Hopes and Goals for the New Year

With each new year, many people set goals and intentions for the best possible future.

Thinking about the new year means a lot of different things to people in the multiple sclerosis (MS) community.

To learn more about this, we reached out on the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page. We asked, “What is your biggest hope for your multiple sclerosis journey in 2023?”

The question received more than 300 comments. Here are the themes that emerged.

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Production Levels May Vary

By: Diana Cruz

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.

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Slow But Steady Wins the Race

February has arrived, and we are one month into our new year’s resolution journey. Let’s face it, it can be difficult to keep the motivation we once had. While I had the best intentions to get up every morning and go for a walk, some days I didn’t feel like changing out of my pajamas, and that is okay.

The momentum that developed in January suddenly started slowing down as the month passed. While I started my new year’s resolution in full force, I have noticed my motivation fluctuating as of late. Surely, I’m not alone. Many of us have experienced our motivation decline as the year goes by. It’s not uncommon to lose track of our original goal and slowly fall back into old habits. What can we do when this happens? And how can we retain that excitement and focus we once had?

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Your Best Year

By: Doug Ankerman

2022 is over and you are already ankle-deep in 2023.  What will this new year bring?  No one knows for sure.  But I believe you can give yourself an edge for the better with a few small, but subtle changes.  Here are some ways to start…

  • Stretching before bedtime eases a jittery body.
  • Drink drink drink water.
  • MS is relentless.  Be relentless right back.
  • Do what you can to improve what you have.
  • Slip-on shoes are wonderful.
  • Read out loud to strengthen your voice.  (Keep your belly tight)
  • Waggle your fingers.  Wiggle your toes.
  • Forget the music.  MRI-time is nap-time.
  • Take lukewarm showers.
  • Get as much done when your energy is highest.  (Mornings for me)
  • Invite no one to your pity party.
  • Move what you can as much as you can.  Then do it again.
  • Routines may be boring but are essential with MS.
  • Staying hydrated eases constipation & muscle spasms.
  • Clean out the damn rollator basket.
  • Wall-walking is a talent.
  • Focus on what you CAN do.  Not what you CAN’T.
  • Exercise/movement burns energy-but gives back so much more.
  • Big handle silverware is cool.
  • Breathe deeply.  In through the nose.  Out through the mouth.
  • A clear pee is a good pee.
  • Crawling is not just for babies (and is good exercise).
  • Take meds at the same time every day.
  • There is no magic pill, shot or infusion.  You gotta work it too.
  • Leaving yourself a note/list eases your mind.
  • Be inventive.  Use what you have to scratch your back.
  • Put your stuff away in the same place so you can find it.
  • You don’t need a gym.  Just roll around on the floor for a workout.
  • When will this list ever end?
  • Pull-over tops are easy AND fashionable.
  • Move it, use it or lose it.

And finally, MS never stops. Neither should you.

Well, I hope this helps.  Here’s to your best in 2023!

Doug writes silly stuff about MS and other topics on his humor blog at myoddsock.com

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Carmella Certion – February Artist of the Month

MSAA’s Artist of the Month 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 Carmella Certion as February’s Artist of the Month. Carmella is from Philadelphia, PA.

Reine du Carnaval by Carmella Certion
“Reine du Carnaval”

About the Artist – Carmella Certion

I am an artist, gerontologist, and marriage and family therapist currently living with MS. It all began with a simple painting of a cat for my granddaughter’s room, after I gave it a mini-makeover last summer during the pandemic. I mostly paint abstracts, land, and cityscapes and I’ve only taken one class. My studio is located in my Philadelphia, PA bedroom where I mostly paint in bed due to a plethora of health challenges. I find painting relaxing and it also helps ward off depression and anxiety, which I suffer from periodically. I love to use bright colors, geometric shapes and texture in my work and my philosophy is simple: Art should be fun!”

To see more about Carmella and the rest of our artists, please visit our Art Showcase.

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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!!

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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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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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Where did the sunshine go?

Big tree and leaves signifying that Fall has arrived, reflecting the title of this blog "Where did the sunshine go?"

Fall has arrived, and it brings many beautiful changes. The cooler weather is typically a welcomed change, comfort food is readily available, and trees change their color to all sorts of gorgeous shades of red, orange, and brown. I personally love the pumpkin overload and watching the rain while sipping on a cup of coffee, but many others find this time to be the cause of sadness, anxiety, and even dread. For many, this drastic change in weather and the holiday season can mean unwelcomed feelings and a need to be extra gentle with ourselves.

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