I have preached almost continuously over the years the importance of exercise, socialization, and having a routine in our lives to help combat Multiple Sclerosis; but seriously these 3 things have become crystal clear to me these past two weeks. If you have kept up with my blogs, you know that I participate several days a week in aquatic exercise to help maintain strong muscles and my general health. Unfortunately in the past two weeks, the heater in the pool I use at my gym has been broken and the temperatures have been too low for my comfort. I knew this was a major disappointment but what wasn’t clear was the major impact it has had on my life. Today, it was like a light bulb came on and a voice shouting, “Hey stupid” this is why you are so out of sorts”! I need to get out, get fresh air, and get sun on my face.
Honestly, it’s like a slap across my face when I realized that the reason I have been feeling continuing worse each day is because of three things, lack of exercise, lack of socialization, and my whole daily routine being screwed up. Not only have I been feeling lost, but fatigue, increased joint and muscle aches, decreased quality sleep, moodiness, and generalized blahs have set in. I have contributed it to the constant changing temperatures and major storms which have gone through over the past couple of weeks. Of course this makes sense and probably didn’t help but neither does sitting here with the TV remote constantly surfing the channels to find nothing worth watching over the seriously large number of channels available. I have become my husband with this remote making it my new best friend and angry that we are paying for all these channels, realizing that most of them host the stupidest shows known to man. If not doing this craziness, then I’m either using my I-pad or phone scrolling through all the different social media outlets in search of news worthy reading. I can’t remember being on Facebook this much before. Then I drain my battery life out of my devices playing games to pass the time. Total frustration has seriously over taken my life and I’m ready to regain control.
Doing some type of EXERCISE needs to become a habit! It doesn’t have to be high impact or even a long hour event. Something as simple as lifting light weights or a light stroll in your yard will work. Your muscles crave movement to prevent atrophy. As great as it feels to sit in your recliner or to be lying down on the couch is, this doesn’t need to be an all-day activity. Our heart is a muscle and it requires strengthening for it to work properly or you will end up with heart disease. When your body is stronger it will help keep up us in an upright position longer when going through a relapse. A friend of mine whom also suffers with MS has said that it is our JOB to keep our bodies working by exercise; and I believe this with all my heart. Exercise will reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, assist with blood sugar, helps drop weight and/or inches, but most of all it helps with improving our immune system.
SOCIALIZATION is also important on so many levels. Our bodies require interaction with other people and even pets. Of course we need to be around those who will lift us up, support us if needed, and listen to us vent. We need love, to be touched, and to be made to feel we have a purpose in life, or to be needed. Friendships, true friendships fulfill a need in us and help us through some really difficult and dark times and help us celebrate great things. They are the ones that pray for us and give encouragement and of course vice-a-versa. Sometimes just to see a smiling face and to hear the simple statement, “It’s good to see you” really makes my day. To socialize though, this requires activity on our part by inviting others to our home or actually leaving our home and getting out and about. Socializing is a skill that can be lost so easily if not used enough, believe me I know this for a fact. There was a time that I intentionally isolated myself from everyone because of MS. I didn’t want to complain or actually tell the truth of how bad I was feeling or what I could no longer do for myself. It was easier to dodge phone calls or not answer the door and just plain stop going out. This action cost me some major friendships and brought on a depression that was hard to overcome. It also created difficult for me to carry on a conversation when I did finally start getting back out. Place yourself around positive people and hopefully the reaction will be a positive outcome for you.
Then there is ROUTINE. These past two weeks since my scheduled exercise has been changed so has my routine which has left me feeling lost. I find myself glancing at the clock often and thinking I need to be here doing this or I should be there…if only! Then I realize, nope this isn’t happening today because…or it’s not quite time to do that, leaving a great deal of open unoccupied time. This is where all the TV channel surfing has come in to play or just roaming around my house wondering if I can find something else to do besides playing on social media. Simply, being off my routine has messed up my whole day. I know at this time I take my daily medications, at that time I go to exercise, at this time I cook my family meal, or vacuum, wash clothes, take my four-legged babies outside for their exercise, etc. It is funny that even my babies are so in- tuned to my routine that their day is focused around it. They have been a little off too because of getting more outside time than usual and not seeing me come and go throughout the day. So I have been getting weird looks like what are you up to now? Needless to say there is unsettledness about being off my daily schedule.
All in all, I bet several of you can relate to my craziness here or searching for answers to what will help improve your life a little more. There is just something to be said about improving the quality of life with MS and maybe adding a few or all of these things is the ticket you may be looking for.