Self-Care in the New Year

As the New Year approaches, setting resolutions becomes a common topic in everyday conversation. Making drastic, transformative resolutions can cause us to feel overwhelmed at the start of a new year. Instead, focusing on self-care and making small changes in our routine can lead to big changes down the road.  Setting smaller goals have a higher chance of being successful – and more satisfying – than striving for larger and more challenging goals. Making small changes in your daily routine can help enhance your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Here are a few goals for the new year that would help support self-care practices:

Prioritize Sleep

Quality sleep is the foundation of a self-care routine and will set you up for success for the remainder of your day. You will naturally feel more energized and awake and ready to conquer your day. If you struggle with getting a good nights rest, start with getting into bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Once you’ve accomplished that, try other remedies that will enhance your sleep. Such as, limiting screen time before bed, decreasing any lighting and creating a quiet and calming environment.

Take a Break from Social Media

We’ve all been there… mindlessly scrolling through our phones and not knowing 30 minutes just passed. Spending extending time on social media can distract us from being present in the moment. Allow yourself time limits on your phone, or put your phone in a different room so you’re not tempted to reach for it. Being present in daily life leads to an increase in mental well-being, as well as social connectedness.

Spend time Outside

Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders on the mind, body and soul. Spending time outside can be a great way to break up the monotony of a work day, or a day spent inside. Making the self-care goal to spend time outside can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as eating lunch outside one day a week, sitting outside, taking a short walk, or planning a hike once a month.

Declutter and Organize your Space

Clutter in your living space can increase feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. Your living space is an area where you should feel comfortable and at ease. Make smaller strides to de-clutter your space. For example, choose a drawer or cabinet to organize each week, or set a monthly goal to organize your clothes, books, or dishes and donate whatever you no longer need.

Practicing these self-care tips are just a few ways to enhance your routine, as well as your well-being. Make sure your goals focus on ways to realistically support your happiness, without any added pressures to reach a certain level of achievement. Most importantly, your self-care goals should be enjoyable and add value to your daily life!

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A New Beginning

The new year brings forth hope for the future. It motivates us to start the year with renewed zeal and enthusiasm. It is time to make resolutions and prepare for the exciting adventures and challenges ahead. While focusing on the resolutions, it is important that we set realistic expectations and remember to be kind to yourself while trying to achieve something.

While we are focused on achieving our goals, we need to remind ourselves to be grateful. It is easy for us to take things for granted when they come by so easily. We need to practice gratitude for the littlest of things so that we learn to value, nurture, and cherish them. It is when we learn to appreciate the little joys that life becomes more purposeful.

At the end of the day, what matters most is how content we feel inside and how much of a positive change we can bring to someone. While reflecting on the memories, I look in anticipation to see how this year will unfold. Who knows what surprises 2023 might bring your way.

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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.

Every January, most of us ask ourselves and those around us, “What is your new year’s resolution?” But why is this a thing? Is this simply a tradition, or is January truly the ideal time to establish goals for the rest of the year?

New Year’s Day serves as a clean slate. It is such a popular time of year to evaluate our goals because it represents a reset button, a fresh start that has the potential for greatness. My personal new year’s anthem is the song Feeling Good by Nina Simone. Regardless of the intended meaning of this song, the lyrics speak to me around this time of year.

“It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life, for me

And I’m feeling good”

January is such a significant time because we perceive it as an opportunity for a second chance. By making a resolution, we focus our attention on personal growth and the improvement of our lives. Whether we meet the goal or not, resolutions can help identify those areas in our lives that we would like to improve. The goal, ultimately, is to acknowledge those aspects of our lives we are not fully content with and shift our focus to self-improvement.

