Migraine Milestones: Celebrating Small Wins

I used to be so hard on myself all the time. If I’m being honest, I still am in many ways today. I always wanted to achieve the next goal, and when I reached it, I didn’t take time to celebrate, because I already had my eye on the next goal. The mindset was to “keep marching, there’s no time to celebrate, there’s more work to be done.”

As you can likely imagine this mindset, doesn’t go so well with migraine. Living with chronic pain requires a different kind of approach - one that offers grace, compassion, and patience. It can't always just be about the end game because they don’t have a cure for migraine (yet!).

How can I change my "get things done" mindset?

So, if you can’t be cured, how do you manage this goal-setting mentality? For me, one of the greatest lessons that I learned over decades of debilitating migraine was the importance of celebrating small wins. It’s about finding – or creating – moments of joy, despite the pain. It’s convincing myself that my worth is not defined by my productivity (this is probably one of the hardest mindset shifts that I had to create over the years), nor was it contingent upon my ability to push through the pain.

It was hard not to view each attack as a setback, standing in the way of me being productive or “successful.” It’s so easy to tell ourselves the story of “not enough.”

How have I redefined success?

I learned to redefine success on my own terms. I couldn’t continue to push myself to the brink of exhaustion without paying a steep price. I had to start honoring and respecting my health and what it needed to best manage migraine. Some days this meant reminding myself that resting wasn’t being lazy. It was a form of healing. Other days, it meant encouraging myself to choose the healthier meal option off the menu, or going to the grocery store so I had good choices to support my body.

How have I celebrated the small wins?

Likely the biggest shift happened when I started to celebrate the small wins. The days when I remembered to fill my water bottle and actually drink it. It was the week where I remembered to take my supplements each morning. Or simply, the 15 minutes that I took to clean what I could around the house, without trying to force myself to do it all despite the pain.

Small wins. They don’t have to wait for big, monumental milestones to give ourselves a pat on the back or some encouragement. In fact, the more we celebrate our wins, the more we’re encouraged to keep the good habits going.

What are your migraine milestones?

If this isn’t something that you have tried doing yet, I encourage you try it today. What is one thing that you can celebrate? Start looking for the small wins throughout your day because the fact that you’re part of this community and read this far into the article suggests to me that you’re an incredibly resilient person. You do have small wins to celebrate, so it’s time to give yourself a little pat on the back.

Life with migraine is not easy – to say the least – so it’s important to keep yourself encouraged along the way.

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