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Challenge Yourself Month is here

As Challenge Yourself month kicks off, we recently asked some of our OMS Circle Ambassadors what their biggest challenges were.

"My challenge was to meditate daily. I have been doing it consistently for a few months now. I do a minimum of two 10 minute daily meditations - to and from work on the train. At weekends, I meditate a minimum 20 minutes daily and do more if I feel like it. The result has left me feeling more chilled."

- Greg Hendron, Ambassador for County Armagh, UK

"I struggle to stay positive since my MS diagnosis. Finding OMS was the first time I felt hopeful and part of the program involves daily meditation (which can be very hard to do!). So I started doing daily meditation in the morning and setting positive affirmations. Every day I reset my positivity compass."

- Karen Campbell, Ambassador for York, Ontario, Canada

"One of my biggest challenges is getting flax seed oil into my diet. I now try to make salad dressings, mayonnaise and ice cream from flax seed oil so that I don't even have to think about it."

Blake Allan, Ambassador for Lafayette, Indiana

"One challenge I have faced is incorporating exercise into my daily routine. With work, kids etc. there never seemed to be enough time.  

I now walk my son to school (2km) rain or shine. This has become part of our routine and, as an added bonus, he gets exercise too! Some of our best conversations happen on the walk, and it is now often my favourite part of the day. In addition, I have found that online yoga classes help me fit in half an hour of exercise daily. I don't have to drive to and from and the practice is adaptable to my schedule."

- Jenn Hickey, Ambassador for Barrie, Ontario, Canada

"My biggest challenge is saying no. 

I've just tidied my art studio which has been my daily motivation and has given me purpose each day. Saying 'just' tidied is an understatement, because of my MS it has taken a month.  

It's 10 years since my diagnosis and as you can imagine, it has totally transformed my life and attitude. My art work must have a voice and is now conceptual. I want to help others and try to make a difference each day. Being an OMSer has brought great joy, comfort and support to my world and I became an Ambassador to give back. 

My biggest challenge is protecting myself from overdoing it, especially if I feel it's a good day. Sometimes I have to say no and that is often the biggest challenge I face. I really do hate letting people down and feeling I've failed them. I use a traffic light image in my head. I balance green, red and amber days out. If I've had red days, I must have green to balance. Amber days are dangerous and the risk of going ahead must be carefully checked.

My new space is aimed at making me more effective. To try and help my memory and processing. To keep my mood up and help keep those grey clouds at bay. I call it 'whomping' but depression, isolation and loneliness make me anxious and overwhelmed, all of which are symptoms of my MS. 

Now there is space for others to join me in my studio and I hope to have more shared days to combat loneliness."

- Tessa Jane, Ambassador for South Devon, UK

"Facing every day to my expectations is one of my main challenges. What I should be doing and how I should be doing it. 

For example, I still sometimes expect myself to be able to do as much as before being diagnosed with MS, for example, housework, gardening and my job. 

Good solution is to enjoy your life and don't blame yourself when plans don't go as you expect.

Don't be afraid of falling down, but try to get up and try again, again and again. Small steps are better than trying to take big ones."

- Barbora Rackova, Ambassador for Karvina, Czech Republic

"My first great challenge caused by MS was the loss of the use of my right hand. I spent a couple of weeks sure that my left hand couldn't take its place. Bad times. I was snapped out of it by a computer game of all things, they released 20 new levels. I couldn't play with my right hand so I had no choice but to use my left. I eventually made it through all levels, still in the top 20 of 'Bubble Blaze'. This led to writing and colouring - hours upon hours of practicing left handed and I could get by. I also managed to begin cooking again. I was essentially left handed and moving on. Then I lost the use of my left hand too, but that's a whole other story.

No physical challenge occurs in isolation. For me, not being able to trust my body led to serious crowd anxiety. These associated problems are often even more difficult to overcome than the original physical challenge but it can be achieved. These days in a crowd I just need a big pair of boots and an innocent expression. But, again, another story.

Humans are clever, innovative, problem solvers and with some determination the sky really is the limit."

- Fiona Schultz, Ambassador for Geelong, Victoria, Australia

One of main challenges has been exercise as it can feel like two steps forward and one step back. It's hard for me when I can't see progress no matter how much effort I put in and some days it just doesn't come together at all!

It's interesting how the different parts of the program support each other. So mindfulness has made it easier for me to be OK with how it is on those tricky days knowing that tomorrow's another day. Hard for an achievement junkie! But I've learnt to celebrate each little milestone with a big 'woop woop'. 

- Yvette Sargood, Ambassador for Berkshire, UK

If you feel that you have a challenge you would like to overcome this month, then find out more here.


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