MSers: Why vacation?

tent, cruise ship on blue, why vacation in green

There are a lot of articles today reporting how helpful it is to take your work vacations. OK. But why should MSers? Vacations are exhausting, stressful, and drain resources and energy. The experience is difficult for even a healthy person.

I think it ultimately boils down to do we think we deserve it? Is it worth it to save money to do it? And why, when our health is so compromised and our meds are so expensive, should we keep doing it? How is it contributing to our health?

Ways it Helps

  • Increases brain neuroplasticity. The more you expose yourself to new and different things, the more you develop cognitive flexibility, the ability to “make deep connections between disparate forms…
  • Contributes to heart health. For both men and women, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks. This suggests that living full-time in stress can hurt you.
  • Relieves stress. Certainly work can be stressful. But there is also stress in considering what our future might hold or how our disease will progress. If you step away from your routines, even for a day, you will change your perspective and may discover new coping mechanisms.
  • Improves family bonding. As these people are part of your support network, it is important to make shared memories. In future, these can be recalled and thus “promote positive ties.”

  • Makes you sexier. Ha, just checking that you were still reading! But really, a recent study demonstrated that pictures of women with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were rated as less attractive than women with low-levels.


So a vacation is a necessity. The goal is to calm yourself and make memories. The benefits to us outweigh the risks.

I have never been what you might call an avid traveler. I have never even fully appreciated packing up and going away on holiday. Until I am there. So consider the source.

Some of the most re-energizing breaks I’ve taken have been long weekends or the occasional week. Come to find out that is the latest recommendation: shorter and more frequent travels throughout a year. Like a week long vacation, coupled with 7 Fridays off sprinkled throughout the year for 3-day weekends.

And as one recent study suggested, even planning for a respite can increase your happiness. So this schedule could prolong my positive moods!


Traveling is hard. Staying in someplace different once you’ve traveled there is less so. I’ve often wondered if RVing would be a solution for me.It seems like it would ease the stress of staying in different surroundings.

Cruises seem like another solution. Again focusing on the staying in one lodging while letting the boat do the travelling. To me the issue here is money, but then again why would the expense for RVing, say, or camping (or glamping) be less prohibitive? (At the link below to MS Cruisers you can find info on making your cruise payment in installments!)

If money is a concern (and when isn’t it?) you should try a “stay-cation” where you don’t venture further than your state, town or city, or even neighborhood. You can even borrow accessible-travel guides from your local MS org for free (see for example the Resource Lending Library).

This reminds me of an even smaller commitment: “the Artist’s Date” with yourself as explained in the book The Artist’s Way. A weekly appointment for doing something fun TO YOU. Like going to a store that you’ve always wanted to explore, a local museum you’ve always wanted to check out, an unusual movie that you would go to see ‘if only’.

It turns out that taking regular breaks is mandatory for anybody’s healthy and happy life. Whether you have MS or not!


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