I have been told by many that stress can exacerbate the symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, and when I am stressed, anxious, or feeling overwhelmed, my symptoms are worse. So, I’m working hard to add balance to my life.
Each year, I choose one word to focus on, following the “one little word idea.” This year, my word is “balance.” My goal is to achieve more balance between work, family time, and self-care. I am trying to make time for the activities that I enjoy but put aside because of work, family, and just everyday life.
So far, I have carved out time to read at least three evenings a week. My goal is to read at least 10 books this year — books about simplifying life. I’ve finished two books and am currently in the middle of a third book: Ruth Soukup’s “Living Well, Spending Less.” It is all about how to simplify and enjoy life without spending a lot.
The book talks about not only learning to say no to things you don’t want to do, but also to things you do want to do but shouldn’t. The author talks about how getting rid of things you do not need, the things that cause clutter in your home and life, can help you feel less stressed. I have gotten rid of many things that I do not use, or even need. That is a very freeing feeling. The less clutter in my life, the easier things are.
The author also talks about the importance of self-care. I am learning to take care of my mind and body as needed. I have started to exercise two to three times a week, taking time to work on craft projects, read, and rest. At first, I felt a little guilty about taking time for myself. However, I realize that if I take the time for myself, I tend to feel better. When I feel better, I can be a better mom, teacher, daughter, and friend.
I am learning to avoid situations that tend to cause stress. Some things I try to avoid are large crowds and very loud places. Those two situations often cause my anxiety to kick in. I know there are times I can’t avoid crowds and loud noise. When in situations like that, I try to keep myself calm by breathing deeply and focusing on one thing I can enjoy while there. That often helps. Afterward, I will make sure I give myself time to recover and rest.
Balancing my life and self-care is not selfish; I often need to remind myself of that fact. It is OK to take time to read a book, complete a craft project, or just sit and rest. It is necessary to take care of one’s self when struggling with physical issues because the stress of everyday life can really impact how you feel. I am working on creating and maintaining balance in my life; it is not easy, but I feel it is very important for my health.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.