I am a Client Services Consultant here at MSAA. I hold both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Counseling from schools outside the Philadelphia area. I love reading, movies, going to concerts and traveling. Favorite place I've been so far---Disney World!
Brrrrrr…..Is that winter right around the corner? It sure feels like it! In some parts of the country, people don’t have to wonder what day winter will show up, as some states have already had their first bout of snowfall this season. Because winter is highlighted as the cold and flu season, it’s important to take precautions when you can so you can stay feeling well; after all, it can be a very busy time of year!
Flu Shot: Yay or Nay?
The flu vaccine is one precaution individuals take in preventing the spread of the flu virus. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine if getting a flu shot is appropriate for you. For more information regarding the flu vaccine, see the MSAA article Vaccine Safety and MS at http://mymsaa.org/news-msaa/924-vaccine-safety-ms
Cold and flu season is an important time to be cautious in preventing the spread of bacteria. It’s helpful to keep things sanitary. Use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces in your home and car. Wash your hands regularly to avoid the spread of germs to your mouth/face, and avoid putting your hands to your face in public spaces, especially in doctors’ offices or health facilities.
Close for Comfort
With winter bringing holiday celebrations and gatherings in its midst, it can be tricky to stay in a germ-free zone. Be aware of those loved ones who may be sniffling and sneezing, because as much as it’s nice to receive their embrace, it’s not as lovely to receive the germs. Stay alert in public spaces like stores during the holiday rush, as bacteria likes to travel in crowds. Disinfect with antibacterial soaps and sanitizers and leave those germs out in the cold!
The holiday season is upon us! As Halloween has come and gone, we find ourselves faced with the upcoming months of holiday preparations. Cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, and family visits are just some of the tasks individuals embark upon during this busy time. Because the holidays can be a bit hectic, it’s helpful to make preparations and plans to combat the chaos that can ensue during this festive time. To make time for activities you enjoy and to reduce the stress and anxiety we all know can occur during the holidays, here are some ways to make the holiday celebrations more manageable:
Prioritize your tasks. Make a list of things you would like to accomplish, and order them in a way so that important things get done first.
Take breaks. The holidays can be both mentally and physically stressful on the body. Be sure to sit and relax in between tasks, even if just for a few moments.
Think “Potluck!” If you’re hosting the holidays at your residence, have guests bring something. They can bring their favorite dish or dessert to help contribute.
Ask for help. You can ask family members/friends to go shopping, clean, or help with food preparations for the holiday meal to lessen your work load.
Prepare in advance. Some meal preparations can be done ahead of time for a holiday gathering. The week of the holiday, spread out tasks that can be completed beforehand so that on the day of there’s less to do.
Relax and Enjoy! Even though the holidays can be stressful, be sure to take time out to enjoy the festivities and spend quality time with those you care for!
Many of us have taken different modes of transportation throughout our lives. Some of these modes have included various types of trains, trolleys, and subway cars,
all of which have one common purpose: to remain on the tracks provided to get to the desired destination safely. This may be an easier task for these transportation vehicles than trying to stay on track during everyday life. Keeping things organized and staying on course can be difficult with life’s unpredictable moments and events. This can be especially true when dealing with an illness like MS, a disease that proves unpredictable itself. So how does one try to stick to the tracks when life comes by and occasionally swipes you off course?
Here are some ideas on how to stay on track while dealing with life’s roadblocks:
Make lists! Prioritize your responsibilities and tasks so that you can make adjustments if something throws off the day’s expected course.
Write notes or use a tape recorder for the day. This can help you organize and remember things to be done. This can be especially helpful if something else comes up unexpectedly, you have the notes to remind you what needed to be done!
Reach out for resources and support. There may be ways to receive help to keep things in order for your routine. Asking others for help or making sure someone else is aware of your anticipated tasks/goals can aid in keeping things on track.
What are some things you do to try and stay on track?
Let’s face it, life is hectic. It can be messy and chaotic, and that could be just your morning. We live in a world that thrives on fast-paced routines and schedules, so people rarely have time to manage their day to day, let alone trying to manage a chronic illness like MS. Medication and symptom management play a significant role in the course of this disease, so it can be challenging to find time in the day to fit these tasks in along with life’s expectations in general. How does one try to find time to rest, or jot down questions to ask the doctor at the next visit, or to document a new symptom that has come on? There seems to be a limited amount of hours in the day to complete all of these demanding limitless activities.
Here are some tips on how to manage these tasks along with the day to day:
Make time to take breaks. When you have a chance to rest, do so, even if for just a few moments in the day. It may be what you need to give yourself a boost or to take the time to write down a question for the doctor.
Have someone else help you! It’s challenging for some people to ask for help, but if it allows time for you to take care of yourself, ask!
Use the MSAA’s mobile phone application My MS Manager to help keep track of your symptoms and medical records, as well as current MS related news.
Prioritize! Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete all tasks, but your health should be a top priority. Make yourself a list of attainable tasks to perform in a day, and make sure health related tasks come first.
