by Denise Nowack, RD & Ann Mullinix, OTR/L
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Managing your MS is more than making doctor appointments, taking medications and using your energy to perform the activities that “should be done”. Making time for the activities that bring joy and fulfillment are important to improve health and overall well-being. Finding solutions that help you reclaim the things you love and enhance the manageability of everyday life can be easy as ABC.
ADAPT YOUR APPROACH:
- Adapt how you go about doing something. Don‘t miss out on the activities you love. If nature walking brings you enjoyment, but you are heat sensitive, alter the time to walk in the morning verses in the afternoon.
- Adapt how you look at things. Don’t let limiting attitudes and assumptions weigh you down. Reflect on one or more good things that you are grateful for each day.
- Take charge of your medical care. Keep track of the progress around your care and organize your questions before meeting with you healthcare professionals.
- Empower yourself with resources, and share this information with others. The National MS Society and Can Do MS are excellent resources to help deepen your knowledge and to educate you, your family and friends.
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER:
- Change the way you manage your time. Time and energy are valuable commodities. Prioritize and schedule your activities, no matter how large or small.
- Change the way you complete an activity. Determine what needs to be done today, what can wait for tomorrow and what can be delegated. Letting go of some daily activities will give you more time and energy to perform others that are more important to you.
- Change your physical environment. Conquering clutter around the house can make every day activities more manageable, both physically and psychologically.
- Don’t expect others to know how you are feeling. Never underestimate the power of talking to others; the more people know, the better they can understand and support you when you may need it most.
- Being open in expressing your feelings and how MS affects you may make you feel vulnerable and fearful. Find the courage to take some risks with the people who have meaning in your life.
YOU MATTER MOST:
- Is it common to make excuses and maybe even blame MS for not getting involved? Remind yourself that having fun and expanding your interests is essential to your health and wellness.
- Say “YES” to you. It’s easy to feel overcommitted if you’re always saying “yes” to everyone else. It’s ok to say “NO” every once in a while and find the pockets of freedom where you can be more yourself.
- Cultivate kindness to yourself, and be open to learning new challenges and letting go of negative mindsets. Remarkable things happen when we are energized mentally and emotionally!
ZERO IN ON A PLAN:
- To incorporate more activities of interest, purpose and passion into your days, make a plan to accomplish what you set forth to achieve.
- Daily check-ins with yourself gives you the ability to reflect and pay attention. Keep a daily journal; assess what worked well and what is open for change. If this is done on a regular basis, less energy is needed to solve potential problems which will empower and motivate you to keep it going.
MS can bring changes into everyday life without intention, leaving you feeling like even simple expectations each day are altered. But you can take control. While the start of a new year brings good intentions to make changes, be mindful of making choices that are empowering and energizing through more meaningful activities not just at the beginning of the year, but in each day forward. The ABC’s and XYZ’s of daily living are strategies that are simple, yet when incorporated, can help make the most of your days, leaving more time for you and your passions.
Click here to get even more great tips on this topic by viewing our archived webinar on New Year, New Changes: Tips on Daily Living with MS.