Evaluating What’s Working in My Life, and What’s Not

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by Dagmar Munn |

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Happy October, everyone! It’s time for a mini-celebration. During this crazy year, each new month means more of 2020 is behind us. We have all undergone change over the months, especially those of us facing the challenges of ALS. However, our changes extend indefinitely.

Maintaining my resilience is a priority. That’s why I’m hitting pause at this point in the year and using a simple strategy to evaluate how I’m doing. I am reviewing what’s working and what’s not, and am setting goals for the month.

What’s been working

A daily routine is important to everyone’s mental and physical health. Even though my daily habits have changed greatly from my pre-ALS life until now, consistency is key.

ALS forced me to give up a physically active life, but I adapted. I found ways to sprinkle movement throughout my day and kept showing up. I even rode a mobility scooter into meetings!

Of course, the last six months brought even more challenges, but I’ve settled into a new familiar pattern. This includes meeting via Zoom, listening to podcasts, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.

What’s not working

I fight FOMO: the fear of missing out. I may write about finding mental balance and reducing stress, but I’m human, too.

Over the past few weeks, news alerts, politics, and comments from pundits have pulled me in. Too much time spent watching TV or scrolling through social media caused me to skip exercise breaks and disrupted my mindfulness.

Practicing mindfulness helps me pay attention to walking, eating, and moving throughout the house, which is important with ALS. It deters me from falling, choking, and experiencing other near-disasters. More than once, while lost in thought, I have snapped into focus just in time.

My goals for this month

Be OK with not knowing everything. Reduce my exposure to news sources by picking only two each day. Set time limits for social media. I now use a small timer near my laptop to let me know when to sign off.

Recognize when I’m mentally burned out or overloaded. Give myself permission to do something fun, creative, and relaxing.

Reaffirm my commitment to practicing mindfulness. Before standing, walking, or swallowing, take the time to bring my mind into the present moment, and breathe slowly.

Continue my healthy life habits that promote resilience and provide a fallback when life gets tough. These include quality sleep, good nutrition, exercise, meditation, and engagement in life.

What practices have worked for you or challenged you over the past few months? Please share in the comments below. Let’s help each other live well 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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Ellyn Maloney avatar

Ellyn Maloney

This article came at the perfect time. I don't have ALS but was a caregiver for my spouse who did. I really needed to hear and now need to follow your advice re: social media, limiting time I spend trying to figure out the political landscape, etc. I need to substitute other activities which will benefit me. Thanks for putting my thoughts in writing and encouraging me to do better!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Ellyn, I am happy to read that my column gave you inspiration :-)

Karen Howard avatar

Karen Howard

Thank you for sharing. I try to put my to dos on my calendar. They get moved quite a bit but it gives me some focus for the day. I also get my projects (bookkeeping, healthcare notes etc) in order the night before so I know where to start. I enjoy driving new parts of town without the music on. Keeps me away from the news and social media for a while. I sometimes pack a lunch or bring a book for a short stop at a local park. I am.NOT looking forward to winter.

Elizabeth Velez-Hill avatar

Elizabeth Velez-Hill

This article was just what I needed.

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Great to hear it helped you :-)

Astrid avatar


Thanks for your article it Will help me face a new day, getting up each morning is the most difficult thing to do for me at the moment. Facing a new day with ALS is so hard. Thank you for your story .

John Russell avatar

John Russell

Well said. I've experienced most of this, especially the excess of news & pundits. Of course, you know the wreckage a moment's lack of mindfulness caused.?

Maria avatar


I have ALS but I have hope to succeed with my exercises and just being conscious with all I do I am a very positive person and a religious person. I pray for this DX to disappear and keep going healthy and happy! Maria


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