Managing Multiple Sclerosis During the Holiday Season

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • With a few added pounds left over from Thanksgiving, we've plunged headlong into the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the New Year. While we look forward to gathering with family and friends, sharing meals, exchanging gifts and toasting champagne, those of us with MS can also feel overwhelmed.

    Simple tasks are magnified and the long to-do list of the holiday season can feel insurmountable. Past experience tells me that the best gift you can give yourself is the gift of relaxing your own expectations. If your MS is acting up, make the necessary adjustments.

    Put your feet up on your lunch hour. If at all possible, take a mid-afternoon nap. Forgive yourself if the housework is a little under par. That truly isn't the thing your family will remember or even notice when looking back on the holidays. What they want is to spend some quality time with you, so give them that one special gift.
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    “I'm sorry, I need to rest now.” It's that easy. Say it out loud a few times and get accustomed to the sound. Save your strength for the things that really matter to you. Others will enjoy visiting with you when you're fully rested.

    Do your shopping online whenever possible. It's easier than ever to choose items, add gift cards and even ship directly to the recipient. If you live with others, ask for assistance with shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating and cooking. Don't volunteer to do anything which will aggravate your symptoms.

    If you are shopping for someone who has MS, pay attention to their symptoms and what might make life a little more pleasant for them. A brightly colored adjustable, folding cane makes a great gift. Cozy slippers, robes and fleece blankets dispense a dose of comfort. For those days when moving around is all but impossible, it's nice to have a few juicy books to read, or favorite DVDs on hand. Relaxing music, fragrant candles or a small water fountain will provide a sense of tranquility. If you've got more to spend, a wireless laptop could profoundly change the life of someone with chronic MS.

    It's all about keeping things in perspective. The hustle and bustle are not necessarily all they're cracked up to be. Keep it simple and you'll have more to give. So, pour a steaming mug of hot chocolate, stoke the fireplace, turn on your favorite Christmas music and enjoy the people in your life who matter most.
Published On: December 09, 2007