I've been reading a booklet on MS & Fatigue that I got from the National MS Society. Part of the problem is figuring out what can be attributed to the MS, and what can be attributed to the fact that I haven't been exercising consistently for several months. For example, am I tired because I'm not exercising, or am I not exercising because I'm too tired? Is the stiffness in my muscles and back caused by my MS or my inconsistent exercise non-habits? Or is it a combination of both? I feel like it's one of those chicken-or-the-egg type riddles.
The booklet recommends stretching exercises for the stiffness and fatigue, whether it's caused by MS or not. I've got a nice collection of yoga videos (and, as I've mentioned before, high praise for Gaiam, the company that sells them). I'm trying to incorporate those videos in as often as possible. And on those days when I don't do a video, I'm trying to do some stretching while I watch TV.
So far this month I've tried two new videos. Stress Relief Yoga for Beginners was great. I was in a bad mood when I started, and I felt better mentally and physically once I was done. I did Gentle Yoga for Beginners for the first time last night. Whoa! It didn't feel so gentle while I was doing it. I could really feel the stretch. But afterwards, I felt terrific. If I had overdone it, I would be feeling sore today, but I don't - I feel good.
It was sad during both videos how stiff I was. I couldn't go very deeply into the poses at all, even with the assistance of props. But what did I expect? When I was exercising regularly, I was taking a yoga class once a week. Of course I could do more then! I just keep reminding myself how quickly I saw improvement that time. The instructor at my gym complimented me after the 4th or 5th week, telling me that he could tell a big difference in my poses. When I thought about it, he was right. I was reaching farther and able to go deeper into the pose.
I'm also looking at other things I can do to improve my energy level. I've been sleeping rather well, so I don't think I need to mess with my sleep habits much. Plus, I do a good job of heading up to bed early on nights when I'm tired.
I will work on my nutrition habits, so that I can get more energy from food instead of making energy-draining choices. I've got a couple of good books that I'm using as resources. I'm starting with baby steps, like making sure I take my vitamin every day, and trying to cut down on the junk while I add high-calcium foods. I made a list of steps in my journal last night that I can take. I'm focusing on the ones that only take a few minutes, like taking the vitamin, so that I can build up to the more imposing ones (or figure out ways to break those down into smaller, less imposing tasks).