All work and no play makes Michele a very dull girl. Dull… dull in a way because that means I am working a lot, and not doing anything more active than walking around the office. Dull as in NOT beating boys at the drag strip. Dull in another way as in “not glistening with sweat from a good workout.”
The weekends can be anything but dull because we are working in the garage, cleaning the house, at the drag strip racing, or working on the tiny garden which is not fast paced, but fun, calming, and will eventually feed me. The best weekends are track weekends with family and friends.
The play hard part of life is sometimes difficult because I may need to rest before or after play time. I have been doing the work hard thing for several consecutive weeks in a row. While I believe in working hard and putting forth my best effort, I sometimes forget that my body and brain need to rest so I can be back at it the next day with a refreshed mind and a rested body.
This is still a new phenomenon for me. I feel like I should have figured it out by now. Two years in with multiple sclerosis and I still have to pay close attention to scheduling activities and naps to make sure I can do the things that make me happy. So many of us MSers need to figure out what the “new normal” is. I am learning that this new normal is always changing. I think I had read that before, that the new normal is ever changing, but for some reason I didn’t believe it. I do not like constant change. I can handle changes, but when nearly every day is different and you can’t count on your body to feel the same way from one day to the next, it’s hard to know if even the planned rest will be enough to get you through the play hard events. Some days I wake up completely rested and don’t hurt at all. Others, I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning to go to the bathroom because my feet tingle so bad.
I know my MS symptoms are mild compared to others’, but when you can’t count on consistency, it is difficult to make plans. Now that we’re in the throes of summer (Mid July in New Mexico) I basically do not make plans on the weekends. Summer equals hell in my book. Once the ambient temp gets to 80 degrees, my body can’t seem to regulate its own temperature (indoors and outside). I feel like I am overheating — sometimes when I am just walking around the air conditioned office — when everyone else is freezing. My vision can change for the worse because of the heat, as well. Thankfully, I have been able to hold that off most, if not all, this summer. I have had to change what I ear to work and almost always tote my GlacierTek ice vest to work. I got a LOT of strange looks when I decided to wear it a few weeks ago. Those in the know / with other friends with MS, understood almost instantly. Others, I felt like I had to explain it to them. It takes time to explain, but hopefully it was all heard and not wasted.
Play hard time is almost always accompanied by an ice vest. I am the coolest chick at the drag strip because of it. It was a great conversation starter last time I was at the strip. It also means I sometimes need to wear it to simply walk on the treadmill, in my house with refrigerated air. It meant that in order for me to hang out at a local fundraising event that was across the street and down the block from my house, I needed the vest on to sit in the shade and hang out with friends. I had forgotten my wide brimmed hat, but I was able to stay out of 95% of the sun for the several hours I was out there.
Exercise is something I need to start mixing in to my weekly life if I want to keep on playing. Keeping up with myself will require time in the gym. It sounds counter intuitive to expend energy to have energy but more and more studies are showing that activity breeds energy. It also keeps the brain healthy. That is the real motivation right there. Having a healthy brain, that is actively thinking and solving problems is going to keep the MS at bay, or at a standstill for as long as possible. Now, part of my “dull” time needs to be filled with exercise and gym like activities.
I’ll tell you right now the gym and I are not BFFs. Maybe, now that I finally accept that exercise leads to a healthier brain, I will find my way to treadmill and the Wii Fit more often. The activemsers.com website and the guy that runs it has helped me, little by little, to make changes in my life. Maybe you’ll glean some good stuff from Dave as he shares 5 Stage of Exercise Enlightenment with us.
What is your exercise mojo?