Making goals that are attainable can help prevent feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of it all. I use the S.M.A.R.T. goal method to focus on my intentions and stay on track. The S.M.A.R.T. goal method is tried and true. It can help focus your intentions on realistic goals and track your progress. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific: Having a clear idea of what the goal is.
  • Measurable: Having a way to measure progress and the completion of the goal.
  • Achievable: Having a goal that is achievable based on your personal abilities.
  • Realistic: Having a goal that is practical and easily implemented in real life.
  • Time-bound: Having a timeframe for meeting the goal and documenting the progress.

Whether you make a new year’s resolution, establish a goal, or just skip the tradition this year, enjoy the fresh start the new year offers. Be flexible with yourself and know that something simple like reflecting on your aspirations can be greatly beneficial. Considering your priorities is a great start.

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Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Happy New Year!  Here is a delicious healthy side dish to make with any meal.  Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese is a favorite in my house. You can make it as crispy as you like. I like to add the extra breadcrumbs on top to fill in all the little spaces in the broccoli.  Yum!!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups broccoli cut into chunky florets
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl add breadcrumbs.
  4. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder into the breadcrumbs.
  5. Wash and drain out as much water as you could from the broccoli florets.
  6. Place in a mixing bowl with olive oil, toss to coat.
  7. Add half of the breadcrumbs mix into the broccoli bowl.
  8. Spread broccoli coated breadcrumb mixture onto the baking sheet.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs onto the baking sheet to cover broccoli.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.  Edges will look brown in color.
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Looking at the Lighter Side of the New Year

By Susan Courtney

So here we are in mid-January… long past New Year countdowns and the making (and breaking) of resolutions. Although it is different for me now, when I was younger, New Year’s was the grand finale to 365 days, worthy of much celebration.  

I can still remember my first and only formal New Year’s party held in a glamourous ballroom. My husband and I were in our 20s and completely inexperienced with swanky affairs. Soon after arriving, I proudly stood in my evening gown alongside my husband in his borrowed tux as he uncorked the first bottle of champagne at our table. I can still see the cork shooting from the bottle and hitting the woman on the other side of our table smack-dab in the center of her forehead. Fortunately, my New Year celebrations are much quieter now – and much safer for those around me! 

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Tracking Symptoms and Treatments with Compassion and Encouragement

By Stacie Prada 

With each new year, I think about what’s ahead, what I can control, and what will make the next 12 months fulfilling for me.  Instead of pushing myself to do more or be better, my approach this year for health management is to track what helps me manage my health with methods that are easy to use and visually informative.  

Knowing what my body needs is an ever-changing puzzle, and tracking provides clues for what could be the cause or remedy for things contributing to health challenges. Add aging and menopause to living with Multiple Sclerosis, and knowing how to best manage my changing body is not easy.  

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New Year, Same MS

For most, the new year comes with excitement of what’s to come. For those of us who battle MS, the new year comes with its fair share of worries, challenges and anxious thoughts of what the new year may bring. We reflect on our past year, perhaps your MS got worse, and you’re worried it won’t get any better, or maybe you are finally considered “stable”, and you’re concerned it is too good to be true and you will get worse. However you choose to look at the new year, we all worry one way or another. I am here to tell you that you are not alone.  

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There is No Timeline for Taking Care of Yourself

By Diana Cruz

It’s the start of a new year; a fresh new calendar with 12 empty months waiting to be filled with the dates of all your dream vacations and the goals that are itching to be accomplished. Although it is a great time to kick start your journey of new beginnings and aspirations, it is not necessary to associate the new year with restarting.  

If you are in the midst of figuring out what you want out of life, it is okay to take your time in continuing to do so. Enjoying the journey of trial and error is what allows for a more positive experience and long-lasting results. I encourage you to take your time in pursuing your dreams and being patient in figuring out what that looks like for you.  

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Hope Angel – January 2023 Artist of the Month

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 Hope Angel as the January Artist of the Month. Hope is from Seattle, WA.

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Ask the Expert– Visual Problems

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD
MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: What types of treatments and strategies are available to help someone with MS who suddenly develops visual problems? 

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