This week we'll talk about what's helped us adjust to life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), reduce stress, and stay positive! I don't mean to say that it was easy. It's taken us 13 years to find our groove, and it's still always a challenge.
OUR FIRST RESPONSE TO MS
When my husband Dennis was first diagnosed with MS, he fought it. He tried to ignore it at first and "just power through."He tried to erase every new symptom with a pill. When he was tired, he asked his doctor for a pill. When he couldn't sleep, another pill. When he was in pain one more pill. It was endless!
THE CHEESE FELL OFF THE CRACKER
Eventually he was mentally and physically broken. This is when things really fell apart. Dennis refers to this time as when the cheese fell off his cracker, haha!
This was the hardest time in the journey for us as a couple. Dennis had to succumb to this change in his life and so did I. It was almost like a death of the life we once knew. There was a grieving process.
UP FROM ROCK BOTTOM
The great part of hitting rock bottom is that we got to get back up. That's what we did as a couple.
We had to face the truth, step back, and focus on reducing stress and improving self-care.
The thing is, we knew this--from our doctors, nurses, books, etc., etc. But we were in a depressive funk and in denial! Knowing what we needed to do and actually doing it were totally different things!
We learned that we couldn’t do it all at once. We needed to find actionable little steps. Baby steps to success!
5 BABY STEPS THAT WORKED!
1. Moments of Zen
Dennis refers to moments of quiet time, where he closes his eyes and lets his mind wander, his “moments of Zen”. He does this a few times a day. See the video below where he explains his process.
I often do an abbreviated version of this while at work. I close my eyes for a minute, take some deep breaths, relax my shoulders and let go of any stress that is bothering me.
Obviously, scent is a big part of my life. I believe there is power in a familiar scent. I love using it as a way to relax and take a moment.
Sometimes just washing your hands with a fragrant soap can give you that break in the day to reset your mind. For example the smell of cedar takes me back to my childhood and a summer day.
During difficult times taking a moment to send my mind back to this time can be just what I need.
3. Take a Minute
Just taking a minute to get some water can give me a chance to set my intentions or break up a task. I really like to take a couple of minutes throughout the day to intentionally relax and reset.
4. Develop a Routine
Dennis needs to have routines and it has taught me how I need them too! There is something great about starting your day with a set of things that you just do regularly.
Getting up at the same time, having coffee, making the bed etc. Dennis needs it to get himself going, I need it to set my day up for success. It really eliminates stress and makes life easier. It makes staying positive more realistic too!
We have found that getting enough sleep is critical in living our best lives.
Dennis is awful and very grumpy without enough sleep. Having MS makes everyday activities tiring enough for Dennis, he needs his sleep! And so do I. Never underestimate the power of sleep.
How You Can Help
Help us raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and raise money to help fund research for a cure by buying our MS Candle - Moment of ZEN