Time, Stress and MS: When Saying ‘No’ is Good for Your Health

Teresa Wright-Johnson avatar

by Teresa Wright-Johnson |

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Patiently Awakened

Time. We all know it is important. Time is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present and future regarded as a whole.” In simple terms, time is life in a series of moments. Regardless of what is happening in our lives time is constant. Once a moment has passed, it is gone forever.

Chronic Illness certainly will cause one to consider time. We look back on the past, live in the present and wonder about the future. We experience both excitement and angst. Personally, staying engaged and serving others have been beneficial. It has, at times, led me out of dark places. In addition, I am discovering that self-care is is paramount. Self-care requires me to rest my mind and body.

I am diligent in character and my heart is in everything I do. As a result, I am asked to participate in various things and I have a tendency to “spread myself thin.” I often state that I am stressed out. As a heart health advocate and a person with chronic illness, I am well aware that stress is detrimental to my overall health. I have had numerous loved ones and friends tell me to take it easy or just say “no.” I must publicly proclaim they are right.

There are moments when I feel as if I am racing against time. I believe there are many of us who occupy this position. We feel that time is of the essence and it’s now or never. I tell myself that I must do what I can while I can. In acknowledging there is some truth to this statement, I also must confess that I cannot do it all. I am overwhelmed and sometimes feel as if I am losing ground. Fear comes rushing in as I think MS is usurping my cognitive ability and physical agility. In order for me to remember dates and activities, they must be written down. I am misplacing or losing things, all while my mind is going 1,000 miles a minute. Physically, I am beyond exhausted.

Today I had an epiphany. It was my “aha” moment and it came in the midst of a temporary personal crisis. I concede that I must slow down. It is my responsibility to determine how I invest my time and my sustenance depends on these decisions.

Time is valuable and I encourage you to use it wisely. I am reaching out to those who may be struggling with the “yes syndrome.” I am reaching out to those who feel they are running out of time. I am reaching out to those who will give until depletion. At times, saying “no” is good for your health. We cannot pour from an empty cup.

MS and chronic illness are stressful enough. We must try to alleviate outside sources of stress and pressure when possible. Time will keep moving, with or without us. Self-preservation is key.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today 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 Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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