Pacing at the Holidays to Cope with and Manage Migraine Disease
Pacing is an incredibly important aspect of coping with migraine disease all year round, but especially essential during the demands and pressures of the holiday season.
In a nutshell, pacing is the idea of monitoring your levels of pain, fatigue, stress and depression/anxiety on a scale of 1-10 to ensure you're not overdoing it and driving your body or mind toward a nasty crash.
Here's how the numbers break down:
1 - 6 = Keeping doing what you're doing, but check again later.
7 - 9 = Slow down and continue to check your numbers as you make adjustments.
10 = STOP immediately and take care of yourself.
A great way to view this technique is like the dashboard on a car. Just the same way that you use the gauges on your dashboard to monitor the speed, fuel and oil levels and other messages your car gives you, monitoring these numbers helps you assess what is happening with your body in an objective way at any given moment.
As much as we'd love to be able to do everything we love during the holiday season, the reality of living with a chronic illness like migraine disease is that we have to pay attention to our limits and respect them. If we don't, we risk missing out entirely on everything the holiday season has to offer by way of not only time with our family and friends, but also our ability to create special memories through experiences with them.
Pacing as a practice, just like any other technique, is always a work in progress. Even for someone like me, who has been using this technique for a few years now, sometimes I completely blow it. I refuse to listen to the clues my body is giving me and crash into a pile dysfunctional goo. As a result, I miss out on everything, rather than being able to pick and choose the activities that are most special and important to me.
Now, I must also admit that the reality of living with migraine disease is that it can be difficult to predict our attacks. Sometimes even when we are diligent about pacing our bodies take away our ability to be part of special events. Pacing is no guarantee that you'll get to do what you want to do. But it certainly does help increase the likelihood of it.
Do you have questions about the concept of pacing? Please share them in the comments.
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