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Why wellness is important for those with MS
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By Beth P. Writer

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Wellness has always been an important part of my life, even before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Wellness isn’t just important now—it’s vital.

I’ve learned with MS that I really have to take extra care of myself. To me, self-care is just as important as my medical care. When I say self-care, I’m not only speaking about my physical well-being. I’m also thinking about my emotional, social, and intellectual well-being. How you treat yourself, inside and out, really makes a difference.

Emotional wellness

Emotional wellness

Do you look at the glass half full or half empty? Looking at the good instead of the bad may make life much lighter and easier to navigate. Since my diagnosis, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff.

I spent years worrying about petty problems, but getting diagnosed with MS changed how I saw things. Now I see the good in everything. I’ve learned that life is too fragile, short, and unpredictable.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s trouble. It takes away today’s peace.” Whether we worry or not, bad things will happen. It’s all about how we handle it.

Doing our best to eliminate stress makes a huge difference for our health. I do this by getting plenty of sleep and taking naps without guilt. Try not to overschedule yourself. When you can, treat yourself to massages, meditate, and remember that it’s okay to say no if you feel like you’re taking on too much.

Physical wellness

Physical wellness

I feel my best when I eat mostly vegetables and protein. I limit dairy, gluten, red meat, alcohol, and sugar. With that said, I believe in moderation. It’s also good to treat yourself once in a while!

I commit to 30 minutes of exercise every single day. On some days, it might be a slow walk; on others, it could be yoga or the elliptical machine. It is common for me to be too tired or in too much pain to exercise. But most of the time, I encourage myself. I’m glad I did when I finish my workout feeling refreshed and happy.

I’ve noticed that although my body says it wants to lie in bed all day, it actually feels better and more energized when I move.

Sleep helps me physically as well as emotionally—it gives me the energy to cook, clean, work, and even get on the treadmill. Try to be consistent and go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.

While these tips help me, how my body handles MS may be different from yours. Your doctor is a great resource for finding out what works best for you.

Social wellness

Social wellness

This one is the hardest for me. At first, I chose not to share much about MS and my symptoms with those closest to me. I didn’t want them to worry or pity me.

Recently, I learned to ask for help and be open with my husband, children, family, and friends. Wouldn’t you want to know if your loved one needed something? I received tons of help and hugs once I asked for them.

I’ve found once I started talking about MS, others started talking about it too. There are many websites and support groups that will remind you that you are not alone in your battle.

Intellectual wellness

Intellectual wellness

The disease can be confusing, complicated, and different for everybody. This is your time to read and learn about MS, and be an advocate for yourself.

Try to read about your medical and lifestyle options, track your symptoms, write down your questions, and talk to your healthcare providers. It takes a team, and I suggest you create one with people who will heal, support, and help you.

Make the choice not to give up, and take care of your self first. Be kind to yourself and manage your emotional, physical, social, and intellectual well-being. Doing all of this helped me feel more in control and comfortable.

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