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Routines are hard when migraine is in the mix

Despite my nature (which dictates that I live messily and spontaneously and hope others can fly by the seats of their pants as well), I am trying to become someone who plans ahead. I know:  gasp.  I’ve blogged before about what a procrastinator I am, and I know that putting things off until the last minute isn’t a good idea for anyone, let alone for someone who could get waylaid by migraine at any moment.

But I’m encountering a whole new set of issues as I try to establish a more solid work routine at home and at my business.  I have a virtual meeting with my events coordinator each week. I have a set payroll schedule. I have publishers I have to pay by certain dates. I have documents to file by particular deadlines.  In my home office, I try to set up calendar alerts and plans to make sure I have a good idea of the weeks and months ahead.  I set up calendar alerts and reminders so I can spread my work out among different dates.

Too bad all that shizzy hits the fan as soon as I am thrown off course by a migraine.  Say I am supposed to write one blog post per week and I’ve set aside Monday afternoons for that.  Well, a migraine comes along and I end up in bed most of the day Monday, not in a good mindframe for writing.  By the time Tuesday rolls around, blogging time is over, as we’re onto Tuesday’s schedule.  See what I mean?

In good health times, I thrive with routine.  I feel better and more productive when I awake early each day and go to bed around the same time each night. I love having a plan and pattern to my day (this is especially true when I’m working from my home office, which is rife with delightful distractions).  But everything gets wonky when a migraine intrudes and disrupts the schedule.  So routine is my friend, but I don’t treat it very nicely when I break from the pattern.  It’s hard to fall back in step once I’m feeling good again.

How do you all cope with routine? Do you find that scheduling regular plans and appointments is a help or a hindrance? How often do you feel your migraines make you throw your plans out the window?

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.


  • georgiaslesinger
    6 years ago

    I try to stick with a schedule as much as possible. Because of pain and memory problems, I keep lists and calendars. But, with chronic severe migraine, I find that I have to let go and chill out if I can’t keep up with my own scheduling.

    Luckily, my clients are very understanding and if I have to reschedule someone, they don’t have a problem with it. My family understands what I go through, at least as much as they can without going through it themselves, so when I can’t show up at something, they understand. The people that don’t know me well and don’t understand, well, that’s their problem.

    My biggest problem is me – having patience with myself! Still working on that one.

  • rhythmlis
    6 years ago

    First, let me say, my routine has become no routine at all. No morning ever starts the same and the rest of the day follows suit. My wife lets me know my gigs and appointments for the week and I manage to make them on time, but everything else is apt to be disrupted by the out of the blue nausea and ice pick episodes that leave me oblivious to what I was doing which happens frequently as well as infrequently. The hardest part is when an attack occurs in the middle of a performance between words or in the middle of a solo, and even though I have done the song thousands of times I lose the wording, key of music, and location in the song. This is where improvisation really comes in handy to make it through and not leave people wondering, “What the heck was that”? I guess a good way to put it is that migraines have made my life one of improvisation, because I cannot maintain a routine life.

  • sheri2u2
    6 years ago

    Wonky! I love that word. It applies to so many things when you have a migraine. Or the life of a migrainer. I’m a very regimented person. Try and schedule everything. I find that this just puts too much undue pressure on me. If I didn’t do laundry on it’s scheduled Thursday…. I let myself down. If I don’t clean this or that on a certain day… I let myself down. I am getting better though. On the good days I do as much as I can and try to never put anything off. I know sometimes this is easier said than done. But it’s helped for me.
    I greatly enjoy the articles you share.
    Thank you.

  • georgiaslesinger
    6 years ago

    Totally understand, Sheri; I’m a regimented person too! I also try to fit in as much work on good days as I possibly can.

  • jackieshakoor
    6 years ago

    My story is a little odd on how i cope, I normally wake up with a migraine. So i find myself cancelling/rescheduling various appts. With me having 2 types of migraines with the 2nd one lasting 24/7 I pretty much have to play it by ear as to what my pain level is at the time. I call it my 1-10 (5 & below is functional). As to me throwing plans out of the window it doesnt happent to often because when asked to do something what ever my 1-10 is at that moment i dont have to ponder for long on an answer or even if plans for the weekend i still have to go by my 1-10. I made my family aware of how the summer heat is a trigger, so if there are any bbq’s we make attempts to plan them at each others homes vs parks where there is no AC. However, i love the lake during the spring and fall as long as the weather is cool.

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