I’m one of those folks who follow daily life routines. Simply put, it’s a series of predictable habits that bring structure to my life and help me maintain a positive attitude while living with ALS. But try as I might, my daily routines did not survive the past few weeks of holidays! Of course, the fun, the fast tempo, and visits from friends and family were all worth the sacrifice. But now it’s time to dust things off and revive my trusty daily life routines.
Having daily life routines are important to everyone’s mental and physical health. Sure, variety is the spice of life, but too much variety can wear us down.
In my case, lively discussions extended meal times. I ate more meals at restaurants and my exercise dissolved to just getting into and out of vehicles. At night, I couldn’t fall asleep due to the parade of images and conversations that marched through my head. When the holidays were finally over, I felt out of sync, tired, and almost at that “Why bother?” stage.
Disruptions happen all around us. I remember the worst for me was during my first year of learning to live with ALS. What I noticed most was the pace of my life suddenly slowed down. For example, due to my ALS symptoms, certain expressions dropped out of my vocabulary — phrases like “jump out of bed” or “throw my clothes on” or “dash out the door.” These were things I just couldn’t do anymore. Instead, I learned to use, “Could you please?” and of course, “Thank you!”
But over time, I adapted to my new situation and built a brand new daily life routine, one that has served me well these past seven years. Disruptions happen, and when they do, I get right back on track again. When disruptions happen to you, try these tips and soon you’ll be back in sync in no time!
Align with your body’s biorhythm
We all have rhythmic biological cycles that affect our body, mind, and emotions. It helps to schedule your activities around them. For example, I know my physical energy is better in the morning than later in the day. So, my short bouts of exercise happen mostly before noon. Afternoon time is reserved for low-energy activities like writing and reading. I even meditate in the afternoon. A meditation app I like is Calm, as it offers free guided or timed meditations.
Balance your well-being
Wellness includes eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, and proper medication. It also has social, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions. Without those added aspects, we can easily lose our sense of self and give in to feeling isolated and defeated.
For me, writing this weekly column for ALS News Today taps into my intellect, helps me feel connected to the ALS community, and adds meaning and purpose to my life. Explore more about finding balance in your life journey in this column I wrote last year.
Transform a habit into a daily ritual
By adding special meaning to a daily life habit, it becomes an important ritual and so you will be less likely to drop it when life throws you a curveball.
I like to fall asleep each night mentally giving gratitude for all the positive things that happened during my day. This nightly ritual helps me maintain an optimistic attitude, as I find myself on the lookout for more and more positive events.
Did you know that by practicing gratitude we can become more stress-resilient?A professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, Robert A. Emmons, PhD, explains how in this short video.
Give it a try. We can live well while living with ALS!
Note: ALS 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 ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.