Multiple Sclerosis: Managing Stress

A woman taking a yoga classHaving a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis (MS) can greatly increase your stress levels. Many issues associated with MS, such as unpredictable symptoms and the cost of treatment, can make stress worse. It’s also possible that stress itself can worsen MS symptoms.

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To help manage stress while living with MS:

  • Adjust your sleeping schedule
  • Make healthy sleep a priority. Missing out on sleep can increase your risk of depression and other mood disorders.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, when possible. Regular sleep schedules maintain the timing of your body’s internal clock and can improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Get extra sleep the night before special events, such as parties.
  • Wake up earlier to give yourself extra time to complete tasks.
  • Schedule regular rest periods so that you have time to recharge.

Use relaxation techniques:

  • Yoga, a series of breathing and stretching exercises, can help reduce tension.
  • Tai chi, which involves slow, deliberate movements, can aid in relaxation. Many tai chi positions can be performed while sitting down.
  • Meditation, or spending time in quiet thought, can help you relax and de-stress.
  • Deep breathing, by itself, can help your body feel more comfortable and reduce stress by easing tension.

Seek support from others:

  • Tell your friends and family about your illness. Having loved ones who understand the challenges you encounter can help relieve stress.
  • Join a support group in your area, so you can share experiences with people who know what you’re going through.
  • Find a therapist who can help you come up with ways to cope with stressful situations.

5 Natural Remedies For Multiple Sclerosis

A man sleeping on a sofaMultiple sclerosis can get you down both physically and mentally. But just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you can’t get back up. These five suggestions may help relieve some symptoms of MS:

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1. Get plenty of rest. Fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Although generally it’s unrelated to your activity level, resting may make you feel less tired. It sounds so simple, but it’s true. Try to get anywhere between 6 to 8 hours asleep each night.  And if your day call for it, a 30-45 minute nap during the day may help.

2. Exercise. Regular exercise, such as walking, swimming, weight training and other physical activity, may offer some benefits if you have mild to moderate MS. Benefits of physical activity include improved strength, muscle tone, balance and coordination, bladder and bowel control, and less fatigue and depression. Exercise also has been known to help with bladder issues–one of the main symptoms patients worry about with MS.

A simple goal to walk 20 minutes every morning or evening is a great way to start.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be a great and strenuous workout, but dedicated time to get your body moving may help.