When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) back in 2010, I thought my world was over. I spent a while feeling sorry for myself. But soon, I realized I needed to adapt to my new reality—I wasn’t going to let this newfound lifestyle change who I am. I knew I had to make changes to my daily routine.
Here are some life modifications I made with my healthcare team to help make everyday life with MS a little easier.
My healthcare team helped me discover which activities work best with my ability level and interests. I find that speed walking, jogging, and yoga not only help me feel good physically—they also make me feel better emotionally by reducing my stress. However, when time isn’t on my side, I just do some stretching to make sure I stay active. Stretching is great because I can do it anywhere. I even try to have stretch breaks about every 45 minutes when I’m at work.
Physically, my right side feels weaker than my left, and I walk with a limp when I get hot. Because of this, my goal has been to find ways to exercise that my body was ready for. Personally, I also really enjoy group classes, where I can go at my own pace, but still push myself when I’m feeling up to it.
I took a nutrition class that opened my eyes to how I can make healthy eating choices. The nutritionist explained how food plays a huge role in our health and well-being. I learned to start shopping for whole ingredients and to make sure I can pronounce what the ingredients are when reading food labels. After gaining knowledge from this class, I believed I was ready to start shopping differently.
The biggest challenge I face every day is staying positive and motivated. Over time, I’ve realized the importance of paying attention to how I feel and allowing myself to go through my emotions as they come. I’ve learned that I need to stop trying to finish everything in one day, otherwise I will stress myself out. It’s important for me to recognize when I should push myself and when I should give myself a break. Sometimes, the best thing to do if I’m not feeling up to a challenge is to simply let go. I can always pick back up on another day when I may be feeling more refreshed.
What I take away from this disease is it does not have me and things can be worse. I’ve learned to look for the best in everything I do and look forward to tomorrow.
Each person's situation and needs will be different when it comes to sleep, diet, exercise, or daily routine in general. Talk to your healthcare provider and see what works best for you.