you always feel better that you did it!

    Do you have any good tips for exercising with PD?

if you have parkinson's, you...

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~ you can still dream, make big plans, & do them.

~ you are more than the collection of PD symptoms that others see.

~ you are still required to push yourself to grow, to learn something new.

~ you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself when you’re having a hard day. But only for that day. Wake up the next day with an empty cup ready to be filled, and with gratitude.

~ you are not alone.

~ you are still fabulous.

~ you are still beautiful and desirable.

~ you can try, and fail, & that’s ok, because sometimes that’s the only way we know how far we can go.

~ you are enough.