Taking care of your epilepsy involves much more than following your medical treatment, whether medications or diet. Taking care of yourself overall is critical to your health, whether you have a chronic condition or not. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, managing stress — all of these are aspects of wellness that need to be in balance to help you have a good quality of life. This will help your overall everyday living be better and also help you control your seizures and manage your epilepsy.
Derek Theler: Living with seizures can be a challenge, but one way to help is to make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercise, eating right and doing activities to help your relax and reduce stress.
Patricia Osborne Shafer, RN, MN (Associate Editor / Community Manager, Epilepsy.com): When we go back to use that term "self-management", really it's comprehensive management, it's family management, what does the individual do to help themselves but what do the family members do? What do you do, to help yourself in dealing with epilepsy? What does your wife do? So everyone needs to have some help. And then you think about what works best. If we look at the research on self-management, it's not one thing, but it's things that increase the person's confidence in their ability to manage it. So mindfulness-based things, martial arts, stress management. A whole host of different things; exercise. If that can make you feel better about yourself and more confident, there's a direct influence about managing your seizures and getting better seizure control, because that's what we're looking for.
Greg Grunberg: Absolutely. And I would encourage people not just to talk about it but to know that there is just no such thing as a dumb question. It's important to get the dialogue going, because you never know, somebody might say "Try meditating," or "try Tai Chi" to lower the stress of self management, it's important.
Patricia: But just talking about it builds one's confidence. And that itself, is a skill you need to learn. "How do I talk about it? I need to feel comfortable telling somebody about my seizures. I need to know who to tell. How much to tell them." And that's stuff you don't learn when you go to your clinic or hospital visits. It's stuff you need to learn from others, and find what fits best for you and for your family. So talking about it – one of the most critical self-management skills.
Derek: Wellness is a very important part of managing your seizures. To learn more visit epilepsy.com.