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Breaking routine & feeling disappointed in myself

I woke up feeling stiff and crinkly and icky this morning.  Apparently I have lost my ability to find more sophisticated vocabulary to describe my physical state as well—I hope you’ll forgive me.  But “stiff and crinkly and icky” seem to be the best ways to describe how I’m feeling.

The last week and a half, I’ve awakened early with little trouble.  I start my mornings with coffee on the screened-in porch while I write.  When the coffee is gone, it’s time to go for a morning walk.  It’s been great.

This morning, though, I just kept snoozing and snoozing.  I didn’t climb out of bed until after 9:00am (a full 90 minutes after my alarm started going off—and it should be noted that my alarm is usually set a lot earlier but today I gave myself a break since I stayed up late last night).  Jim had a show last night (he’s a musician) and didn’t get home until late, so he slept on the couch so I wouldn’t be interrupted when he climbed into bed.  Perhaps it was because I had the bed to myself that I sprawled out completely, not worried that the very quiet alarm on my phone was waking my husband up every eight minutes.  (Usually we are in the same bed and we try to limit our snoozing alarms so as not to torture the other one who’s still asleep, but when he’s in the other room I can snooze all the livelong day!)

Now I’m wondering about another migraine-related chicken or the egg conundrum.  Am I stiff, crinkly-muscled, sore, and just kind of blah and icky this morning because I messed up my routine and snoozed eight trillion times instead of getting out of bed when I originally intended to? Or did some wise part of me tell myself to keep resting this morning because I was already feeling sickly?

My feeling is that it’s the former option, but I can’t discount the very likely possibility that it’s harder to rouse yourself from sleep when you might have a migraine coming on. I know all of you know that profound tiredness and lethargy that can set in even as early as the prodrome and aura stages.

So, as I type, I am on our wonderfully large back screened-in porch, looking out at the wooded lot behind our new rental house.  The cat is at my feet (he’s strictly an indoor kitty who has new freedom now that he can go on the screened porch), and birds are chirping and cicadas (or whatever those loud insects high in the trees are) are buzzing.  It’s really pleasant.

All that sound idyllic, but I’m distracted. I’m distracted by my lower back pain and the discomfort in my left hip/lower back area, something that’s acted up since I had surgery earlier this year.  I’m distracted by my self-judgment and self-blame, the voice inside that is scolding myself for sleeping in and messing up my routine.  I’m distracted by the pops and cracks whenever I move my sore neck, and I’m distracted by the full feeling in my head and am in no small way concerned that a migraine is on its way.  I’m distracted by my to-do list and the fact that I didn’t plan out my schedule for the rest of the day.

All this distraction isn’t healthy and doesn’t lead to a productive or low-stress life.  Good thing my mom and I are heading to a new tai chi class session today—research indicates that tai chi helps with stress management, muscle pain, posture, balance, and more.  I’ll have to report back on that later.

So: what was your morning like today? When you don’t live up to your self-made expectations for how you want your day to go, how do you feel? And as far as the chicken and the egg problem goes: have you any insight for me there? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • John
    4 years ago

    I was thinking that tai chi might help, when in the very next sentence you said you were going to tai chi with your Mom.

  • Tracy Grant
    4 years ago

    I like you, find that when i ‘snooze’ I re wake up feeling stiff and headachy. It definitely makes a difference to my migraines when i alter my routine. Which is a pain, as I love to lie in. What I have found works quite well, is if I get up at the usual time, get my coffee and food, THEN go back to bed and read etc and lie down again if I feel dozy. This is only possible if like me, you can get up and then go back to sleeping again. But yeah…. I get you! It’s frustrating when you can’t rest and lie in when you can!

  • Lavonda Sullivan
    4 years ago

    Wow, honey you are so hard on yourself!

  • kimP
    4 years ago

    Every one needs a break once in a while. Life is too short to feel guilt over something like that. I have never been able to have a routine due to additional health issues…fibro, neuropathy and other longterm side effects from chemo. I am sure that a schedule would help a lot with stress and reducing the headaches. I just try to enjoy the good days and accept the bad ones. Really what else can one do to survive.

  • Marcus
    4 years ago

    I’ve had lifelong migraines, and for the last 21 years, transformed chronic daily migraines. By now I figure I know 99% of the triggers, and most of what doesn’t work to fix my migraines. And many which do. I have a routine down for the most part.
    I’ve heard all I can bear about “routine” being the key to migraine control.
    But you know? Since I’m going to get a migraine no matter what I do, breaking a so-called “sacred cow” once in a while is not going to kill me.
    So I say to Janet, bless your heart, I’m glad you got to have an off day from your routine. CELEBRATE IT! And for once put aside what it did, might do, chicken or the egg questions, but live for a few hours!! Ah, I actually got an enjoyment, a mini-vacation just reading about your mini-vacation.
    And thank you for sharing so honestly.
    BTW, I’m new to this group, but already I like it a lot.

  • shelleydf73
    4 years ago

    Any change in my sleep pattern can flare up generalized pain and / or migraine. I get daily headaches, but Magnesium OTC helps a lot. Routine? I wish. That’s something I need to work on. Getting out for a walk is a great way to start your day, after coffee, of course.

  • 2mnyheadaches
    4 years ago

    I have questioned the same thing. On the weekends I am so exhausted from the work week, I break my routine to sleep an extra hour or two. But almost every Sunday I have a migraine. Why can’t I enjoy the luxury that almost everyone else does of sleeping in on their days off from work, without paying for it by having a migraine. I have also been experiencing back pain lately and noticed it was much worse after sleeping in on the weekend.

  • Clare
    4 years ago

    Hi 2mnyheadaches. Did you know that predictability is your brain’s best friend? If you calmed down your work week so you didn’t need a massive sleep in, so that every day including Saturday and Sunday had the same wake-up times, then your brain doesn’t need to spontaneously be provoked into producing different types and volumes of neurotransmitters. I am seeing a therapist to help me adjust to this specific problem and we have talked about predictability for the last four weeks. She asks me, ‘have you been predictable?’ each time. And it is good to keep asking the question. It is helping me accept and adjust to living with migraine. Also, having a coffee at the same time, and having the same types of meals and mealtimes. My last Sunday was also a write off for a different reason – I usually don’t eat gluten and dairy and sugar, but I wanted to feel entitled to it and had some on Sunday morning, so, like you, I could feel ‘entitled’ to a weekend luxury ‘like almost everyone else does’. BANG migraine. I have learned through the therapy about this issue, that my sense of entitlement is one of my reasons for disrupting predictability.

    All the best and sorry about your disappointing Sundays.

  • Tammy Rome
    4 years ago

    I can usually get away with breaking my routine on occasion without getting hit with a migraine attack. I try to cut myself some slack if it’s just a one-time thing. It’s more of a problem if I get out of my routine for several days in a row. That being said, everyone is different.

  • Tracy Grant
    4 years ago

    Claire – gluten, dairy and sugar seem to trigger migraines in me as well. It’s so not fair!!! No chocolate or wine either. Oh well… I get to breathe unhindered I guess. 🙂 Trying to prevent a migraine as typing this with nurofen…. it’s like waiting for the inevitable. My biggies are the menstrual migraines. Those are the ones I fight a losing battle against. But definitely breaking routine and stress, lack of sleep, weather, purfume… Gosh it’s amazing any of us go outdoors!

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