take a pause in life

Pause and breathe

It’s amazing how much we take for granted in life. All the simple things we once thought weren’t important or did without thinking have suddenly become gigantic and bigger than life. Things like remembering to wash your hair while you are in the shower, dealing with relentless fatigue an hour after waking up, having nagging pain following you everywhere you go, being the last person to finish eating every meal, and even the seemingly simple act of walking across the bedroom floor.

Each one of those things were just a part of life that I never had to think about before, but now I find I’m working hard at each one just to make it through my day.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis, I have had to learn to adapt to change or life would swallow me whole. But I also have to be ready to adapt again because those changes, change. Nothing with MS is predictable. One day you may wake up ready to work a full day at your job, go out to eat with friends afterwards, and still be able to come home to do a load of laundry before going to bed.

Other times as the day progresses, you haven’t even made it through the morning before you’re ready to climb under your desk, build a bed with reams of copy paper, and sleep for the remainder of the day. If you could get away with it, you would surely do it too.

MS has this way of throwing life out of whack and causing gigantic amounts of stress along with it. Stress in turn makes everything worse and can even cause progression to increase thus making life even crazier. Such a vicious cycle. For me, if I don’t put limits on my day or listen to my body when it’s screaming at me to stop, I end up worse off because it.

I have to put limits on my day if I plan on making it through even the next hour without collapsing into a puddle on the floor. I have to give myself breaks that others around me don’t need if I am going to make it through the day in tact. I have to walk away when the pressures get too much and the pain becomes too great so I can clear my thoughts and simply breathe.

It’s okay to pause in life. We go way too fast as a society anyway. Pauses would do everyone some good, not just people with MS.

Today, pause and breathe. Find a place where you can get away from the busyness surrounding you even if that place is hiding in a bathroom stall at work or sitting alone in your car. Use every chance you can get to take those pauses.

Sometimes they are easy to manage and other times you have to force yourself to take them, but your health and wellbeing matter more than schedules and plans. You are the most important part of your day. Take the time to take care of you today.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

16 replies
  1. Mary Rose
    Mary Rose says:

    Having been diagnosed just 18 months ago and being a former college athlete, I am just now coming to terms with this idea of resting before I go too far. I’m used to going to class, 3 hours of practice, then weightlifting and then studying. Some days there was all of that plus a part time job. I’m used to coaches pushing me to my absolute limit… and then pushing a little further.

    Thank you for your blog and for this post in particular. I’m trying to stop calling myself lazy and stop going until it hurts. Every time I do too much, the next day, or 2, or 6, are horrible but I keep doing the same stupid behavior.

    So thank you. Thank you for the reminder that I have a new normal. I am not lazy. I just work a lot harder, in hidden ways, than I have ever worked before. Part of fighting my MS is respecting MS and its challenges.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That is like’Stop and smell the roses’ scenario. I have had that feeling often. Trying to reach an earlier ‘normality’ doesn’t work. I think we have to set boundaries on our life to cater for. Like this morning I woke up feeling that something happened but I don’t know what and that is quiet weird. So rather than letting it grow I put it aside and will wait for it to happen

  3. Amy
    Amy says:

    Thanks for reminding me that it’s not just me. I was trying to explain MS fatigue again last night, and it’s so tough to make someone without MS understand.

  4. Marcus
    Marcus says:

    Penelope, you have a gift and you’re sharing it with others! Thanks! I often forward your blog to my friends who don’t have this dreaded disease so they can learn about what our lives are like. Keep on doing what you do Penelope! You rock!

  5. Leah
    Leah says:

    Yesterday…I was able to do 3 loads of laundry…today…I’m knackered to make my bed! For now, I’ll just stay in it and make it later on. Penelope, I’m going to follow your wise advice to pause and breathe. Thanks.:-)


    Perfect timing for me too… Got up this morning, washed, dressed, ready to go to the office, and suddenly I found myself out of breath, exhausted, tired to even blink my eyes. I sat at home all day, and 5 hours later I found the courage to undress…
    Many greetings from Athens, Greece! 🙂

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