Embracing Self-Care in the New Year

As we step into a new year, it’s essential to set intentions that prioritize our own well-being and personal growth. Focusing on yourself doesn’t mean being selfish; it means recognizing the importance of self-care and nurturing your own mental, emotional and physical health. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you invest in the journey of self-care in the new year.

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Value yourself

A new year means new beginnings and promises new hope.  We all get 365 opportunities to improve our lives this year, so set out with renewed spirits and minds and see how the journey unfolds for you. Try not to get overwhelmed trying to plan everything for the year. Set achievable goals and take small steps at a time. I am sharing some pointers that I remind myself often so that I stay grounded in the present and hopeful for the future:

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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

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Katy Maiolatesi – January 2024 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 Katy Maiolatesi as the January Artist of the Month. Katy is from Lansing, MI.

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Ask the Expert – Spasticity

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD 

MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer  

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

Question: Does spasticity in MS ever improve on its own and what are the best treatments for this symptom? 

Answer: First, it may help to define spasticity in simple terms. Spasticity is an increase in muscle tone due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory influences on nerve flow along the motor pathways of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain and disability. Activities of daily living, quality of life, upper extremity function, and gait, can all be affected. 

As with all MS symptomatology, spasticity can vary in intensity. It can improve or worsen, depending upon MS relapses, progression, or outside influences – including events, such as urinary tract infections. Fortunately, many interventions can help to reduce spasticity and improve comfort and function. 

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Embrace the Magic

‘Tis the season to savor moments, embrace traditions, and create lasting memories with loved ones. Explore festive activities, delve into cherished recipes, and discover the magic that makes the holidays truly special. From thoughtful gift ideas to mindful self-practices, there are many ways to maximize the joy and warmth of the holiday season.

Festive Traditions: Dive into the magic of the season by revisiting or creating new traditions. Whether it’s decorating the tree together, baking festive treats, or watching classic holiday movies, traditions strengthen the bonds of family and friends.

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ABC’s Of Holidays

Holidays are so important because they are times when we can take a break from life’s regular hustle and bustle. During these times, we must abandon our usual routines and do something out of the ordinary. It is the best time of the year to indulge in laughter, fun, and delicious treats. Amid all the good things that come with holidays, here are the ABCs of holidays that are reminders for me to value life and not take things for granted.

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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.

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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.

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Making the Most Is Not Doing the Most

The holidays can be a busy and stressful time for most of us. The list includes holiday parties, hosting guests, shopping, gift wrapping, traveling, and cooking. Especially when you have young children, you’re expected to deliver the magic of Christmas with every chance you get. Through my journey living with MS, since I was a young adult, I have learned that doing the most during the holidays is not making the most of the holidays. I have since limited my holiday commitments and traveling to a minimum. This does not mean that I don’t enjoy and love the season; instead, it means I make it manageable, which makes it all the more enjoyable for me.  

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