Self care is something we all struggle with, but it can be an even bigger struggle when you are battling your own body. As someone who deals with Multiple Sclerosis, I know what that battle is like. In this post, I am going to share with you some ways I practice self care.
Self Care Starts With Movement
The best piece of advice I could give you for self care while dealing with a chronic illness would be to move your body daily. I love a good endorphin rush. It sets the whole tone for my day and puts me in a great mood. You don’t have to do some crazy workout each day, even if I love to do that. Even just some Yoga or other stretching exercise would be beneficial. Walking your neighborhood, if you are able is another good option.
Moving my body with a fitness program each day has been hugely beneficial in managing my disease and my mental health. I really love the programs that Beachbody offers and I can do them from the comfort of my own home. No worrying about other people staring at me, especially when I workout during a flare! It’s the biggest piece of self care that I do.
This is the part that I struggle with the most. I have talked about it in a few posts before, one of which you can find here. In the past I have had great success while making sure my diet is gluten free. I just operate better while on it, but man I love regular bread. Mostly toasted sourdough with grassfed butter on it. Yum!
I have been looking into taking things a few steps further and doing an autoimmune protocol type diet. This requires eliminating quite a few things, but if it makes me feel even better it’s worth it. Oftentimes, we don’t realize how important nutrition is for those of us who fight chronic illness. The best analogy I have heard for keeping nutrition in mind is to think of food as fuel for your body. When we have issues with our body, that analogy becomes even more important. We need to fuel our bodies with clean, whole, nutritious foods.
Making sure my mind is in a good place is something I struggle with daily. My default is pessimism. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. I work hard every day to overcome that negative mindset and I am not always successful with that.
One of my favorite ways to get my mind right is to read personal development books. They are extremely motivating to me and are a geat kick in the ass, especially in the morning. Some of my favorites are listed below:
Another favorite way to put myself in a better mood is to listen to podcasts or just music in general. If you have Amazon Prime, you get access to Prime Music for free and can create a bunch of awesome, motivating playlists. I have a few, depending on what my mood is.
In terms of podcasts, I love to listen to Rise, Rise Together, and The Goal Digger Podcast. I listen to quite a few podcasts, but these are definitely my top three. You can find all sorts of podcasts to listen to, depending on your interests. Check out iTunes, Stitcher, or even Spotify to listen!
Other Self Care
I have a few other things that I do for self care, depending on the situation. If I am having a flare, I really try to hone everything in and also make sure I am getting enough sleep. This usually means going to bed around the same time as Wildchild. He is usually asleep by 8:30 each night and I am not far behind most nights.
Brain dumping into a journal is so helpful, when I remember to do it. Just getting everything on my mind out is a huge release. Letting it all out, the good, bad, and ugly, without fear of judgement is such a gift.
Taking a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils is a great way to reduce stress while soaking away any soreness I may have. Its a great way to unwind after a long day. Even more so if it has been a particularly hard symptom day. Hot baths are a bit frowned upon in some MS circles, but I just can’t give them up.
Self care is going to look different for everybody, depending on their access to tools and abilities. The ideas I talk about above are obviously in no way an exhaustive list of things. They are just some of the things I use day to day to get through.
Making sure I get even just a small portion of these things done throughout my day ensures that I will be able to get through it without being ridiculously exhausted, in pain, or in a horrible mood. Also, there are some days where the only thing I get done is to read a book. However, those days are rare. I believe that is because I have made taking care of myself a priority.
Do you have any favorite self care rituals?? Would love to read all about them, so just drop a comment with your favorite trick!