Let’s be honest – in many ways the holidays suck.
This is the last in a series of posts based on my personal experience on how to simplify your life. If you have followed this blog for long, you’ll know that I have had Multiple Sclerosis for about 4 years and have been trying to play catchup and pull my life together since the diagnosis. While my husband and I are not really minimalists or zen gurus, we have found our lives improving one step at a time by simplifying as much as possible.
Have you ever opened a closet only to be shocked by how many things had found their way in there? We accumulate things over time. Lots of things. Too many things. Don’t let stuff own you or define you – simplify your life and dump all the junk. When we moved into our house about 7 years ago we probably had twice as much (or more) overall stuff than we do now, and we still have too much. Before my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, our lives were very disordered. Parts of our house were unusable or difficult to navigate, and there was certainly no open space for yoga or other exercise.
Why is it unusual for us to talk about Multiple Sclerosis and weight? They both affect us so much and they do affect each other. But we often avoid acknowledging them together. Multiple Sclerosis itself isn’t the only part of having MS that affects our weight – all those drugs that we take for this that and the other play a large part in and of themselves. Between fast food, soda, genetically modified fruits and vegetables, and meat that has been filled with hormones and antibiotics, it’s a wonder we live long enough to even take the medications which alter our bodies on top of everything else. Not surprising that so many of us believe that diet and exercise play a large part in our disease course.
Information is developed and spread so quickly now. When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago, patients were advised to avoid exercise as it could bring on worsened symptoms or new attacks. Now we know that this is mostly a fallacy. An active lifestyle for a person with MS means lessened disease activity in the long term and improved fatigue, strength, flexibility, mobility, cardiovascular fitness, bladder function, and bowel function. Those are some very attractive incentives!
Every summer I am amazed at the heat. Ridiculous – right? I have a virtual 2 degree window of comfort (I’m so annoying). Cold temperatures are made bearable with cardigans and blankets. Warm weather, on the other hand, seems to melt my brain. Heat and Multiple Sclerosis work together like two villains in a comic book.
Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis are notorious for heat intolerance resulting in an endless variety of possible repercussions – this is known as Uhthoff’s phenomenon (or Syndrome). Summers may be beautiful, but they are also difficult for us.