Priority Number One: You

At the beginning of a new year, many people make resolutions for ways to make this calendar year better than the last one.  Some of the most common resolutions made at the beginning of the year include: dieting, exercising more, learning to budget money better, spending more time with friends and family, and learning a new language.  One resolution you might consider is learning to prioritize your own wants and needs, especially when it comes to living with MS.

It can feel selfish to focus on yourself and your own needs, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. We are able to give more of ourselves to the people and things we care about when we have first taken care of our own bodies and wellbeing.

Living with a chronic health condition like multiple sclerosis can force you to become better attuned to your body’s needs as the severity of your symptoms change.  Each person knows their body better than anyone, and knows their limitations (whether we choose to acknowledge them or not).  If you feel you need time and space to focus on a particular physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual need this year, make the time to do so.  Family, friends, hobbies, work, social life – they are all important, but so is your overall health and wellbeing.

This year, challenge yourself to create a new habit – choose at least one activity a day that helps you focus on self-care (and let us know in the comments how you are doing it)!

For more information and strategies for overall wellness this year, check out MSAA’s Overall Wellness section on their website.

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New Year, New Beginning

As it turned midnight on January 1st of 2018, I think a lot of people, including myself, held hopes that this new year would bring with it more optimism and hope, especially more so than its previous 2017 counterpart which brought controversy and devastation throughout the year. Entering a new year can mean new beginnings for things and more possibilities, but most importantly, a chance to reassess what your needs are and how to fulfill them. For some this may be physical needs as it relates to the body and addressing medical issues or concerns. For others this may mean focusing on emotional or spiritual needs and how this influences day to day and self-care. No matter what the needs look like, the beginning of a new year represents another fresh start to prioritize things and to take care of you.

It’s not always easy to do this with the chaos each day can bring, but that’s why you prioritize, so certain things take precedence over others when there’s not enough time in the day for everything. It may come down to making to-do lists with tasks and goals and crossing things off one by one, or setting one specific need as a goal to focus on for the week or entire month. The method of prioritizing needs doesn’t have to be perfect and it surely won’t look the same for everyone; it’s going to be tailored to each person and what their specific needs are. But it all begins with an act of self-respect; to increase awareness of what it is that’s needed and telling yourself you deserve it.

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