“Me time” or self-care are terms we hear very often.
For those living with MS, it is considering carefully. Self-care doesn’t mean being selfish. It means keeping the balance in our lives and avoiding excess much stress which can make our symptoms worse. It’s about keeping the balance between mind, body, and soul; which relies on resilience and the ability to cope with stressful situations better.
We need to take time out to care for ourselves, it’s our responsibility first and foremost. We can implement different techniques like meditation, yoga, or take up health habits like walking in the park or chatting with a friend to help find solutions to problems we encounter. There are always going to be good and bad days, so having good rituals or helpful techniques in place to fall back on can be a great help.
My husband for example, is the best medicine for me when I’m down, although we’ve been married for 27 years, we still date just like we did early on. To sit down in our favorite restaurant and have dinner and a nice glass of wine means a lot to me. It changes my perspective on things. It’s these simple moments that enable me to find some more light in my life when I need it most.
My hobbies are another way I can ground my thinking if things get tough. I cook, and when I do, it allows me a certain clarity and relief. I can smell the range of spices, experiment with different ingredients, and at the end, have a very tasty dinner.
The focus hobbies require is of great benefit to your mental health when living with MS; taking a break from worrying to completely redirect thinking in order to set up new priorities is essential.
Training your brain and finding new ways of thinking enables you to find joy in distraction. There are countless positive effects of doing things like crocheting, sewing or painting. It brings a new point of view and helps to see some things in a different light.
I’ve knitted for more than 25 years now. I began after I had a surgery and was not allowed to do sports, so I started to look for something to calm me down, and keep me occupied. I was given some knitting needles and some yarn. And that was that. My first piece was a success. This motivated me to keep on going and lift me out of the black hole after I was diagnosed with MS.
It is one form of self-care. I’ve made it part of my daily in my routine.
There are many hobbies you can take up, you just have to see what attracts you. Once you’ve found something you connect with, new horizons broaden up and you can deep dive into another world; one were your MS is not always on your mind.