Strategies to Relax: Kick Back with MS

By Lauren Kovacs

That’s funny, relax with MS. Like being drawn and quartered is relaxing. It is possible, I think, to kick back. We often hear about not relaxing and it’s negative effects. Easier said than done. I know.

For me, I relax by trying several things. First, don’t beat yourself up. MS stinks for us all. Just acknowledge that fact. Distraction is a great way to relax.

I admit to putting myself in a “show-hole” frequently. I fall into those holes a lot. I pick shows that are as far from reality as possible. I have even watched “brain-cell killing” cartoons. I have been known to watch cartoons with magical ponies and who can pass up the sponge living in a pineapple?

If I need more intelligent stimulation, I geek out on history or science shows. I like facts. I like to restore brain cells I killed watching a sponge flip burgers and talk to his starfish friend. Magical ponies take their fair share of brain cells too. Equal opportunity here.

Reading helps me relax too. I do so in the evening. Reading makes me tired. I either just read enough or plan on sleeping. My eyes and brain tire from reading. I like to digest and analyze what I have read.

Before my hands went coo-coo, I liked painting. Well, it now makes me frustrated. My dominant hand is just decoration. I tried to paint a horse in a field and my sons thought it was a rock or well, let’s keep this clean. With three boys, use your imagination. I find stuff like that reminds me of MS and does not distract.

Of course there is bird watching and nature admiration. (Not really). I find that I have to distract myself from the reality of MS. If a girl going on an adventure with her pet monkey or wizard friends are my viewing options, fine. If reading about an ancient archeological find distracts me, so be it.

Relaxing is personal, even if MS is not a factor. Find your kick back niche. It might be weird, but do what works for you. One of my sisters used to put Earth worms in her baby stroller instead of dolls. It might be weird that I watch shows with talking bears, but it is for me. Distraction is my way of relaxing.

No matter how weird, do what helps you. You are fighting a nasty monster. MS is constant. Fight and have fun how you want. Find your weird niche. Relax for you and no one else. Be you.

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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