MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Barbara Patrick as the December Artist of the Month. Barbara is from Coulterville, CA.
By Stacie Prada
Each year I approach the holiday season with excitedly high hopes and an underlying worry for the season’s demands. I know I need to be even more attentive to my health than usual to best navigate the next couple of months. Yet most years I put commitments and other people ahead of my needs. It leads to overwhelm and exacerbates my MS fatigue.
Self-care is an individual decision and responsibility, and it’s within our control. So, what makes it so hard? Often, it’s the abundant needs of family, friends, profession, and self-imposed expectations competing with limited time, money, and energy to meet those needs. The demands of us and by us can be more than humanly possible to meet. So where do we draw the line?Continue reading
Ahh…the holiday season! With its dazzling lights and festive cheer, the holidays can often bring a whirlwind of activities and expectations. Although it’s a joyous season, it can also bring forth chaos and stress. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and ensure a harmonious and fulfilling celebration. Here are a few strategies to help you navigate the holiday season while keeping your well-being at the forefront:Continue reading
With the holidays just around the corner, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed. We tend to prioritize everyone else’s needs and neglect our own. For those battling MS, the daily challenges can wear you down and take a toll on you. You might feel fatigued and have no energy to indulge in any activity. That’s why self-care is so important. Without ample rest and relaxation, you will feel burnt out. There is no perfect formula for self-care, but doing things that help you rejuvenate and heal is the key. Here are some activities you can do to indulge in self-care and make your holiday season more fun and livelier:Continue reading
La época festiva puede ser abrumante. Aunque disfruto de comprar, cocinar, decorar y pasar tiempo con mis seres queridos, esto puede dejarme agotada y exhausta. La temporada festiva representa alegría y celebración, pero la vida tiene una forma de desafiar nuestros planes e intenciones. Cuidarnos es fundamental para disfrutar al máximo de esta temporada.Continue reading
The holiday season can be overwhelming. While I enjoy shopping, cooking, decorating, and spending time with loved ones, it can leave me drained and exhausted. The holiday season represents joy and celebration, but life has a way of challenging our plans and intentions. Taking care of ourselves is integral to enjoying this season to the fullest.
Holidays have a significant impact on our lives. Every year, I remind myself to be mindful of my spending. I get so caught up in gift exchanges and not-so-necessary decorations that I lose track of what is truly important. A present is lovely, but the gift of our presence and undivided attention is unmatched. Spending time with loved ones and being present in the moment is priceless. I must remind myself to put the phone down, set aside my worries for another day, and focus on being fully present. If a gift exchange is essential and you have a large family, we can always give a personalized homemade card or a small trinket that symbolizes your appreciation. Seasonal sales are great but be mindful of impulsive spending. Knowing our financial limits and respecting those boundaries is part of our well-being. It allows us to prioritize our expenses and financial goals.
Social expectations can be a source of stress during the holidays. We may feel pressured to participate in events or activities that do not align with our current emotional or physical wellness. I allow myself to leave social events early, take breaks, or excuse myself from them as needed. Your loved ones may be more understanding of your limits than you think. Share your feelings with them, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Sometimes, it’s essential to know the food or seating options at the event, or it may be essential to know who may attend the gathering if it contributes to an unhealthy dynamic. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and follow through with them.
For those who experience loneliness or grief during the holiday season, know that you are not alone. The absence of people or any loss in your life can be difficult this time of year. Whatever the cause of our grief is, know that it is okay to acknowledge and express it. One way to deal with these feelings is to rethink our expectations and be flexible with ourselves. These feelings are entirely valid. Seek support from friends, family, and professionals, and practice acceptance. My MSAA Community Online Forum offers a free peer-to-peer online forum for individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners to share information and their experiences with multiple sclerosis. Building connections and finding support this holiday season can be done in various ways.
Self-care has become an essential component of well-being during the holiday season. I have learned that prioritizing my needs and preferences does not have to be an added task on my to-do list. I can make small changes that have a significant impact on my health.
Some aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS), such as muscle spasms and fatigue, are talked about often. However other symptoms are not commonly discussed.
To find out more about the people who experience those symptoms, we reached out to the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook community. We asked, “What are the MS symptoms that no one ever talks about?”
The community was inspired by this topic – nearly 200 community members responded! Here are some of the lesser-known symptoms they shared.Continue reading
Bubble baths, massages, shopping. These are just a few things that initially come to mind when I think of self-care. Self-care is often glamorized, focusing on the external material aspects that constitute treating oneself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of all of these aspects, and I love a good shopping spree every now and then. But these aspects are just on the surface of what it really means to care for yourself.
Self-care isn’t always as luxurious as it sounds or looks on movie screens. Taking care of oneself requires dedication and discipline. I’ve found that self-care is uncovering the ugliest parts of yourself. Really getting to the root of who you are as a person, how you react to specific situations, and how you grow as an individual are just a few life-changing processes that I truly consider caring for yourself. But where does this process even begin? Visualizing the person you want to be and showing up as them every day, regardless of your current circumstances, is just one method. Much like the classic saying, “Fake it till you make it,” you are only as good as your mindset. By acting as if you are already where you want to be in life, the rest will surely catch up in due time.Continue reading
While we honor the important role of care partners throughout the year, November is an extraordinary month as we recognize National Family Caregiver’s Month. MS is unpredictable, and having a loved one diagnosed with it can be scary and overwhelming. MS symptoms may greatly vary from individual to individual. An individual with MS may need help with daily activities and these challenges might get more complex over time. Being a care partner requires a lot of patience, understanding, empathy, and flexibility. Here are some things to keep in mind as you provide care to an individual with MS:Continue reading
MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Steven Kaiser as the November Artist of the Month. Steven is from Greensboro, NC.Continue reading