My Motivational ‘Bumper Stickers’ Help Me Live Well With ALS

These 3 strategies help columnist Dagmar Munn stay positive in light of ALS

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by Dagmar Munn |

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Sometimes we all need a little help deciding whether to do something. I know I certainly do. That’s when I rely on what I call my “ALS bumper stickers.” They’re the latest addition to my ALS stress toolkit. The toolkit is a collection of strategies I use to maintain a positive mindset and bolster my resilience now that I live with ALS.

My ALS bumper stickers are easy to remember, and they can help when your mind is waffling and you need a swift kick in the pants. Have you ever had one of those moments? If so, let’s dive right in.

Pay it forward … to myself

Oh, those long days when I finally take my shoes off and want to just leave them in a jumble on the floor. I’ve learned to stop and visualize the words “pay it forward … to myself.” The words remind me we never know when plans might change or the unexpected might happen. Better I take the time to put the shoes out of the way and in their designated spot than risk tripping over them if the morning is rushed.

That’s also my mindset when doing my mini morning exercise routine. I’d love to put off exercising until later in the day, but more often than not, the day gets filled with other activities and my exercise session is lost.

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Don’t give in to ‘someday-itis’

I get things done — eventually. That “someday-itis” mindset was OK in my pre-ALS days, but now that I’m living with ALS, time is no longer a limitless commodity. Lately, I’ve been tackling my closet in a major effort to simplify and declutter. My recent experience with having home healthcare aides attempt to find something for me to wear in my too-full closet served to drive the point home. My aim is to do it now, get it done, and not give in to someday-itis.

This particular bumper sticker also applies to anyone thinking about taking that special trip, writing a letter to a friend, or telling someone how much you appreciate them. Don’t put it off.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

When I do put things off until it’s too late, I end up thinking, “If only I woulda, coulda, shoulda,” and find myself having to live with the consequences of my inaction.

For example, I’ve learned to lock both hand breaks on my rollator and not think I can get by with only one locked down. There are so many times we want to take the shortcut approach, but remember, with ALS, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Is the answer a ‘meh’ or a ‘heck yeah’?

I have a hard time deciding when it’s time to let go of an activity to move on to new projects. Call it FOMO (fear of missing out) or getting caught up in just plain busyness — either is a time waste and crowds out the things I really want to do.

So I have a little test that helps me make the decision. I ask myself how I truly feel about the thing. Is it a “meh” feeling or a “heck yeah” feeling?

If it’s meh, then I feel justified in letting it go. But if I answer, “Heck yeah I wanna keep doing it,” then so be it.

That simple test has kept me in projects that give me purpose and even helped me take a break from all social media.

I hope my tips will be of help to you. What are your ALS bumper stickers for motivation? I’d love to know, so please share in the comments below.

Together we can help each other learn how to 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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.

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