About Claudia Chavez

My name is Claudia Chavez, and I am a Manager of Mission Delivery at MSAA. I am bilingual in English and Spanish and hold an Associate of Arts in psychology, a Bachelor of Social Work, and a Master of Social Work. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, and I spend a lot of my free time rescuing and helping animals in my community. I take pride in making a positive impact with the work that I do, and helping others brings me joy.

Vision Boards: A Tool for Personal Development

Focusing on personal growth is often the theme of the new year. It involves identifying those areas of our lives that we would like to improve and dedicating time and effort to make those changes happen. Investing in ourselves can be challenging. How many of us have established a goal only to lose motivation or traction halfway through the year? Investing in ourselves is an ongoing effort worth committing to for personal and professional reasons. A vision board is one of the tools you can use to visualize your goals and find motivation to invest in your well-being in 2024.

Continue reading
Share Button

Investing in Yourself for the New Year

2024 is here and with that, you may be thinking about what New Years resolutions can you tackle. Some ideas may be “to get out more,” “be better with spending,” or “get healthier.” While all of these are great places to start, it can be easy to get carried away and then feel disappointed your resolutions were short-lived. Here are some tips to make the most of the New Year and still achieve your goals!

  1. Pick one goal you want to focus on – Prioritize what is most important to you and maybe your other goals will start to fall into place as well.
  2. Start small – Ask yourself, is this goal realistic or attainable?
  3. Take Baby Steps – For example, if your resolution is to “Exercise more” don’t be too ambitious and start with “I will work out 4 times a week!” Although you may have that burst of motivation, it may sizzle out faster. Instead, try “I will walk one day this week.” If you do more, then great!
  4. Be Kind To Yourself – We are human and life happens unexpectedly. Remember that it is okay to adjust or reroute plans. If there is a day that is hard and you don’t feel motivated – which there will be those days, start back with baby steps and try again!

Be sure to take some time to reflect on the progress you have already made from last year to where you are now. Remind yourself every day to choose positivity and optimism as you invest in yourself this year!

Written by Alexa Moreno, LMSW

Share Button

Celebrando el éxito y la alegría de la temporada: reflexionando sobre los logros a pesar de los desafíos

Para la mayoría de nosotros reflexionar sobre nuestros logros es algo que no hacemos con tanta frecuencia. El ajetreo de la temporada navideña, el trabajo, la familia y otras responsabilidades suelen tomar el control. ¿Alguna vez te has sentido como si estuvieras viviendo de forma automática? Yo sí. A veces, me dejo llevar tanto por mi rutina, que pierdo la noción de todo lo que he logrado durante el año. Se siente como si parpadeara y, de repente, es diciembre y ha pasado otro año. En estas fiestas, quiero reflexionar sobre los logros y los momentos alegres que tuve en el 2023.

Continue reading
Share Button

Celebrating Success and Seasonal Joy: Reflecting on Achievements Despite the Challenges

Reflecting on our achievements does not come naturally for most of us. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season, work, family, and other responsibilities typically take over. Have you ever felt like you were living on autopilot? I have. Sometimes, I get so caught up in my routine that I lose track of all I have accomplished during the year. It feels like I blinked, and suddenly, it is December, and another year has passed by. This holiday season, I want to reflect on the achievements and joyous moments I had in 2023.

Continue reading
Share Button

Priorizando nuestro bienestar durante la época festiva

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
Share Button

Embracing Wellness While Navigating the Holiday Season

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.

Share Button

Resilience Is Your Superpower

MS is debilitating and relentless, wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds. It is frequently a diagnosis that causes fear, confusion, and discomfort in so many ways. The first thing that I think of when I speak with a person with MS is the word resilience.

If there is one thing I have learned about people with MS, it is that they are resilient. They have learned to withstand difficulties and adapt to situations that many are unaware of. The courage those with MS show every day leaves me baffled. It takes strength to deal with the physical and “invisible” symptoms of MS, and educating ourselves and those around us about this disease is just as powerful. The MS journey is one of ups and downs, trial and error, and acceptance.

