Spring is here and what better season to enjoy and have some fun. Everything around is fresh and new. How much ever bleak your winter may have been, this season brings a promise of renewed beginnings. Here are some ideas of things to kick off your spring and make the most of this time.
Get back on your exercise regimen. Walking outdoors can improve your heart health and elevate your mood. Being active for some time during the day can strengthen your body and immune system. Ask your friend to join you and make this an enjoyable time that you look forward to in your daily routine.
For those who may have issues walking, grab a chair and enjoy the outdoors. If you own a binoculars, you can keep an eye for bird movement on trees and even catch the squirrels and bunnies chasing each other. You can also set up a bird feeder in your backyard and let the birds fly right in front of you. You can read a book in your backyard or patio while absorbing the sunlight and feeling the gentle breeze.
Plant some seeds. Caring for plants can be a rewarding experience. They help to improve the quality of air around your home. Besides that, it is a joy to see the seeds sprout and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The scent of the lilies, tulips, daffodils, and gladiolas in assorted colors can soothe your senses and refresh your mind.
Declutter your space. To stay on track, make a checklist of tasks that you would like to tackle in the coming days. We tend to accumulate things over the years. Things we don’t often need and things that we can live without. Its time to sort it all. Involve the whole family and let everyone pitch in to do their part. Not only will you be proud of yourself at the end of this accomplishment, but it is also a great opportunity to donate clothes and other household items to those who need it.
It is a wonderful time of the year that is eagerly awaited upon. A greet time to make memories and enjoy new experiences. So get out there and let the magic begin.
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 Gretchen Steele as the May Artist of the Month. Gretchen is from Coulterville, IL.
Generations offer connection with those before us, with us and after us.
When age groups are categorized by generations, it’s interesting to see how birth year and world events influence life circumstances and outlooks. In the United States of America, the generally accepted generations include the Lost Generation, the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z and Gen Alpha. It occurred to me that people with Multiple Sclerosis could also be considered as living in other various generations depending on how old we were at first symptoms and diagnosis, the year we were diagnosed, and the understanding of MS and available treatments during early adulthood.
It was the longest three minutes of my entire life. Tik, tok, tik, tok. I looked at the timer on my phone like I couldn’t peel my eyes off it. My nerves were an all-time high, as I took a deep breath and looked over at the nightstand where the pregnancy test lies. I saw the words “pregnant” on the stick. I have never felt so much joy and excitement while being downright terrified at the same time. I immediately called my husband and told him the news. In all fairness, he told me to wait until he was home from a business trip in California, but I had to take the test that day. We were both ecstatic.
During MS Awareness Month, MSAA has been releasing a variety of programs and resources for the MS community. This year, we focused on the theme “Life with MS: Different Stages of the Journey” with programs related to: Pediatric MS, Young Adults with MS, Family Planning and MS, and Aging Well with MS. These topics explore the journey of the MS community and their life with MS from diagnosis and throughout their journeys.
Family planning is an important aspect for people with MS, as hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum can impact the course of the disease. It is crucial for individuals with MS to discuss their family planning options with their neurologist and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and MSAA is excited to present four full weeks of valuable and inspiring resources, programs, and strategies for all ages! We are dedicated to spreading awareness, education, and support to individuals, families, and care partners in the MS community, and this month is no different. Our MS Awareness Month initiatives focus on “Life with MS: Different Stages of the Journey” andinclude a multitude of programs that address MS management in all life stages.
An estimated 2.8 million people worldwide are living with Multiple Sclerosis, and some choose to use social media. They share their experiences, and they allow us to see their vulnerability for the betterment of all. Social media can be cold and hurtful, yet it can bring us community and kinship. It’s an individual decision to participate or avoid it. It’s scary and risky to put ourselves out there, and we need to support those who are willing to share.
I’m grateful for individuals living and speaking their truth. Some have been sharing for decades, and some are just starting. I’m heartened by commenters who support with compassion and scroll past when things don’t speak to them. I’m inspired by so many who cheerlead and model respectful interactions with exceedingly tough topics. I hope we can hang on to the benefits of social media and lose the hurt it can cause. We need to protect our vulnerable peers, and I hope we can do this with compassion. We are better for the myriad of voices and experiences. Suffering alone is misery. Knowing we aren’t alone helps us get through the tough stuff.
Motivation is a gift that many people overlook. When motivation is lost, the momentum once encompassed to achieve your goals and accomplishments typically decreases. Loss of motivation and momentum can easily be viewed as laziness or lack of desire to truly go after what you want; however, it is much easier to judge from the outside looking in.
Remaining motivated to complete the goals you have set for yourself, even daily tasks, can be daunting when factors out of your control come into play. Having an impairment or sickness can take a toll like no other – one that can make you feel scared, unmotivated, and alone. It can feel like the universe is out to get you. As someone with an autoimmune disorder, experiencing flare-ups with my health can affect every aspect of my life. It becomes an impairment physically, mentally, and emotionally – making completing tasks and remaining motivated nearly impossible some days.
When my disorder gets the best of me, I tend to remind myself of three things:
It is not only okay to take time to rest – it is necessary. Your body cannot do its best if it is in “Go” mode all the time. If your body needs time to recover, listen to it and respect that. You may find that taking time off will benefit your mind and body in an impactful way.
Doing your best looks different every day.Completing day-to-day tasks, regardless of how minor, are still accomplishments. It is unrealistic to always tackle the world.
Your weaknesses are your strengths. Nobody knows what it takes to be you, and that is your greatest superpower. Your ability to push through even your toughest of days is admirable and inspiring. Be proud of yourself.
Rather than judging the positions of others, praise those who are consistently putting in effort despite their circumstances. Be kind – you do not know everyone’s story. And lastly, please remember to eat, drink water, take care of yourself, and do your best – whatever that may look like today. Keep your support system close and remember that asking for help does not make you weak, it makes you resourceful.