|Taking a break to watch the salmon swimming |
while on a bike ride with friends
Spending time with friends and going on adventures were something I believed I should be able to do, and I didn’t see fatigue as a symptom of something larger and more serious. I still believe I should be able to spend time with friends and experience adventures, but I now weigh and budget the energy it takes with the joy I’ll experience.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development tracked men for 75 years (and counting) and showed that people with good quality relationships with family, friends and community are not just happier than people without good relationships, they are also physically healthier. They experience less memory loss, pain doesn’t affect their mood as much, and they’re generally more resilient.
As such, I see my relationships as imperative to my future health. Investing time in my social relationships is not optional. MS symptoms like fatigue can make it more difficult to build and maintain those social connections. When work, bills, housekeeping and everyday tasks take more energy than a person has, it’s easy to turn down invitations to social gatherings and become isolated.
Prioritizing Joy and Relationships:
• Write an email
• Write a letter or send a card
• Call them on the phone
• Meet for coffee or lunch
• Go to a movie together
• Exercise with a buddy: Go for a walk, hike, bike ride, swim, etc.
• Go to an event: Attend a concert, museum, or dance
• Plan an adventure
• Take a trip, visit family, explore new places with someone