Kirsty in her garden wearing headphones

How I'm being kind to myself during the pandemic

I’ve found these past eight weeks difficult to navigate, although I’m finally figuring out what to do with this time.

Being a self-employed designer, all of my plans and work for the year have been put on hold or cancelled. So I have a lot of time to play with. At first I thought this was great as I could concentrate on new design work, but it just wasn’t happening.

It was hard having nothing specific to work towards or an end goal. And what with the constant coronavirus updates and developments my mind was in other places.

I had to keep reminding myself that the whole world was on pause, so it was OK not to have a plan of action!

Managing fatigue during lockdown

I have also been experiencing extreme fatigue, which I didn’t think could happen while staying in!

As I’m at home and really spending time with myself and my MS, I’m learning what triggers my fatigue and what is a realistic days work for me.

That does scare me as some days I can barely function – I ask myself how I’ll be when the world opens up again? OK, that sounded a bit dark, but I’ve decided to use these feelings and this time to really look after and be kind to myself. That will help me be at my best when we are finally released back into the wild!

Read about fatigue and ways to manage it

My top 5 activities that benefit my MS and mental wellbeing

1. Pilates

This is is a must for me. Having a good stretch and paying attention to my breathing really relaxes and revitalises me at the same time. I think this helps the physical MS symptoms I’m experiencing too!

Check out our Pilates for MS workouts

2. Walking

My legs have been feeling pretty heavy and awkward recently. To keep moving I listen to a podcast on my headphones, which normally lasts about an hour or so, and walk until it’s finished. I find I get 4 to 5k done even if it’s just laps of my patio!

3. Drawing

I have been feeling crazy altered sensations in my hands but have started online life drawing. I find I’m so busy concentrating and using my hands the sensations are forgotten!

4. Video chats

Catching up with friends over a glass of wine is brilliant. Also the MS Society’s Time to Chat sessions, both UK-wide and in Tayside are great. You can chat with people experiencing similar situations being on full lockdown and they always end up being a good laugh!

5. Connecting with nature

This may be my favourite. With barely any traffic, listening to the bird song is so relaxing and watching them at their feeders is beautiful. I have even done a little bit of gardening and planted seeds to encourage more bees and butterflies. I’m still waiting to see how that works out, flowers take a long time to grow!

Find what makes you feel good and enjoy it!

Looking for emotional support? Contact our MS Helpline on freephone 0808 800 8000 or email helpline@mssociety.org.uk. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays.

This year’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek (18-24 May 2020) is all about kindness. We'll be sharing stories about being kind to yourself and others on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let us know yours!

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