As part of MS Awareness Month, we want to talk about the role stress plays in multiple sclerosis. Having any chronic illness is likely to increase stress levels and MS is no exception. However, stress is more likely to exacerbate the symptoms of MS and bring about a flare or relapse.
While we know it’s impossible to go through life without getting stressed out, it’s important for MS patients to try and avoid triggers as much as possible and to get into good lifestyle habits that can help manage and reduce stress.
If you find yourself feeling unexpectedly sad, angry, anxious or more fatigued than normal, you are probably suffering from stress. Tackling stress and taking positive steps to reduce it will benefit your overall physical and emotional health.
Getting plenty of rest is one way to try and reduce stress. If you’re well rested, you’ll be better prepared to handle difficult situations. If you know you have a potentially stressful situation coming up, planning ahead can help you cope better with the event. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations to events that may make you anxious and leave early if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Take time out of your day to unwind by doing something relaxing like listening to music, painting, yoga or going for a walk—anything that helps you to forget your worries for a while.