Changing Seasons and Changing Routines

Fall is upon us and as the leaves change color and pile up on lawns across the neighborhood, parents and kids are begrudgingly adjusting to a new school year routine. Humans and animals are naturally creatures of habit – just ask a toddler or a pet during Daylight Saving Time – and changing up a routine can be stressful for anyone.

When you are living with a chronic disease like MS, a change in your daily routine can do more than just throw you off-balance for a day or two. Whether you are going through an employment change or you need to switch to a new medication with a different dosing schedule, there are some small things you can do to help yourself adjust to a new routine:

  • Start Small – Whenever there are big changes, it can feel overwhelming to focus on everything at once. Instead, try focusing on one small change or task at a time.  You can feel more accomplished as you cross each individual task off your to-do list.
  • Use Your Current Routine – Sometimes, the easiest way to establish a new routine, is to adapt the one you already have in place! For example, using your favorite TV show or weekly lunch with a friend as a reminder to take medication can make it easier to keep yourself on track.
  • There’s an App for That – Just take a scroll through the app store for your phone or tablet and you can find many different options to help you organize your day or manage your medications, including MSAA’s My MS Manager™ app. These apps can help you ease into your new routine by setting reminders and audio alerts on your phone or tablet.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New – Change of any kind can make us feel uncomfortable or afraid because we don’t know what to expect, but that’s ok. Depending on how dramatic the change is, it can take up to 3 months for a new routine to feel like a habit. So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t feeling comfortable yet with your new routine. You may just need a little more time!

Change is almost always hard, even if that change may be for the better.  With a few of these strategies, hopefully, you can more easily navigate whatever life throws at you today.

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Changing Routine

By Lauren Kovacs

I was employed outside the home years ago, but I chose to stay home when I started my family.  Just when I was ready to go back, after 12 years, the MS had other plans.  Routines and MS are a must, for me now.  I love routine!  I can’t do “last minute Lucy” or be spontaneous.

I have the same foods for breakfast and lunch.  This helps me keep my bowel routine.  If I have not gone potty that morning, I rarely leave the house. Staying close to my diet is tough, when away from home.  I love junk food.  Gosh, I love it.  I really love gluten too.

I nap at the same time everyday. Even my dog knows when naptime is.  I schedule everything before noon.  Even Provigil let’s me sleep.  Routines are essential.

You do have to bend the routine at times, however.  Just make sure you have a plan, if your routine takes an unexpected turn.  Knowing ahead of time what to do, if your routine is pushed off a cliff or thrown into a muddy ditch.

A recent two-day beach trip left me for dead. I knew the MS sharks would circle the chum, but I did not have a plan.  I ate out and while it was tasty, the gluten boat threw me in with the chum.  More MS sharks circled.

It took days of fatigue, tears, stomach issues and fights with other germs to come out on top.  I conquered the mountain.  When I only needed one nap a day, I knew the current was changing.

Two weeks later I was still in bed by 8pm but, my three boys had a blast so, it was worth it.  I still was face down in the bed trying to get a nap.  Alas, I was finally able get into the bed and didn’t need to sleep on the floor.

MS is not glamorous.  Have plan B and C.  Routines are wonderful, but have a back up plan or two or three.  Being thrown off a cliff might seem ok, if you can climb up.  Once you make it to the edge safely, then what?  Don’t think that because you feel ok that you are.

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