Managing Multiple Sclerosis can be easier than you think! I have only been diagnosed with MS for a couple years, so I am no expert or doctor. However, since the MS attack that led to my diagnosis, I have not had any major attacks. I have found great ways to take care of my body and maintain my health.
Getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease can be overwhelming. I have compiled a list of steps that I take to help take care of my body and prevent MS attacks. These tips are all very manageable and I think with a little work you can incorporate each of them into your life as well. I hope that these tips will help you manage your chronic illness and increase your happiness!
Table of Contents
Tips for Managing Multiple Sclerosis
#1 Prioritize Sleep
Lack of sleep mixed with stress can be a disaster for people that have autoimmune disorders. I know that people say it all the time, but sleep is SO important. I recently read “Why We Sleep” and now I am convinced that anything less than 8 hours of sleep is insufficient. Sleep helps to recharge your body’s essential functions and protects you from so many problems.
Unfortunately, MS can also lead to a lot of disrupted sleep, which can exacerbate symptoms including fatigue. I used to think sleep was silly and I went many nights with very few hours of sleep. Ever since my diagnosis, I have prioritized getting the correct amount. I try to make sure that I go to bed early and that I can fit in 8 hours of sleep every night. I think this has greatly increased my quality of life and I recommend it for everyone.
#2 Workout Consistently
If you go on Instagram and type in #MSwarrior, you will find plenty of accounts showcasing individuals’ with MS fitness journeys. There are many studies that show regular exercise can greatly help a patient with MS. Working out can lead to greater balance, agility, and strength in one’s limbs. It can be a great way to improve the severity of current symptoms and also helps to keep others at bay.
I like to keep my exercise exciting and enjoyable so I tend to switch things up. I do strength training, play tennis, and go on plenty of hikes. You can find something that is fun and no longer seems like a chore. I prefer to workout in the mornings, so I have an alarm set on my phone that says, “Kick MS in the Butt!” It motivates me to get out of bed and keep moving!
#3 Practice Yoga
Similar to exercise, there have been many studies that show how yoga can improve an MS patient’s quality of life. For many years, I avoided doing yoga, because I thought it was silly and pointless. This past year I started to practice yoga regularly and I have seen marked improvements in my life.
My balance is greatly improved, my body is stronger, and my anxiety has decreased. Yoga teaches individuals about mindfulness, which I think is one of the greatest benefits for people with MS. Stress and anxiety can be triggers for MS attacks, but deep breathing can help quell anxious thoughts. I want to get into meditation as well to increase my ability to soothe my own mind.
#4 Take Vitamin D
My doctor tells me that I have to take Vitamin D3 as if it is a prescription medication. I take 5000 mg a day, which is a large dosage. Sometimes I can only find packs with lower dosages and I have to take three pills or eat five gummies at a time.
Vitamin D has some protective effect over the body and helps to stave off symptoms. Luckily, I am also a huge fan of the sun, so I try to go outside a lot to get natural Vitamin D exposure. I heard on a podcast once that sunscreen may take some of the benefits away from sun exposure for patients with MS. So you still need to make sure that you are taking the natural supplements.
#5 Listen to Your Body
You are the person that knows you best! I think the most important thing that my diagnosis taught me is that I need to listen to my body. If something feels wrong or off, then it most likely is true. I remember during my attacks that I often explained away things I was feeling and convinced myself that they were normal. I am so glad that I decided to go to the doctor and that I now have the support I need.
If you don’t listen to your body, you could end up doing a lot of harm. Go to the doctor and make sure that they take you seriously when you say things are wrong! These days I make sure that if I feel tired or my body is starting to feel funny, I take a break and I give myself the rest I need. I try to check in with myself most days to make sure that I am feeling okay.
There are so many other things I could do to help treat my MS, but these are the ones that I have found most helpful so far. Please let me know if these tips help you or if you have any other tips for managing your MS! I think it’s incredibly important to care for our bodies and take care of our health!
How are you managing multiple sclerosis? Let me know in the comments!