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Tips to Reduce MS-Related Stress at Work

By Daryl H. Bryant (566 words)
Posted in Living with MS on December 17, 2014

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Tips to Reduce MS-Related Stress at Work

Stress can weaken your immune system, which can be especially problematic if you suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Because the disease directly compromises your immune system, reducing your stress levels will help keep your MS symptoms in check and give you the opportunity to work longer and more comfortably. The following tips will help you reduce your stress at work and provide you with ways to alleviate stressful symptoms.

Practice office-friendly aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a common alternative therapy for those with MS. It combines different plant oils to create different aromas that can help your brain and body relax. Many of these combinations involve anti-bacterial and anti-fungal plants that may supplement your existing medical treatments. Lavender is an especially calming scent that often comes in both candle and incense form. If you’re worried about disrupting the office with your aromas, lavender can also be brewed as a warm tea. Brew yourself a hot cup and sip on it while you work, or even use it to help you complete the breathing techniques below.

Practice breathing techniques at your desk

Whether it is at work or during other social activities, relaxation techniques can help you overcome anxiety. For example, deep breathing is a great way to reduce your stress levels quickly. If you feel yourself starting to grow anxious, set your work down and sit back in your chair. Inhale deeply through your nose, letting your stomach extend, and hold your breath for up to 5 seconds. Then exhale slowly, contracting your stomach. Repeat 5 times, listening and feeling the air entering your body and leaving each time. This will not only distract you from your stress, but it will also increase the oxygen flow to your brain, helping your relax.

Put a time limit on your anxiety

Agonizing over symptoms, schedules, or deadlines will increase your stress levels, sometimes causing more symptoms. Rather than focus on your stress all day long, set aside special appointment times where you can focus on worrying and only worrying for a few minutes per day. By choosing specific time frames such as these, you will learn to designate stress to a specific location and place instead of giving it free reign over your work day.

Save your energy

Fatigue is a very common symptom among MS patients, and any amount of stress can run you ragged. Even feeling tired can cause you to stress out, creating a vicious cycle of constant stress and fatigue. If you find yourself exhausted throughout the day, even without any stressful events, consider cutting back on the amount of hours you work per week. Divvy up the workweek based on your energy levels. If you find yourself exhausted by the middle of week, put more hours in at the beginning when you feel energized and cut back toward the end of the week to give yourself more time to relax. This way, you can get enough rest and enjoy the energy you have to spare.

Each of these activities can be done easily at your desk or with the assistance of friends and coworkers. As you learn to manage your time and devote less of it to stress and anxiety, you will find your anxiety decreasing while your energy levels increase. Reducing your stress at work will also help you reduce your stress at home, giving you more opportunities to enjoy each day as they come without the threat of worry. 

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