By Diana Cruz
I’m someone you would call an “extroverted introvert,” or as Google so kindly put it, an ambivert. Spending time with my family and friends, and even getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, brings me excitement and a sense of fulfillment. Yet, I’ve noticed that these feelings only bring me a positive experience when there is also a balance of “me time.” I’ve found that time alone to prepare prior to an event, as well as afterward to recharge is ideal, personally. However, as someone who comes from a big Dominican family, finding this time alone can sometimes be difficult, especially during the holidays.
As we continue to pass through the summer months and find ourselves looking towards a change of season (hopefully soon!), there’s still some time for fun to be had during the remainder of the summer. At times it can be difficult to try to make plans or schedule activities if the uninvited MS decides to rear its head and join in. But there are some last minute ways to try and enjoy the rest of the season, without having to make elaborate plans that MS will try to outdo.
There are times when heat-excessive summer days call for indoor activities, so why not have a game day/night? Getting back to a time where playing board games and cards was all the rage can be fun and nostalgic, and a good way to find some last minute amusement with friends or family. And keeping with the indoor theme, how about a movie night? Gathering together to watch a good flick, even if coordinated last minute, can be relaxing and entertaining. Orchestrating a last minute trip to the movies or visiting a museum or aquarium can also be some fun activities that may not require excessive planning but an opportunity to enjoy events of the season.
Check with community offices and message boards in your area to find some local events being held during the rest of the summer. Concerts, festivals, shows and exhibitions are just some of the local activities your community may offer that you can take advantage of last minute. Sometimes trying to take part in an activity that’s more spur of the moment and last minute can work to your benefit, especially if it catches MS off guard and doesn’t give it the opportunity to invite itself!
Being halfway through July we can surely say the summer season is in full swing, and for those with MS it’s no secret that the heat and humidity of the season can be a real downer at times. MS heat sensitivity can result in aggravated or worsened MS symptoms and help to contribute to an overall disliking of the summer months. This can be disheartening because many individuals enjoy this time of year, with outdoor activities and events that beckon and get-togethers that warrant much time outside—shame on MS for trying to corrupt this. But there are things that can be done to try and overcome the cruel intentions MS may have during this time of year, and some may already find themselves doing them.
- It might be tricky at times, but when you can, get outdoors when the temperature is more manageable. Going outside earlier or later in the day/night can help you avoid the hotter temps throughout the day.
- When possible, engage in activities that are in cooler/air conditioned places. If you have to be outside, try to take breaks in shaded areas or indoors when you can.
- Wear cooling products like neck wraps or vests that can help to reduce heat sensitivity issues and keep your body temperature down.
- If you’re not in the mood to travel or go out due to the heat, have friends or family come to you for a visit.
- Explain MS and heat sensitivity issues to those close to you so they have an understanding of what you’re experiencing and why there may be some limitations during this time of year.
- Try to stay actively engaged in the activities and events you enjoy during these summer months. Adjusting the timing or setting of your interests or finding new things to participate in can help to combat the heat factors.
There’s a line you can draw with MS when it comes to your likes and interests. If you enjoy the summer season take part in things you’re able to or try new experiences, and let MS sizzle by itself under the summer sun.
Boy oh boy, what a winter we’ve had this year! There wasn’t a part of the country that didn’t experience some effect of this peculiar and extraordinary season – whether it was ice, snow, freezing rain or just downright frigid temperatures, we’ve all had a taste of the season! I think at this point spring will be a welcomed phase of the year – even though that means some sweltering summer temps are right behind it. But until then, why not take advantage of the weather change (whenever it does occur), and do some things to enjoy the season?
Spring is a great time to get back outdoors after winter’s hibernation; no matter what type of activity, just breathing in some fresh outdoor air can awaken the senses. Traveling, gardening, walking, exercising, riding or sitting outside are all ventures that can be explored during this period. Spring is a good time to clean things out and get organized – to throw away the old and make room for the new in order to help you keep track of what’s needed.
Explore opportunities within your community – there may be different events and activities occurring during spring that you can participate in. It may also help to talk with your doctor about different activities you can do to help with any MS symptom management issues or finding a task that is appropriate for your needs. Every individual has their own preferences and favorite things they enjoy, so the arrival of spring provides a chance to do something new and start the season with novel hope and promise.
What will you do this spring?
“To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift.”
– Franklin Roosevelt
“The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
I remember when I was young and in school, there were always opportunities to get involved in something. Whether it was a sport or club, kids signed up to do almost anything, sometimes to get out of class, or just because it was a way to become a part of something outside of themselves. School was the entity that brought opportunities (although sometimes these were mandatory) for us to do good deeds; community service projects or some type of fundraiser to get involved with. I remember one year in school we had to go out Christmas caroling for canned goods, and though we couldn’t really hold a note, we actually collected a lot of cans! I was young but I still remember feeling good that we were able to accomplish something. But when we grow up and school is no longer the governing body that presents the opportunities to get involved, how can we still be a part of something greater than ourselves?
Nowadays there are so many ways for people to get involved. There are fundraisers, programs, events and activities for so many causes that allow people to be exposed to ways in which they can become a part of something bigger. I realize that sometimes there is hardly enough time in the day to accomplish what you set out to do, but why not become involved in something that isn’t expected? Do something that differs from your normal day to day routine and you have the opportunity to experience the sense of being part of something greater just by getting involved…