Stock up on (Healthy) Comfort Food and Drinks
Speaking of comfort, let’s move on. Comfort is important to anyone in any situation. But seriously, get me in one of my moods, when the days are at their coldest and take away my comfort and suddenly life seems bleak and my MS feels like a scourge that has infiltrated my life and taken away all of its joy. Most days, I can look around and find joy and beauty in the world, in my life. Comfort makes this outlook easier to attain. Winter can just feel so empty if I let it.
Warmth is the quickest way to serve up my comfort. My husband believes strongly in the power of a warm beverage, and I have adopted his belief. We love our warm beverages so much that we actually have a corner of our kitchen dedicated to a large tea selection, his favorite coffee, and several hot chocolates to choose from for our son. My husband shows me he loves me by offering me a cup of tea at least once a day and I find comfort in the warmth and love there.
Another thing that gives me comfort is a well-stocked freezer filled with all of our favorite meals. I find it fun to make large portions of our most loved comfort foods on the nights when my fatigue is under control. Right now I have tons of Christmas ham and bean soup stocked up in my freezer. I pull these babies out on the nights when the cold has zapped all of my energy. They are easy when I can feel the fatigue settling in and I know that I will be in ‘hibernation mode’ a half hour after dinner.
It is a great thing to have healthy, heart-warming food on hand that just needs to be warmed up on those nights when I know I need a break. Treat yourself right and make room for those days when life is beginning to feel too heavy.
Plan to Get out of the House
Lastly, let's talk about entertainment. This can be the best part of winter if you play your cards right. I have figured out a great way of making sure that my family and I get out of the house as much as possible during the winter. Staying busy is really about going about your life in a tactical way: you have to decide that you are going to get out of the house and have all the tools in place.
We have a couple of foundational things in our house that set a good baseline. First, we have a membership to the local community center. It is a great gym with pools, exercise equipment and really everything our little heart's desire to stay active and in shape.
Going to the community center gives us multiple nights a week where we are busy and out of the house. Also, working up that heart rate is a great way of staying warm and using up my energy so that I go to bed and actually get some sleep. I know that there are plenty of you out there who struggle with your MS and sleep. Sleep loss directly affects my fatigue, so for me, a tired body is a happy body, without fatigue.
Another great thing that we do as a family is we have a season pass to Playhouse Square in Cleveland. It is a great thing to get to the city on a monthly basis. We have a nice dinner out and a great night seeing a show. Set up something that will take you out of your normal schedule at regular intervals. It will pass the time more quickly and with more excitement. You will be creating memories and that will bring joy to your life.
Joy is something we all need to seek out. These are the things that we carry with us through our days. These are the memories we create with the ones that we love. Before you know it, spring will be here and you will be basking in the glory of all the new life sprouting up around you.