Continue reading
Share Button

Today Is the Best Day to Learn Something New

Here we go! Another school year has arrived with endless possibilities and great potential. Whether you have little ones that are starting a new school year, or you are attending school yourself, adjusting to the new schedule can be challenging. Starting a new school year can be stressful, but it can be exciting as well.

Continue reading
Share Button

Prepare, don’t despair

Emergencies are sudden and uncontrollable. They can’t always be prevented, but having a plan to tackle them head-on can make a difference in the outcome. It is easy to forget the most well-known information in times of crisis. There are many ways to prepare for an unexpected situation, and creating a plan that is tailored to your specific needs is crucial. Let’s talk about different ways to prepare.

Keeping our medical records easily accessible in case of an emergency is vital but carrying them all the time can be impractical. The Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center offers customized Multiple Sclerosis Identification Cards to individuals living with MS nationally. This card lists vital information, including the individual’s name, address, and emergency contact on one side and common MS symptoms on the back. This card may be useful in an emergency, as it can easily be stored in your wallet, your car, or your luggage and accessed in case of an emergency.

Keeping your emergency contact information at hand can also be done using your phone. You can set an emergency contact and list medical conditions through the Medical ID feature on your iPhone. This can help first responders access lifesaving medical information from the lock screen without needing your passcode. There are also options for other smartphones, such as Android.

For those of us with children, pets, and other loved ones we care for, an emergency can disrupt our schedules and impact those we love. Having a plan can ensure that they are taken care of while we are taking care of ourselves. Keep a record of your children’s school, teachers, extracurricular activities, and schedules. Provide a key to a trusted friend or relative to access your home if needed. Have the necessary supplies for your pets for a couple of weeks and make them easily accessible for friends and family who may be helping care for them.

Keep a packed bag with your essentials if you leave your home rapidly and unexpectedly. Keeping a sealed bag with a change of clothes, medication, and personal supplies may come in handy if you don’t have time to pack or your loved one needs to meet you at the hospital. I like including a comfort item that can bring me peace and comfort at a time of crisis, like a picture of a loved one or a small stuffed animal that has sentimental meaning.

For those who may need additional support at home, a medical alert system may provide the necessary protection to ensure someone responds in case of an emergency. These systems allow an individual to activate a device or press a button in the event of an emergency, and they are especially beneficial for those who live alone or have mobility difficulties.

Emergency planning is all about preparing for and responding to emergencies. Communicating with our loved ones about our needs and discussing their availability and willingness to help is vital to creating a reliable plan. Unexpected situations can be scary, but emergency preparedness can provide peace of mind knowing there is a plan for you and your loved ones.

Share Button

Plan, Prepare, and Enjoy the Trip!

Are you planning a trip soon? Sure, getting to the destination is beautiful and all but what about all the planning that goes into the trip? Between the research, packing, reservations, and cost, traveling can be exhausting.  Nothing beats an amazing vacation, but how do we make sure we are prepared for it all?

If you are anything like me, you will most definitely forget to pack something (and end up looking like a tornado tossing around the luggage to find it). Traveling with MS can be easy when you are prepared and have a contingency plan.

Here are some tips that can make your trip run as smoothly as possible.

  • Depending on your destination and needs, it may be a great idea to request a doctor’s note listing your medications and any specific medical needs you need accommodations for.
  • Bring the necessary storage devices, such as a cooler for injections, a needle clipping device, and storage must-haves.
  • Consider your medication dates if you take a DMT. For example, work around your infusion date.
  • Call the hotel in advance to verify the hotel has a refrigerator in the hotel room, or request a refrigerator for your room if you have medication that requires refrigeration.
  • Bring a list of your providers’ contact information just in case.
  • Bring extra medication in case you accidentally misplace it or damage it.
  • If you are traveling by air, you may contact the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for additional information and to familiarize yourself with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) that protects against discrimination.
  • Find MS support when traveling abroad by visiting the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation directory.

Knowing what to expect when traveling can ease your worries. Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t have to weigh you down. Don’t let anything stop you from taking that dream vacation you have always wanted. Plan, prepare, and enjoy the trip!

Share Button