How I ‘Reboot’ My Life After A Relapse
After a set back in my health, it’s easy for me to fall behind and lose the prior gains I had made. I am then left with the task of having to claw my way back to the position I was in before my relapse, but if you’ve had a major deterioration where do you even begin? How do I deal with the two steps forward one step back cycle of Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS)?
I like to approach this as per the advice that was given by the IT crowd, you know the one…’have you tried turning it off and on again?’
So today I commence my post-relapse reboot.
The Tomorrow Trap
Things can begin with…’I’ll start tomorrow’. You know that moment when you have an epiphany that tomorrow you will change everything in your life, and everything will be good again. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic expectation. I’ll have a bad night’s sleep or some sort of ache or pain, I’ll decide to put things off until I feel a bit better.
The problem is without making changes things won’t improve.
The ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ trap can be an easy one to fall into, as tomorrow becomes the day after, and all of a sudden a month of tomorrows have passed, and still, nothing has changed.
So how do I avoid the tomorrow trap?
Once the ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ thought bubble appears, I begin making changes at that very moment. I make a conscious decision from that moment to start restoring my routine. Of course, you can’t just jump back into behaving like you’re in full health in that second. I need to start one step at a time, so I start simple, with the basics, self care and breakfast.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and when I’m unwell, this is something I stop doing. I never used to have breakfast, and that was never a problem. A cup of coffee and I was good to go. Since having MS missing breakfast comes at a high cost to my energy levels as well as my mood and motivation. Sometimes the thought of eating something in the morning can seem so exhausting it makes me nauseous. My nutritionist recommended a low GI breakfast drink on these occasions. Although it’s not ideal compared to a complete breakfast, it’s better than nothing, and can actually give me a bit more stamina to make myself something more substantial to eat later.
Focusing on one thing at a time
When it comes to restoring my routine, I focus on one goal that I want to work towards at a time, maybe two if they’re interrelated. I try not to overload myself with overly ambitious plans, like ‘from today I’m jogging every morning’. This can be a set-up for failure, remember slow, and steady wins the race.
Things can feel frustrating at the start because you can’t do things like you used to. Remember, you’ve been unwell, and it can take time for things to improve and for you to notice changes. That doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Have patience and be kind to yourself. And sometimes things can’t go back to how they used to be, and that’s ok too because there is always another way. There are always new things to learn and discover.
So today I’m turning it off and on again. I’m starting with the basics, a good healthy breakfast, a nice refreshing shower and a short 15-minute yoga routine. I’m going to leverage the good feelings these activities give me to create enough momentum to get the ball rolling towards making further changes.
So off to the Yoga mat I go…