Lori Ann Kostich M.S. CCC-SLP
Mandell Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research
As we move into the New Year, we are all making resolutions. Some of them (maybe many of them) are straightforward...lose 10 pounds, be more organized at work, or keep the house clean. Most of us strive to do something “better”, to “improve” or to try something new.
But what happens when that falls through? And let’s be honest, by February, many of the goals we made are beginning to slip (I did not say all...congratulations in advance to all of you who will still be sticking to your resolutions in February) and then feelings of frustration can begin to set in.
So, since it is early in the year (and early enough to adjust that resolution), how about this resolution - taking care of yourself, first and foremost. So, what does that mean? It means something different to every person reading this. Every person with MS has unique life circumstances, needs, desires, dreams and goals. Every person with MS wants the symptoms of MS to interfere with their lives as little as possible. But, let’s be realistic, those symptoms are there, changes are happening. Taking care of yourself may not mean doing things “better”, but rather doing things “differently”.
For example, is everyone reading this 100% adherent to their medication schedule? Does everyone reading this plan the day to try to get ahead of issues before they become BIG issues? Does everyone go to bed every night feeling like something was accomplished that day- that something got done? Does everyone reading this practice good energy conservation strategies, resting before you get tired, good body mechanics, so that you have energy to be with your family and friends in the evenings? Can you think of ways to adjust work habits, or routines at home? Not to be better, but different- to allow you to take care of yourself.
You cannot take care of anyone else, unless you take care of yourself first.
As a therapist, this can be a hard concept to communicate to some of my patients. We are surrounded by a society that goes, non-stop, all the time. We want to keep up. We want to be successful as parents, in the work place, and in the community. We want our children to participate, and to explore their talents while they are young. When the symptoms of MS flare up, the temptation may be to ignore them and keep going. Which may, unfortunately, bring on more symptoms. So… what can be done differently to keep this from happening? That is up to everyone reading this to decide- what can you start doing differently, TODAY, to take care of yourself.