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Just Breathe

By Shambreki√° Wise

I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought it was a good idea to move in the middle of one of the hottest summers on earth – right before my kid starts school. Deep breathing with aromatherapy ensues in 3…2…1. It’s a lot, but we got this. As I’m sure many of you can relate, August is often a whirlwind of activity. For individuals with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, it can be especially challenging to keep up with the pace. But no fear, we got you. Among your personal favorites, maintaining a routine, embracing mindfulness, balancing life, and being kind to oneself become crucial pillars of self-care (I’m fussing at myself here). Let's explore how small changes in our daily life can lead to significant improvements in mental stimulation and overall well-being, even in the craziest of times.

The power of routine: In the midst of a hectic month, establishing and sticking to a routine can be grounding and comforting. A consistent schedule helps MS patients manage their energy levels more effectively. Designate specific times for rest, work, and leisure, ensuring that each day has a sense of structure. This stability can reduce stress and minimize the risk of fatigue and relapses. When I am not running around in a million directions, I love incorporating exercise into my routine. 

Meditation and mindfulness: Amidst the chaos, finding moments of peace through meditation and mindfulness can work wonders for mental health. Incorporating even a few minutes of meditation each day can provide clarity, reduce anxiety, and improve focus. Practicing mindfulness helps MS patients stay present in the moment, preventing stress from overpowering them. Of all the apps I’ve used for this, BalanceApp is my go to.

Balancing life to prevent fatigue and relapses: Finding balance is essential for MS patients to preserve their energy and well-being. Knowing your limits and understanding when to rest is vital. Easier said than done, right? Engaging in light exercises, such as yoga or swimming, can help maintain physical health without pushing the body to exhaustion. Balancing activities with rest periods can prevent excessive fatigue and decrease the likelihood of experiencing MS relapses. This is especially important to those who are heat-sensitive.

Small changes, big benefits: Making small adjustments around the home can have a significant effect on mental stimulation. Adding plants, adjusting lighting, and organizing spaces to enhance accessibility can create a more positive and stimulating environment. A well-organized and visually pleasing home can boost mood, motivation, and overall well-being. Totally the opposite of what my place is looking like. It’s giving a Pompeii-level of chaos right now.

Being kind to oneself during times of change: (Takes a dose of own medicine.) Life is filled with transitions and changes, and it's crucial to be compassionate towards oneself during these periods. MS patients may experience physical and emotional challenges, and it's essential to treat oneself with kindness and patience. Seeking support from loved ones, counselors, or support groups can provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and experiences. (Whew. That was a tough one to swallow.)

I am pretty sure my ego is bruised after writing this, but I know I am not the only one who needed to hear this information or be reminded of it. It's essential for everyone to prioritize self-care and well-being. Embracing just a few of these practices can help navigate the hustle and bustle of the month and help you find moments of peace wherever you may be planted. Life doesn’t stop and if it gets to be too much, reach out to a professional for help and don’t be afraid to take a break from those activities that are nonessential.

We’ll get through this. And besides, we still have the holidays, but that’s another article.