The Planner in Me
I like plans. I like to know the time and location of what’s going on, and if you give me this information a month or two in advance, then major bonus points to you! I don’t do well with the “well, we may be having this event around this time.” No thank you, I need the specifics! I especially like knowing that if we have made some kind of plans, that they are set in stone. This rings even more true around the holidays as well. The chaos and ever-changing plans is a HUGE stressor for me! And, we all know stress and MS don’t do well together.
I used to be more carefree
Each year around November, I begin feeling overwhelmed and a bit suffocated from all of the activities. And this feeling lasts until January or February when things finally calm down. I love the holidays so much, but the constant need to go and do wears down my already tired body. It wears me down to the bone. The other day, I was trying to pinpoint when my need to plan and have control over my schedule began. You see, I used to be more carefree. I still got stressed, but I didn’t let a slight change of plans throw my whole month off. As I’ve aged and dealt longer with MS, the need to have routine and control has become a must. I like routine, and I like knowing what my day looks like. When something disrupts that then I tend to get a little frazzled.
The need for control and routine
Now, I should point out that I have a toddler, so I know that plans change and things can easily throw a wrench in my plans; those instances and emergencies are understandable and something I can handle. The things I’m talking about are the parties that suddenly change times, the company that just drops in unannounced, and the events that I find out about a day in advance. Those are the things that throw me for a loop. I think all of this need for control and routine simply comes down to one thing, and that’s MS. With MS, I can’t control a whole lot, but I CAN control my schedule most days, so that has a become a sense of normalcy that I rely on.
I forget to take care of me
I’m pretty OCD about plan-making in case you haven’t noticed. Sometimes, it feels like the stress of trying to do everything and see everyone this time of year just does me in. It gets so busy that I forget to take care of me, and with all of the stress, taking care of myself shouldn’t be something that I forget. I know when I’m stressed and do too much that that is when I need to take a step back and reevaluate things. I have to remember to breathe. I have to remind myself to enjoy things and not get so worked up in everything being perfectly planned.
It's okay to say "no"
I’m only one person, and this one person already has a lot on her plate. I will do what I can do when I can do it. And if there comes a time when I have to say no, then I have to realize that that’s okay, too. People may be disappointed, and I may be disappointed myself, but it’s not worth making myself sick over it. I just wanted to remind you in the hustle and bustle of the crazy New Year plans, and everyday plans, to give yourself some grace, too. I wish we all could be more than one place at once sometimes, but since we can’t, just remember that it’s not the end of the world to have to change plans and it’s okay to say "no."
Does listening to music help lower the severity of your stress or MS symptoms?