Stress & Autoimmune Disease in the Time of COVID-19

Audrey Fisher: Focusing on Healing

Audrey Fisher, who lives with multiple sclerosis, started 2020 with a new focus: Healing.

“With autoimmune disease, your body is literally fighting itself 24/7,” she says. “So I wanted to focus on ways to heal.”

She didn’t know how relevant that focus would become. When the pandemic hit, like so many of us, she had to deal with the stress of not knowing what tomorrow would bring. She feared losing her job and worried about her family. Audrey is also the founder of Operating Shooting Star, an organization dedicated to advocacy and fundraising for autoimmune disease. She had big plans for fundraising events for the organization’s 10-year anniversary — which had to become smaller and move online.

She decided the best way to manage those stressors was to add more things that reduce stress in her life.

“Swimming is a huge therapy for me,” she says. “And I love being around animals. I’ve been spending time at my friend’s farm and even tried yoga with kangaroos.”

Audrey’s key to maintaining mental health is creating a mindset of self-care. This means making time to destress a priority and not feeling guilty about taking time for yourself.

“I block out time for yoga or even to just watch TV and relax,” she says. “I remind myself that self-care isn’t a luxury — it’s important and I need to find time for it.’”

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