April is Stress Awareness Month, and we’ve got some useful tips that you can adopt and make your own. Stressful times effect everyone, and each person handles and responds to stress differently. However, it can worsen symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) as stress targets the weakest parts of your body physiologically. Understandably, living with MS can be stressful and worrying at times, but talking about the problems and worries you’re facing can help take the weight off your mind and find a solution. At MS-UK, our helpline can assist you with MS-related issues that you may be experiencing, and you can find out more about our helpline here.
Whilst stress is nigh on impossible to avoid completely, it’s important to know how you can manage it and take steps to combat the symptoms before they worsen and effect your health on a more serious level.
Here’s some tools that you can use when stressful times come around
Meditation and mindfulness
Taking some time each day to reconnect with your mind and body can be incredibly helpful when it comes to managing stress. There’s a huge selection of apps you can use, such as Headspace that can guide you through everyday meditation sessions. If mindfulness is something that you’d like to learn more about in depth, you can sign up to join our mindfulness courses. Starting this month, there’s a four week and a nine week course available where you’ll be taught how mindfulness helps you sleep better, become more relaxed and be more aware of your body. Learn more about each course and sign up here.
Renowned for its overall health benefits, yoga is great for the mind and body. MS-UK now offers chair yoga sessions every week that you can take part in via Zoom. With two different sessions available, there’s a range of exercises for people with varying levels of mobility. Each session is 40 minutes, ending with guided meditation. Read more and sign up to our next class here.
Staying active is a great way to combat stress. It releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone, and gives you time to focus on the one thing that you’re doing, taking your mind away from the stressful situation at hand. Going for a run, a walk, or doing a home workout can make all the difference to your day. Regular exercise can be anything that works for you and MS-UK hosts three different exercise sessions twice a week, catering for different levels of mobility. Each month, Alan Pearson, level four exercise coach also holds exercise masterclasses, focusing on an MS-specific symptom and exercises to help.
Resolutions to stress can also be anything creative that you enjoy. Whether that’s reading, painting, drawing, journaling, knitting or sewing, taking the time to concentrate on your beloved hobby or even taking up a new one is important. Making the time for things that make you happy is a regular thing that you can do for everyday stresses. Creative activities allow you to channel your emotions into that and can help you make sense of how you’re feeling too.
Talking about the problems that are causing you stress with someone who can provide solutions, or just be a safe space for you to talk about what’s on your mind is incredibly important. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and finding a professional who can help you and your needs is vital.