10 Tips for Managing MS and Maintaining Energy During the Holidays
- by Laura M.
- December 25, 2017
Laura M. is a paid employee for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
The holiday season is a joyous and busy time of year. Decorating, shopping, attending parties, cooking, socializing and traveling can leave you lacking energy. Read my 10 tips to help maintain energy during the busy holiday season.
- Plan and Prioritize. Plan your schedule and choose activities that are most important to you. Remember, you do not have to do it all. Make lists to help you stay organized. Keep a calendar and plan your schedule around your energy level. For example, if you are hosting or attending an event, schedule time earlier in the day to rest. Also, reserve rest time the day following a party or event. Utilize online shopping or gift cards for gift giving to avoid the bustling crowds at shopping centers.
- Reduce Stress. Stress can deplete your body and mind of energy. While we cannot completely eliminate stress from our lives, it is important to take a break and try to reduce stress. Recognize triggers of stress and develop a plan in advance as to how you will respond to that stress.
- Eat Healthy Foods. Holiday dishes and treats are a highlight of the holiday season. Remember to enjoy treats in moderation. Large meals and excess sugar may impact your energy levels. If you are hosting or attending a party, remember to eat a high-protein snack before the event. Protein-rich snacks and meals, like hummus or chili, will help sustain your energy level.
- Stay Hydrated. Keep hydrated with water. The winter months bring dry air and our bodies may require more water to stay hydrated. Limiting your consumption of high-sugar drinks and alcohol may also help manage your energy levels.
- Sleep and Rest. Ensure you are getting enough sleep and rest during the holidays. An extra nap may be necessary at times. Set the alarm on your phone as a reminder to take a break between activities. Try going to bed earlier if you have a busy schedule the next day.
- Light Exercise. Exercise can help sustain your energy level. If you are feeling tired, try gentle stretching (you can do this sitting in a chair) for just 10 minutes to help restore your energy level. As always, consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Keep a Normal Body Temperature. Enjoy time by the fire with friends and family, but be aware not to get overheated. Increased body temperature could lead to a worsening of MS symptoms. Wear layers of clothing under your coat so you can stay warm outside in the cool weather and then remove layers once you are inside a heated environment.
- Keep A Routine. Be consistent with taking all of your prescription medication. The hectic schedule of the holidays and traveling can lead to interruptions in your routine. Set an alarm on your phone, put a reminder on your calendar, or try one of Teva’s tracking tools if you’re taking COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) to help you remember to take your medications as prescribed.
- Set Realistic Goals. Do not overcommit your schedule. Set attainable goals for what you plan to get accomplished each day. Let go of nonessentials, ask for help when needed, and do not insist on “pushing through.”
- Communicate. Ask for help and accept help. Be honest about how you are feeling. Your Care Partner can help you cope with the holidays. Remember many symptoms of MS are invisible (such as fatigue, muscle spasticity, numbness and pain). Friends and family may not remember you are experiencing these symptoms unless you communicate with them. Perhaps you enlist friends or family members to help you cook your traditional holiday meal, instead of doing all of the preparing and cooking yourself.
Enjoy the holidays! Apply these tips to your routine to support your energy level this season.
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Shared Solutions® Clinical Nurse Educator
About The Author
Laura M., RN, BSN is a Clinical Nurse Educator at Teva’s Shared Solutions®. She has 17 years nursing experience, including 5 years of working in multiple sclerosis.