Tips for going to events and gatherings

Things to consider when preparing to go to a party or an event
Tips for Events & Gatherings

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Having multiple sclerosis (MS) should not always have to keep you from doing fun things! After all, people still have weddings, girls’ nights still get planned, and sporting events and social functions still happen. Although everyone’s situation may be different, living with MS and participating in things may be doable AND enjoyable. There are a few things I think about when preparing for an event, outing, or party (taking into consideration my MS symptoms).

Yes or No

When deciding whether to say yes or no:

  • Will it be an event that I will get positive energy from doing or will it make me exhausted?
  • If it will be exhausting, will it be worth it? I have done many things that have increased my fatigue, but when I look back on the memory I am always thankful that I participated
  • If I am worried about saying yes to an event, I explore why. Does it have anything to do with my MS? If so, are there any accommodations that I can put into place? 
Checklist to Prepare

After I decide that I want to go, I prepare in the following ways:

  • Find an outfit I like that I am also comfortable in. I consider comfort in shoes and clothes. A few of my friends with MS have urinary urgency issues, so they wear clothes that are easier to take off
  • Make a list of things that I need to bring with me. My list may consist of medication, phone, charger, and mints
  • Check the weather forecast. Weather changes, especially heat, may change the type of clothing that I will be comfortable in
  • Consider bringing adaptive equipment. For example, If the event is during the summer, I may bring a battery operated fan or a cooling scarf
  • Enjoy myself! One of the best parts of doing something fun is anticipating it. If you are feeling stressed, focus on some of the parts of the event that mean the most to you. This may include seeing a special friend or going to a place you have always wanted to visit

I like to make sure that I am well prepared for any event I attend, so I am usually planning right up until the actual event. This includes the night before, the day of, and the actual event.

Good Night Sleep

The night before my event:

  • Plan to get a good night of sleep. Nothing can set my MS symptoms back more than staying up too late the night before
  • Set out my clothes
  • Pack up any items that I plan to take with me. If the outing is considered a “day outing,” I will pack a day bag with things like medications, sunblock if I will be outside, a change of clothes, more comfortable shoes, bottled water, and snacks 
Stretch Before the Event

The day of the event:

  • Put anything that I packed into my car. If I am not driving, I will set my bag by the door so I don’t forget it!
  • Take a nap before I get ready if I am going to an evening event. This is one of the most important things I can do to recharge my energy level if I want to stay up later
  • Stretch my legs before I leave. This is particularly useful if I will be at an event where I know I’ll be walking a lot
Limit Unhealthy Foods

At the actual event:

  • Limit things that zap my energy, like unhealthy foods and alcohol
  • Listen to my body to take care of myself. Things I may ask myself include, “Am I getting tired?” and “Should I sit down or drink some water?”
  • Enjoy my surroundings. Taking time to pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes help me to be more mindful of the event. I always appreciate events more when I take time to really enjoy them
  • Celebrate that MS does not stop me from doing all of the things that are important to me. It may look a little different at times, but the most important thing is that we can find ways to enjoy life with MS

This may seem like a lot, but taking that extra step to plan and prepare can help you save energy and maximize your enjoyment. So plan early, plan often, and plan to have fun!

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