For me, autumn elicits memories of a new school year, football games, raking leaves, carving pumpkins, and pressing apples for cider. Prepare for winter with home tasks and wardrobe shifts. Move sweaters, boots and winter wear from boxes or the back of the closet to the front for easier access. Suggestions for weatherizing homes and belongings are prevalent and specific, but they are less so for personal health and well-being.
Often, I experience recurring and seasonal symptoms before I realize I have a method that helps me cope. I’d love to be able to avoid the suffering it causes if at all possible. I decided to create and follow a seasonal list of tasks to proactively address my health needs. It has an emphasis on issues that Multiple Sclerosis challenges or creates for me each year.
Here’s my first attempt to capture what I’ll want to do each autumn for physical, mental, and financial health.
- Review any medical records or personal journals to see what issues I’ve had during that season in the past and what helped. Plan ahead for any recurring issues.
- Start using a blue light in the morning with hopes to pre-empt any seasonal affective depression caused by reduced daylight hours.
- Make a plan, and set up space for movement. When the weather turns, being active outside is less enticing. Have a menu of activities with space and equipment easily accessible or ready for transformation for stretching, strength and fitness.
- Schedule a flu shot (Some can’t or prefer not to get one. You do you.)
- Restock any allergy, cold or flu medications that work for me. The last thing I want to do when I feel bad is go to the store to purchase over the counter medications.
- Plan and confirm holiday locations and people to see. It’s nice to have things to look forward to and decided.
- Review annual health care spending and health insurance coverage. If out of pocket amounts limits have been met for the year, perhaps schedule some appointments that could be done this year instead of next.
- Review income tax withholding amounts and estimated taxes for next year. Determine if any modifications to withholding or other actions now might reduce the tax bill later.
- Remember the fall season can be tough with changing weather and routines, increased fatigue, and other MS symptoms. It often subsides with effort and time, and knowing it tends to happen every year can help offset depressing thoughts.