A New Year. Time to manage some stress!

Another new year and several intentions to follow for my multiple sclerosis. Fourteen years since my diagnosis yet I'll never forget how lost and scared I was stumbling to my doctors office looking for answers. Well, not the answer I wanted with an MS diagnosis, but better than being dead. So bring it on and let's do this.
Fourteen years later and I've learned so much. I've talked a lot about nutrition and other ways to manage ms. One area that does more for me than anything else is stress management.
How do we best manage stress?
A few of my tricks include:
  1. Take a break and recharge the battery. Even if it's just five minutes in a quiet, dark place can help unwind and recharge. No lights no sounds. No electronics. Just me, relaxing and recharging. Five minutes can mean making the afternoon or not. Try it out and see what works for you.
  2. Let go let God. We have enough static in our lives to charge an army. Now seriously, is what we are stressing about even within our control? Time to staple it shut, give it a name, and throw it away. Choose carefully what your energy is spent on because if it's used up on silly stuff we have no control over then where do we get the energy to deal with actual important stuff? Let go of it. Staple it shut. Throw it away.
  3. Ask for help. My friends told me, after I got sick, that MS taught me how to ask for help. Finally. And that's a good thing. We are not in this alone. There's a huge community out there waiting to help us. From twitter @thegirlwithms and @mspals to MS nurses and support through programs like http://onetoonems.com there are a variety of ways to find support.
These are just a few tricks. Movement and attitude are other contributing factors. Often I participate in morning free flow and chat sessions to help me deal with my MS, life and all that goes in between.

In addition to flowing and chatting, it's imperative for me to stay on top of the stress management aspect of MS. This means every few days, checking in with myself and seeing how I am really doing. Am I sleeping? Am I eating healthy? Am I full of angst or able to sit, relaxed in a chair? No two of us are the same. But we all can have similar feelings of unrest. These feelings often are a result of stressors that haven't been dealt with in appropriate manner.
WORDS CAN HURT
Wow, and let's watch those words we are using in our daily lives. Are we setting ourselves for success? Or for failure? Are we saying "I get to work for the next hour" or "I have to work for the next hour"
Every word we use, even in the minutest of details, can set us up or start to destroy us. Words like Try, Have to, Need. Let's use words such as Do, Get to and Want.
"I don't have to work today. I get to work because God gave me another day on this earth that wasn't guaranteed" (what is guaranteed anyway?). "I get to work because my clients believe in me and hired me to do their work."
Whatever it is we are doing, let's use the words that put it in the right frame of mind. If we go in negative, we come out negativ. And that is not managing stress for MS. Positivity helps mange stress.
In addition, get moving. Can't emphasize this enough. Even a scooter ride around the block will help get the blood flowing and the air moving.
There is so much we can do to help manage stress.
What are some of your top stressors and how do you Manage them?
Join the conversation!

3 comments:

Kristin Bennett said...

I find reading and writing helps to calm me... and I LOVE to paint and draw too but with three little ones that doesn't happen as much, well it does but that's more sketching. I was diagnosed in 2001 too! I was in NYC though.

Caroline Craven said...

It's amazing how my creativity has expanded since my MS. So cathartic. Good to hear from you. Post some sketches!

Leslie Pease said...

I find word games relaxing. To decompress I get on my kindle and play Scramble or Words With Friends somewhere quiet. 2014 was very stressful as I lost 4 loved ones in 8 months and was caregiver to two of them. One of the biggest things I have done to relieve stress this past month is remove toxic people from my life. There have been a lot of family members fighting and my husband and sister have helped me establish boundaries with these people.(Death can bring out the ugliest things in families)I have drawn lines and am taking care of myself finally and refuse to be guilted into fixing/moderating for everyone else. I am flaring because of stress so I am listening to my body, resting and not pushing myself and being pushed. Getting alone, listening to music or singing also helps.