As the calendar reminds us to say goodbye to the summer season and hello to the beginning of fall, it’s a good time to start thinking about what the change of season means to you. Some people see the season change as something to embrace; to take advantage of being outdoors to enjoy the cooler temperatures, or to prepare for upcoming fall festivities and holidays that approach just as quickly as the seasons change. Do you enjoy the cool, leaf laden fall atmosphere? What about the shift from longer days to longer nights?
Children heading back to school and stores stocking up on holiday decorations are just some of the hallmarks that depict the fall season. The sound of leaves crunching under feet; the orange, red and yellow colors that paint the streets and the sight of birds making their way south for the upcoming winter months are some of the scenes that represent this fall solstice. What do you like most about the fall?
Being a caregiver doesn’t always mean having time to take care of yourself, but at times it is exactly what’s needed in order to maintain your own wellbeing. Yes, it may not always fit into your schedule while taking care of others, but it requires some consideration so that you may carry out these other responsibilities. As a caregiver, self-care means having to make time during the busy day to do something for yourself. For some this is difficult to achieve or even fathom, because the person being cared for is your top priority. But, if possible, you may be able to make minor changes or tweaks to a routine that creates the time and space for this much needed self-care. Though caregiving can be unpredictable due to the changing nature of illness, it is important to take advantage of times where you can be taken care of too. Here are some suggestions to find these moments of self-care:
Take rests when they rest.
Eat regularly! Eating meals together can have an added quality time component too.
Venture outside of the home when you can. Running errands, going shopping, or even just taking a brief walk can provide some alone time needed to rejuvenate yourself (To search for respite resources in your area, see the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, http://archrespite.org/home).
Talk! Caregiving can be an overwhelming and emotional journey, so if you have the opportunity to talk or vent about your experiences, do so. If you would like an objective third party to listen who’s not a family member or friend, it may be helpful talking to a counselor/therapist about your experiences in order to safely and effectively express your feelings in this role.
Caregiving is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, determination and commitment. So while you’re busy taking care of others, be sure to remember you, and that sometimes you need care too!
Although the summer season has not officially come to an end, it’s that time of year again that reminds us to try to soak up what’s left of the summer sun. Though it may feel like the height of the summer season is passing, the heat may linger and stay well into September/early October as it has in the past. When this occurs we get to recapture the remnants of summer joys. If you like this season be sure to get out and embrace what’s left, because when you start seeing school supplies and Halloween decorations displayed while browsing in stores you know fall is just around the corner. Although for some the end to summer is a sad occasion, for others, especially those affected by the heat, it is a time well appreciated. So while it is not quite yet the official end of summer, time reminds us that seasons change, so enjoy what this season brings!
For many individuals with MS, the summer can be a difficult time. The heat and humidity may cause MS symptoms to flare and become agitated because of heat affecting one’s body temperature. For some who experience a worsening of symptoms in warm environments, this may actually be an example of a pseudoexacerbation. A pseudoexacerbation is a temporary worsening of MS symptoms, without the presence of actual myelin damage or inflammation. Other than heat, individuals may experience this as a result of other illnesses or infection. It is important to take note and be aware of what symptoms you are experiencing, how long they occur, and your environment surroundings. If you find yourself heat-sensitive, try to avoid warmer settings. Stay in air conditioned places, do outdoor activities either early in the day or after sunset when the temperature is cooler, and wear lighter weight clothing when needed. If you have concerns about or are experiencing new symptoms it is important to be aware of your activity and surroundings, especially during these warm summer months!
Independence Day marks a day of celebration across the country. Parades, beach parties, BBQ’s and firework finales observed with family and friends are just some of the July 4th celebration traditions. The day is surely one to celebrate as it represents patriotism and the celebration of the Declaration of Independence, the symbol of freedom for our Nation. So this July 4th be sure to celebrate safely and remember what the day represents!
Please note that the MSAA will be closed Thursday, July 4th and Friday, July 5th in observance of the Independence Day holiday.
In today’s world, work tends to be one of the main focal points of everyday conversation. What work you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and what work you hope to do in the future become areas of focus. Therefore it can be difficult when some of these conversation starters touch on a subject that’s a little less defined for some people, especially those having challenges in a job position due to a disability.
Employment concerns and issues can arise for all individuals within the workforce, and when you throw a disease like multiple sclerosis into the mix these issues can cause frustration and confusion. Some individuals have difficulties deciding which work arena would be most appropriate for their skill set and abilities, while others question how long they will be able to continue the work they are currently doing. These are all relevant and important questions to consider, as many find themselves faced with these thoughts. What’s important to know is that work issues are something you can discuss with others so you are not faced with these questions alone. Your doctor, healthcare and social work professionals, family, friends and other resources may be able to assist in this process.
There are also other outlets of information and resources where one can possibly find assistance with employment issues. A Vocational Rehabilitation office is a resource throughout each state that is designed to assist those with disabilities on information and resources regarding employment changes. There is also a resource called the Job Accommodation Network, www.askjan.org that can offer information regarding workplace accommodations which can create greater accessibility to those with disabilities in the workplace. If you’re experiencing workplace issues you’re welcome to call the MSAA Helpline at phone (800) 532-7667, ext. 154 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, though employment issues can be challenging and create many difficult questions, there are potential resources to help you along the way.