New Year - New Determination!

One of the most surprising ways I heard myself described this year was as a “glass-half-full kind of person.” “Definitely NOT me,” was my immediate reaction! In fact, I think it would be more accurate to say that I’m an “I don’t want to get out of bed today” kind-of-person. My husband can definitely attest to this, as can those who try - unsuccessfully - to pin me down to early morning appointments!

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However, that comment got me thinking. What is it that helps us keep going and stay positive? What might be a healthy way to face the challenges of living with migraine and all that it entails, while also acknowledging the struggle? Finally, what provides us with the determination to face a new year with hope? Here are five thoughts:

Acknowledge the tough stuff

There is nothing weak, “complainy,” or negative about acknowledging that migraine is challenging. It’s tough to go through the pain and other symptoms. It’s tough to keep trying new treatments and deal with side effects. It’s tough to deal with people who don’t get it. It’s really tough not to have answers. In short, this is a tough disease and it’s ok to state that! Whatever it is that you find toughest about life with migraine, write it down, speak it out, paint a picture, tell a friend you trust. It’s ok to acknowledge it!

Accept what you cannot change

There are some things that we simply cannot change, and constantly fighting against them is an exhausting exercise in futility. For example, I accept that I have migraine disease, there is no cure, and there will be days lost, things not done, appointments cancelled. By accepting what we cannot change we are able to get off an endless hamster wheel of struggle and start focusing on resilience, coping strategies, and changing the things we can!

Fight for what you can change

This can be a tough one because sometimes we “accept” the things that we actually shouldn’t – things we should fight for. We “accept” that insurance won’t cover our medications when we can fight for that. We “accept” stigma in the workplace or education when we have the right to accommodations. We “accept” rejection by friends who don’t understand and stop trying to connect with others. Fighting for what we can change not only helps improve our lives and the lives of others tangibly, but is also empowering!

Be kind to yourself

It’s so important to figure out what it means to be kind to yourself! This is different for everyone, but a great place to start is to ask what makes YOU smile or feel calm. It could be doing puzzles, watching a movie marathon, reading a book, going for a walk, art therapy, or something else. Self-kindness builds resilience, strength, and determination. It is not a waste of time but an essential part of living with chronic disease!

Connect with others who understand

Connection is often the missing piece of the puzzle for many of us. Discovering that there are others who are going through the same or similar things is incredibly validating. Talking to people who really understand is like breathing in a huge breath of fresh air. Learning from each other, laughing and crying together – this is powerful, and often a lifeline that keeps us going when all else fails.

What are some unhealthy and some healthy ways that you have dealt with life with migraine? Are you a “glass half full” kind of person, or a “morning grouch”? What helps you face tomorrow and how are you “kind” to yourself?

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