Skip to main content

What do you do to stay sharp?

 This is what a NaNoWriMo winner looks like near the end of her challenge. Eyes nearly closed, forced smile, listless posture...but look at those two books in front of her. These are results of past NaNoWriMo events. It's worth it. Wish I could keep it up all year round!

Last month in my MS Support Group meeting, one member posed the question "What do you do to stay sharp?" Yep, my group actually has homework!

I didn't need to think about it too awfully long, seeing as how I was in the thick of National Novel Writing Month, an event I look forward to all year. NaNoWriMo is  self-inflicted challenge that many writers commit too every November. I love it. I hate it. I live for it. It keeps me relatively sharp in times of MS cog fog.

Now that NaNoWriMo 2016 has concluded I am in search of a new challenge to keep those brain waves dancing.

This is what I brought to the table during yesterday's meeting:
Knitting is my go-to challenge because it requires concentration (of sorts), counting, and eye-hand coordination. I also love words games. Words With Friends is a great online scrabble game that I play on my Kindle. The comradery of the game is amazing. When a faceless competitor messaged me a few weeks ago, I actually got giddy to know that I had a friend somewhere out there in Cyber World. My nieces, brother, and mom have a Sunday Game Day a couple of times a month and that requires a LOT of mental aptitude, so I counted this activity as well.

Another lady shred her adult coloring pages and they are BEAUTIFUL. When she is not filling the pages of this 21st century rage, L also works word puzzles. She also introduced us to something new. (Isn't that what groups are all about? Sharing the goods and the not so goods?) L taught us about Zentangle.

Upon googling zentangle, this is what I found:

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.

Benefits and Uses of the Zentangle Method

It is fascinating to learn how other people are using the Zentangle method. Here's a list of benefits others enjoy from practicing the Zentangle Method. This list continues to grow as people apply the Zentangle Method in ways we never considered.
  • Relaxation
  • Simple and quick access to mindfulness
  • Non-verbal journalling
  • Insomnia (Improved sleep by creating Zentangle art before bedtime)
  • Self-esteem
  • Inspiration
  • Panic attacks (For fear of flying, creating Zentangle art during takeoff and landing)
  • Modify behavior
  • Being part of a supportive and fun community
  • Create beautiful works of art
  • Nurture and develop creative abilities
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve eye/hand coordination
  • Develop/rehabilitate fine motor skills
  • Team building and group focus
  • Therapy
  • Anger management
  • Addiction therapy tool
  • Diet aide
  • Early artist development and appreciation
  • Increase attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Home schooling
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem Solving
  • Design inspiration
  • Stretching and warm-up for artists
 Read more at this link.
https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method

At the mention of the word BENEFITS, my interest spiked and I decided I  might give this a try. Sounds like fun. It is obviously a big thing. It is on Pinterest!

After our cog fog discussion, we turned rather serious. Valuable information was shared regarding self-catharization.   One of our member does this. She shared the name of a very reputable physician in the tri-county area who she highly recommends. Her honesty about life with a cath was inspiring and really took away some of the fear that those of us who are considering it really appreciate.

In my group we share med news nearly every month. After years on Copaxone, B has just begun her Tecfidera journey. Now we have two members on Tec and I really, really wish them well. My experience with that drug was horrible, but after listening to the testimony of my fellow group mates, OI really believe that a lot of my problem was my own fault. I am anxious to hear an update next month on B's experience after progressing to the higher prescribed dose. Maybe I will try again.


I really enjoy my MS Group. I was excited this summer as I trained to be a group facilitator, but as the time came closer to actually be in that position  I became anxious. Memories of my initial experience with an MS group after my diagnosis kept haunting me. It was not good. But these ladies are wonderful. Some faithfully attend and we have those who wander in and out. That's okay.

We may be small, but we are intimate. And we are a safe place for anyone with MS. 

So, back to the purpose of this post: 
What do you do to stay sharp?

Hope to hear from you soon!
Have a great weekend!
Lisa
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Sea of Orange Hope

With a forecast for rain and cool temperatures, many felt the 2018 Walk for MS might be a sloppy mess; but when I arrives in Morgantown, West Virginia, I found an optimistic, celebratory atmosphere that no storm could dampen. Clouds dispersed and skies cleared, knowing that the heavens  could not compete with the storm happening on the ground at the  Waterfront.







The true champions had arrived and their name was Warrior.



Tents were erected, tables arranged, team shirt distributed, books stacked, (I got to share I Have MS. What's Your super Power? !!!!)






acknowledgements made, participants in place, and the walk began,






















with Team Tiffany in the lead. My new MS friend, Tiffany Albright, is an inspiration. she single-handedly recruited an amazing team of walkers that outnumbered any other congregation in attendance. Her numbers were amazing in monetary contributions and the enthusiasm of her teammates was more than inspiring. 

Event though I did not personally join the walkers, my day was fu…

MS and Exercise

I don't know about you, but sometimes (most of the time) the motivation to exercise is just not there. And that is just plain crazy.

I am more than aware of the positive effects of daily exercise. I always feels better, both physically and mentally, after taking time to stretch, bend, and force my body to meet the challenge of movement. My biggest issue is the accountability. Exercising alone means no one can attest to your commitment. Unfortunately group gym, spa, or class situations are not financially nor logically an option for many of us.

And sometimes, like this morning, it is even an effort to fire up the DVD player in order to access one of my many yoga videos. Even though that cute little blond instructor coos encouraging words my way, her interest in me is purely superficial. We know nothing about one another. 

According to healthcare.com the following chart shows the seven best exercises for living with MS. They are easy, doable and require no equipment or additional cost.…

Aubagio Followup

WOW!

Last evening I attended an area meeting to learn more about Aubagio, one of the three oral MS medications on the market. General MS physician Mark Hospodar provided the informational portion of the session, complete with a slide presentation full of facts about multiple sclerosis. It was very basic and mostly repetitive for those pro-active MS sponges. Not mind-blowing stuff, but pretty heavy on the importance of medicating upon diagnosis.
Enough to convince me to take a closer look at my own choice to remain MS drug free.

It was an intimate group of approximately a dozen women plus the doctor. Very relaxed, informal, and free of judgement. We were all there for the same reason with the same goal in mind: to discover the "wonder" drug, or at least something closer to a promised remedy. (In addition to the fantastic Italian cuisine at Muriale's Restaurant. Yum!:)

We heard from Aubagio veteran, Renee, who told her journey with her initial diagnosis s well as her life with …