Tips for Keeping Your MS Glass Half Full

Throughout our lives, there are usually a few times where we want to take a step back and try to assess both how far we‘ve come, and where we want to go next. For people like me living with a chronic illness, figuring out where you go next can often be a much more overwhelming task.

Unbeknownst to our conscious mind, we are in a constant state of change every day. As time goes on, we try to live smarter, faster, better and with more awareness of who and what we are. When you add a chronic illness to this, things can get even more confusing.

When I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I recognized early on that I could not be 100% prepared for any eventuality that I might face. Catching a superbug three years post-diagnosis and living to tell the tale was proof of this. It was the wake up call I needed to reassess what I wanted out of my life, with or without a chronic illness. After all, life is about inventing solutions as much as it is about letting go of negative behaviours.

Nobody wants to live with a constant mindset that whispers, “Oh, but MS will do this to me if I do or don’t do that!” I get it, life with MS isn’t ideal, but I’ve found that putting things into perspective will give you the ability to look at negative aspects of what’s happening to you and find the silver lining.

I realize that it can be challenging to try to be optimistic in the face of frustration, but it can be done. Although it doesn’t happen overnight, if you keep trying you can eventually turn it around. For me personally, it took a lot of negotiation and reflection to get there, but over the space of maybe a year I was able to realize that it could always be worse. Here are a few tips that helped me on my journey of accepting myself as I am – do you have any to add?

  • Keep a journal -Paper is a therapist on its own, and it can bring clarity and a peace of mind if you write regularly.
  • Make a bucket list -You will not live forever, so start ticking things off your list. It doesn’t matter if you start with the bottom item first. In doing things on my list in a disorderly fashion, it makes it more fun and takes away pressure of not having enough time to do what’s on top of the list.
  • Unplug - No, not the hairdryer, but unplug from the internet once a week (or more). Stay away from email, Facebook, Twitter and every other social media account you have. Your mind and creativity will love you!
  • Go to bed early - No books. No TV. Just the bed and yourself. You need those hours, even when you don’t have MS!
  • Learn to say ‘No’ - It’s more than likely the most difficult thing to do, but the rewards are legion. You need ‘Me time.’ A lot.

Although MS is a negotiation that will continue to reinvent your life, no matter how many life lessons you learn, you will always be you.

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