Finding joy in small things helps me manage the stress of Parkinson’s

When life as a caregiver feels overwhelming, I look to the sky

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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Every single morning of my life, the sun has come up. For almost 53 years, the same sun has risen and set daily. The beautiful ball of fire in the sky tells us when to wake up and start each day. Most of the time, I don’t give it any thought; it’s almost like breathing or blinking.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to take notice of the little things around me. I always enjoy hearing the birds chirping, but as with the sun, I didn’t give it much thought.

Last summer, our family moved into a new home that backs up to a beautiful wooded area. When spring arrived, so did several bird nests. We were in awe of the mama birds preparing for the arrival of their babies. As the eggs hatched, we started to hear the soft voices of the tiny chicks. The mama birds were diligent about feeding their babies. Every evening, we watched in amazement as the mamas gently placed food into tiny quivering beaks. Over time, the chicks grew larger, stronger, and louder — until one day, it was quiet. We realized they were no longer babies and didn’t require the safety of their nests.

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The banner image depicts friends having a picnic beneath rainbows. The writing on the image reads

Mental health is as important as physical health in your care plan

On difficult days, listen for the birds

We all face challenges and stressors that can leave us feeling helpless and hopeless, unsure how we’ll get through it. I’m faced with the challenge of being a caregiver to my husband, Arman, who has early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Although he was diagnosed many years ago in 2009, at age 38, I still struggle daily to manage the stress of our situation. Unfortunately, his disease is constantly progressing, which makes me feel out of control and uneasy.

Watching the miracle of the birds, or enjoying the shades of color in the sky at sunset, is a great way to reflect on the beauty in the world. When chronic illness affects you, directly or indirectly, it’s easy to fall into a hole of depression, and it can be difficult to find your way out. I often look to the beam of sunlight streaming into that hole to guide me out.

On the days when symptoms seem too painful to handle, listen for the birds to help redirect your thoughts. When the unknown future of the disease is too overwhelming to think about, look to the blue sky and let the clouds remind you of better days. And when it feels like nothing will ever improve, remember that every day is a fresh start.

Whether you were diagnosed yesterday, last week, or even 20 years ago, the sun will always rise in the morning and set in the evening, leaving you with the hours in between. Take advantage of that time, and look for small things that bring you joy. It may not be the birds or the sky, as it is for me. You may find peace in reading, writing, movies, sports, or a million other things. Look for your happy place in the simple things that have probably been there all along; you just might not have noticed them.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Carol Springer avatar

Carol Springer

What a beautiful reminder that God provides what we need!!! Thank you.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Carol, I am glad you enjoyed!! I agree ;)

Arthur Kvarnstrom avatar

Arthur Kvarnstrom

A beautiful thought and very true. There are many things to be grateful for.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Thank you Arthur! It is so important to be grateful everyday!!


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