My New Focus on Well-Being and Managing Daily Movement
So often, living with chronic conditions like MS, we learn how to manage medications, manage doctor appointments, manage lifestyle choices, manage time, manage flare-ups, and more. All of this management can feel like a full-time job.
When you have a full-time job, particularly a sedentary job, it’s important to manage your movements. This becomes an important way to maintain your quality of life.
Making the time and putting in the effort
It takes a lot of time and effort to focus on personal health and well-being. The result is often improved quality of life, reduced stress, and greater enjoyment of hobbies and time with friends and family. At least that has been my experience. After years of working for myself in music and writing, I recently started a new job. I’ve had to make several changes to my schedule, my environment, and my ability to contribute to family responsibilities.
Learning about the importance of movement when living with MS
Some changes have been positive and some have made focusing on my management needs more challenging.
Lack of sleep and getting up in the morning
No longer can I sleep until my body naturally feels ready to greet the day. This is not entirely new; I was not always allowed to sleep late anyways because of the two sweet feline companions in our house who become morning monsters wanting their breakfast. Ok, not really monsters, but just meowing, tapping, and licking furry creatures that do everything they can to get me to wake up and feed them. Being loud has become their most successful tactic.
With the new job, I’m working from home and must be up and ready to go at a consistent time each day. My body doesn’t really like it much, but I am getting used to it. I’m starting to wake up on my own Saturday mornings (too early, in my opinion) even without the alarm clock.
Lack of freedom
Being tethered to a computer at a desk is taking a toll on my body. I get so engrossed in the work and often have virtual meetings to attend that time flies by. There are days that I realize I have forgotten to stop for lunch or hadn’t even gotten up to stretch or refill my water bottle.
Previously, I was free to get up whenever I wanted and to putter around the house, taking care of little tasks throughout the day. I didn’t have deadlines, and I didn’t need to respond to rapid-fire communications. Now, I need to be available to respond to inquiries and communications swiftly and frequently in an always-on, chat-like program for work.
Lack of movement
Since time flies by so quickly and I don’t get up to move around enough, I get very stiff. And, I’ve noticed that my feet and ankles swell. It didn’t take long since starting this full-time work, and I haven’t even been out cycling. At the end of the day, I’m so very tired that I don’t feel safe getting up on two wheels and navigating the local road and trails as the sun gets lower in the sky.
Time to manage my movements
I realize it’s time to take back my power. Take control over my health. I don’t need to quit the job. I just need to get back to moving and focusing on my personal well-being. I need to be intentional about getting up out of the desk chair. To walk up and down the stairs a few times each hour. To go fill up my water bottle at a sink located farther from my desk. To grab some grapes out of the refrigerator for a mid-morning snack and take my time to eat them.
I need to move my ankle weights and other small exercise paraphernalia nearer to my desk. And take 10-15 minutes out of each day to do a couple of sets of leg exercises to keep my new knees flexible with full range of motion.
It’s time to put me first and to begin to manage my movements once again.
How do you personally juggle all of the management required to maximize your own health and well-being while living with MS?
Were you misdiagnosed with something else before receiving a MS diagnosis?