If you have tried out some of the exercises in this tool you may already have some ideas about how you can start making room for your emotions and focusing on what matters most. That’s great!
This chapter will help you to make an ACT Plan to help you put what you have learned into practice to take care of your emotional wellbeing. You’ll need to make notes.
Making plans and living with MS don’t always go hand-in-hand. Every day is different with MS, and even without it, you can encounter all sorts of changes in your life. Being willing to be flexible will help you accommodate these changes and make your action plan more effective.
Step 1 of 3
From the list below, choose the area of your life that you most want to address and write it down.
Step 3 of 3
Think about the steps that can help you to live your life in a way that means you can prioritise these values. Stay focused on why they are important to you. This chapter is about opening up opportunities for incorporating these values into how you live your life.
Take a look at Helen's ACT Plan.
Like Helen, some people find it helpful to consider their plan in timeframes such as things they can do to live a value-based life in the next 24 hours (immediate), over the next days or weeks (short-term), weeks or months (medium-term) or even months or years (long-term). But, it is essential that you don’t view these timeframes as barriers to what can or can’t be achieved. For example, if Helen wasn’t feeling physically well enough to go to the park with Archie after school on the day she planned that doesn’t mean she may not be able to do so on a different day.
You probably won’t achieve all of your plan all of the time, so it’s important to be flexible. There are many ways to live your chosen values, if your initial plan doesn’t work out, have another think about the value you wanted to focus on and try a different approach. For example, instead of going to the park with Archie, Helen could do a drawing or colouring-in competition at the kitchen table or play a game to see who can peel and eat a tangerine in the most fun way.
Be creative, be open minded and don’t judge yourself if it doesn’t work out. Living a value-based life is not a tick box exercise, it’s an ongoing process that you revisit over time.
As a recap, here’s what you’ve learnt as you’ve worked through the ACT MySelf tool:
It might be helpful to keep a record of how you are feeling and your progress in working towards living your value-based life. You could keep a diary or notes on your phone. You could also try out the ‘journal’ feature in the Cleo™ app , where you can track your own custom activities.*
Helen has MS. She is 39 years old and is a part-time working mum to an 8-year-old boy, Archie. Helen experiences chronic fatigue, falls, has numbness in her hands and arms and has short-term memory lapses and attention difficulties. Her biggest challenge, she says, is coming to terms with how MS has affected her relationship with her son. “I want to be able to drive my son to his karate lessons, kick a ball with him, and have more bonding and quality time with him when I’m not working.” Helen’s number one value is to do more fun things with her son. She set out the following: