Using A Proactive, Positive Approach to Manage Daily Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis
Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) definitely has its challenges, on both physical and mental health. The good news is that those who take a positive approach to manage their symptoms can have good quality of life and a normal to near-normal life span. This article will explore how you can take care of yourself, as a whole, to overcome these challenges and lead a happy and healthy life.
Following A Healthy Diet to Eat Well
There is no specific diet for multiple sclerosis, however, because it is an inflammatory condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended. This is a diet that consists of whole grains, healthy oils, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Your diet should include necessary omega-3 and omega-6 healthy fats which can be found in fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Other sources are plant-based oils and flaxseed.
Exercise as Part of Your Daily Routine
Studies have shown that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity twice a week can decrease depression and fatigue among those with multiple sclerosis. This activity can include walking or swimming. People who are able to exercise more are encouraged to do so. Aerobic activities that get your heart pumping are good when done at least five days per week. Resistance training, which helps to maintain muscle mass has also been shown to be of benefit to people with MS. This is recommended to be done at least twice a week, but not on consecutive days.
Managing Daily Stress
Having MS can be stressful, and stress can make MS symptoms worse, this is a vicious cycle. Techniques that can assist you in managing daily stressors include:
- Seeking support or help with certain tasks
- Learning to prioritize
- Effectively managing your time
- Engaging in deep-breathing or relaxation exercises
Many people who have MS also suffer from depression. For optimal mental health, it is recommended that you participate in therapy sessions and follow physician orders for any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications you make be taking. This can also help manage daily stress effectively. Being a member of a support group can give you the extra support and guidance you need. This opens up opportunities to learn new ways to handle the stressful situations you may face every day.
Get Plenty of Rest
Fatigue is a classic symptom of multiple sclerosis and research has shown that nearly half of those who battle MS also have sleep disturbances at night. It is recommended that you should develop consistent bedtimes and wake-up times. A soothing bedtime ritual is also recommended. If you suffer from leg spasms or pain that prevents a good night’s sleep, you should consult with your physician to devise a plan to effectively manage these symptoms, allowing for healthy sleep.
Basically, just following a healthy lifestyle is the best method to manage daily challenges and lead a healthy life. You also should consider refraining from smoking or alcohol use and get plenty of Vitamin D. If you need help developing a plan in any of these areas, don’t hesitate to consult your physician, physical therapist, or dietician. They are excellent resources that can help you develop a plan that is tailored to your individual needs.