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4 Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others

July 4, 2017

Caring for your multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenge, and you know that. But what if there is someone in your life who’s sick? How can you take care of both? As unpredictable as MS is, and as grim as this may sound, what is predictable is that your life will be touched by the illness of others. MS patients have a lot to worry about, like a change in lesions, whether medications are workings, or the recent state of the healthcare, that sometimes, they could lose sight that others are facing serious hardships as well. MS patient Cathy Chester gives tips to readers about her experience with caring for others while maintaining her own illness. She states: “it may not be easy, but it is certainly worth it.”

Prioritizing: It’s easy to make the care of others a priority. You want to see them well, so you want to do whatever you can to help. But in reality, you can only do so much, and might end up feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Create a list of priorities and volunteer what you can do within your abilities.

Honesty: Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t do what your friends or family want you to do. Nobody walks in your shoes, and if someone doesn’t understand your needs, then take the time to be honest with them. Learn to say no, but say yes when you can. Educate others about MS, too.

Emotional Balance: Keep in mind it’s important to avoid stress whenever possible. It’s not always easy staying positive when someone you love is sick. Here are some things that Cathy does to lift her spirits:

  1. Taking walks in parks and admiring nature
  2. Meditating at least once a day
  3. Doing yoga

Communication: Like mentioned, it’s difficult to watch someone you love deal with an illness. Depending on the illness, you can feel helpless and frustrated. This is when you need to communicate your feelings to trusted friends and family by telling them your worries and concerns. You need to care for both your physical and emotion needs, and don’t feel like you need to keep everything bottled in.