Rest I can’t stress enough how important rest is. Even if you don’t have MS you should rest when you need to! Although I know I often forget to take a break; I then really regret it when symptoms come on. I have found that the best way to ensure they don’t is to take regular breaks with my feet up. I actually sit upside down in an armchair with my legs in the air, and I find this works against a symptom of heavy legs that I get. Put your legs up against a wall – it is a yoga position linked to rejuvenation. The benefits of resting often are outstanding. You should also seriously consider working part-time. Since I made the switch, I have found time to regularly practice the activities that make me feel good like swimming and yoga, and have been able to focus on my health, attending various therapies and preparing nutritional meals as well as resting well so as to keep symptoms to a minimum. I also find it helpful to take a nap in the early afternoon; it energizes me and helps me get on with the rest of the day. I recently realised the extent to which I am able to waste energy by trying to do things in a rush or by trying to do many things at once. I have had to learn to slow down and save my energy.
Mental fatigue is harder to deal with than physical fatigue, but please don’t let it get you down. I know it is disheartening when you cannot concentrate on a simple task, but make the most of those moments by doing something good for your health: meditate. I am new to the world of meditation, but trying to incorporate it into my daily life and have often found it very uplifting and revitalising. If you can’t think, then you are in the perfect place to let go and meditate – there are people who never manage to stop thinking; so you see MS is often a blessing in disguise.
Sleep – It is essential to sleep well. Being run down, sleep deprived or stressed have a very unhelpful effect on the immune system and lead to inflammation – and MS is essentially inflammation. I am at my worst after a late night, and find that going to bed early prevents many of my tiresome symptoms from appearing at all during the day. A good night’s sleep can work miracles. I sleep from 8 to 12 hours depending on my levels of fatigue. I actually sleep much better now that I have MS, I had always been a very light sleeper before and now I can sleep almost anywhere – so I guess my body is giving me the tools I need to help it recover.