Thanksgiving is a time of family, food, fun and STRESS! The focus is on being thankful while eating tons of food, watching football, enjoying a few days off from work or school, and spending quality time with family and friends. It sounds like so much fun and in theory it is. But realistically for many people, especially those with multiple sclerosis, it’s not. All of the above can trigger stress, which can lead to increased inflammation in the body which, in turn, can lead to exacerbating your MS. That doesn’t sound like so much fun, does it?
Holiday time can be filled with drama and time constraints at work or at home that leave you drained, frustrated and unhappy. You may feed your emotional discontent with unhealthy “comfort” foods that are abundant during the holidays as well as find yourself losing sleep over worry or anger of your days’ events. You may get so wrapped up in the chaos surrounding you that you forget to take your medication. Your normal support system may not be in place as it’s very easy for people to forget you have MS since it’s an invisible disease.
Take control of your health while enjoying the holiday. Combat holiday stressors using the following tips to help you safely enjoy Thanksgiving without aggravating your MS.
- Step away from the drama! Distance yourself from any family or office chaos ensuring you keep your stress levels at a minimum. Remember to breathe when you feel overwhelmed.
- Get plenty of sleep and schedule a nap into your day when needed. Sleep is revitalizing and restorative.
- Fuel your body and brain with nutritious foods. Indulge in delicious holiday treats minimally and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum – they all cause inflammation.
- Talk to family and friends if you’ve got a case of the holiday blues. It’s unhealthy to keep things bottled up and it really helps to talk to someone who truly listens and understands.
- Adhere to your disease modifying therapy. It’s all too easy to forget your meds when celebrating but don’t let that happen as it can send your body into confusion and possibly cause a flare up.
- Remember to exercise. When you exercise you not only reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your physical strength, you also lessen fatigue and depression while improving mood and cognition.
- Be grateful. By focusing on the positive you will reduce anxiety and increase joy, enthusiasm, and contentment with everything and everyone.
- Pay it forward. By helping others less fortunate you help yourself. Giving back allows for greater happiness, self-esteem, and decreased stress.
To enjoy this Thanksgiving to the fullest, plan ahead using the above tips and enjoy! This is a time to focus on what is good and right in your life. Even with MS you can live well.
Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving?
Barbara inspires hope through mindful health and a meaningful life. By combining healthy living, spirituality, and neuroscience principles, she helps people understand how to be proactive in their health care versus reactionary in their sick care so they can feel great in their body and in their life. Her greatest wish is to never hear a person say, “I should be taking better care of myself.” To learn more and receive her FREE guide, visit Appelbaum Wellness. Be Present – Be Purposeful – Be Well