Thursday, December 13, 2018
Doctor's Perspective
Don't be anxious during holidays
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Christmas is a time for staying with family. Sometimes we entertain family and guests and other times we visit family members. We also often attend Christmas parties. The goal is to have fellowship with those we know and love. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. We are creatures of habit so when things do not go the way we expect, we get anxious. There are two ways of handling the anxiety. The first is to let it get to us. We might be an early riser. We can't understand why everyone else is not ready for breakfast at 6 a.m. Alternatively, we might be staying with young grandchildren. We do not understand why they want to have breakfast at 6 a.m. After all, no one gets up at that hour.

So we start the day on the wrong foot. It might be because we are hungry. Breakfast is not yet ready. It might be because we are tired. We might have had the grandchildren jump on our bed and wish us a Merry Christmas before we were ready to get up. Little things like this happen all the time during the holidays. There is an alternative. You should be able to know what to expect early in the morning. If you set your expectations at the right level, there is less likelihood of being anxious. You might have similar experiences at a Christmas party. Perhaps it is cold out and you are nice and warm at the party. There is some crowd noise as expected, however, it is not too loud. Then someone decides it is time to go out in the cold and sing Christmas carols. You can fight it or you can go with the flow. Everyone else will be cold, so they will want to come back in soon. The return to the house will be that much more fun. It is once again an issue of expectations. You can choose to be anxious because you have the wrong expectations or you can choose to understand that every party is different. They are not likely to meet your expectations, so why act like Scrooge and complain?

Christmas presents are a part of the deal. For example, we bought our nephew who was 4 years old at the time, Christmas presents. He opened the boxes which all had new clothes in them. After each box, he would lie on the floor and have a temper tantrum because he did not get a toy. We sometimes act that way when we get gifts. We give a simple thank you. We act like it is no big deal and then we expect others to act differently when we give them a gift. Once again expectations do not necessarily match reality. As we head into the Christmas season, we need to manage our expectations. If we do not, the holiday season will be less rewarding and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Parkinson's support group Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunction with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a Parkinson's support group on Thursday, Dec. 20, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Manor House located at 1001 Middleford Road in Seaford.

This support group is free and open to the public. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disease that affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. Each individual may experience different symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity, poor balance, and a list of others. A PD diagnosis can bring out many difficult emotions~fear, anger, resentment, hopelessness, and more. It is a challenge to learn how to cope with these feelings along with the stress of diagnosis and treatment. This support group is not only helpful for the individual diagnosed with PD, but also for caregivers, friends and family. Studies show that the information, training, and counseling that participants receive at support groups enhances the quality of life, help to alleviate stress, and may even boost the immune system. Tara Trout, LPN at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, co-facilitates the group with Kathy Landis, Caregiver Resource Coordinator at CHEER in Sussex County, Delaware. For more information, contact Tara at 629-6611, extension 3838.

Better Breathers Club Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a Better Breathers Club on Monday, December 17 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Nursing Conference Room. This free support group is open to anyone affected by a chronic lung disease including relatives and caregivers. Backed by the American Lung Association, the Better Breathers Club offers a venue for participants to learn from guest speakers and educational materials, socialize with others affected by a chronic lung disease, and practice skills that will help them better manage their condition and improve their quality of life. Registration is required. For more information or to register, please call 302-629-6611, extension 1010. To learn more about pulmonary services at Nanticoke, visit

Stroke support group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center located at 600 N. Market Street Extended in Seaford. This support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, this free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 629-6224. To learn more about Nanticoke's stroke program, visit'