February, the Month for Extra Self-Care and Love

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November I focus on all the people and things I’m grateful for.

December I focus on all the wonderful products I love to give to others.

January I focus on recovering from December and making small obtainable resolutions.

February I focus on Self-Care….it’s a month filled with sickness, hibernation, love/Valentine’s, and a whole lot of much needed self care.

Why am I starting my Self Care Series a week late? Did you read the last sentence?  Sickness!  My house has been struck by the flu for my husband, my sweet boy (Who is a whole hand now!) and myself.  Everyone gets the flu but I was struck by a 2 day migraine to follow and a week later I’m crawling out of bed.

The purpose of my self care series is to make myself a priority each day in a small but significant way.  Some things I make and use products for, other things are simple, quick and free.  The point is to make the conscious effort to stop, breathe, and focus on just one small thing each day.  My hope is that all of these small things  will accumulate and make a big difference if not physically but mentally.

I find that just by saying to myself “You need this today.  You are taking the time to give it to yourself.” is powerful.  It may be something I do everyday but making the mental note to slow down and relish in it is what I want my focus on.

Being present in each self care act is important.  Follow along and try to do something for yourself each day this month.  Maybe it will flow over to March and become part of your lifestyle.  Maybe, like me, you have plans but are knocked down.  My advice is, get up when you can and take care.  That’s what I’m doing! I’ll do my best and that’s all you should ask of yourself.

What Self-Care things do you do?

Follow along and see what I have planned (I may even have a giveaway as a gift for taking extra care this month).  I’d love to add your ideas to my list and we can help each other help ourselves 🙂

 

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I am Thankful Despite Migraine

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Happy November and welcome to the month of gratitude

My chronic illness has made me a thankful person in general.  I’m thankful when I’m not in my dark quiet room.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain, but if I’m good enough to be out of bed, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for many, many, people who love me for just who I am.  I have had to weed out the people who don’t understand but isn’t that life and maturity?  I’m at an age now where my confidence is at its highest.  I know who I am and have surrounded myself with people who truly deserve my time.  I can be knocked down and dragged out by my migraines at any moment so I don’t waste my time with people who don’t make me happier or feel better.

I’m thankful for cuddling with my husband and eating dessert while we watch our favorite TV show.  It’s the small things in life that count and I’m so thankful that I get to spend my life with him.  Waking up to his face allows me to put one foot in front of the other during my worst days and if I can’t walk, he’ll carry me.

I’m thankful for my kids more than words can explain.  I’m thankful for my body that carried those babies and fed them.  I had never been thankful for my body before my two children. Not many girls are in love with themselves due to way too many unrealistic expectations.  With that added to being chronically ill, I never gave myself credit for what it can do.  It’s easy to focus on how much my body restricts me but  I’m now grateful that my body gave me children that motivate me every day.

I’m grateful for my third child, who came to me first, my amazing dog.  She’s so much more than a dog, she gives me love that a human can’t and is one of my strongest therapies. (My dog my nurse my love)

As always I am thankful for my family.  My parents, my in laws, my sister and beyond are my rocks.  You don’t get to pick your family, but if I had the choice, I’d choose them.

The people that I have chosen and am so thankful for are my friends.  They are people who could have walked away from our friendships because of my illness.  Most of my best friends have seen me in a lot of pain, throw up, packed me in ice and have had me cancel plans due to my migraines.  But they love me, dry heaves and all.   I’m thankful to have the most loving, supportive, funny, intelligent and amazing women as my friends. They are great examples to my children on what true friendship means.

Up until last year I had been a stay at home mom and it was the most challenging and incredible experience.  I now have the opportunity to be a full time mom and part time teacher.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to join the work force again but mostly how I was received.  My boss and coworkers instantly became friends and confidants in life.  They are aware of my Migraines and not only are judgement free but are supportive.  They either have Migraines themselves, have a spouse who suffers or see Migraines as more than a headache and how it alters my life.  It is an accepting group and one that wants the best for each other.  My students and their family’s are people I go home each night feeling grateful that I get to be a part of their lives.  I love teaching and being able to go back while keeping my migraines in check during school hours has been a blessing. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to go back to teaching and it fills a void I had while being at home.

I’m grateful for the Migraine community and MyMigraineLife.  My life and confidence, once again, changed when I began my blog.  Fellow sufferers are so powerful in their words and encouragement and I am confident that it has saved and improved lives.  We have laughed and cried together while sharing stories, advocating for foundations and making steps towards greater health.

My list of thankfuls and gratefuls can go on forever.  I am so blessed!  I guess I can complain about migraines, and believe me I do, but being thankful is way more fun and productive.  Migraines are depressing and many people get sucked into the pain hole that seems too deep to come out of.  Remembering my blessings keeps me mentally battling with pain, nausea, aura, weakness, fatigue etc. in a more positive way. The mental battle is incredibly difficult and I’m so thankful I have so much to be thankful for and motivated to fight for.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog and thoughts.  I’m thankful for you!!!  Without your feedback there would be many days that I would not be able to continue my blog.  It is difficult and uses spoons I may not have.  Your comments, likes and shares motivate me because I know I’m helping you or someone who may stumble across this page.

Please add to my Thankful list.  I will compile the answers and post the list for Thanksgiving. Come back everyday and add something you are thankful.  Showing gratitude, even for the smallest things, gives strength.

What are you Thankful for?

My dog with Migraine. Therapy, service, comfort, support and treatment. Pets can help heal

my dog!

I bought my dog to celebrate getting my first real job out of college.  She was a sick puppy when I got her and a vet told me she was going to die and that I shouldn’t get attached.  Well, here I am with my feet comfortably resting on her 9 years later.  She is my first child.  People told me that when I had real children I would love her less.  That could not be further than the truth.  My children love, hug, kiss, and even try to ride her.  She sleeps in the nursery or outside their rooms during naps and at night…..a typical older, protective sister.  The biggest thing I love about her is how she watches over me.

There is  only one relationship that I have not felt guilty about or that I have neglected because of my disease.   It is the relationship with my Golden Retriever.  My dog has been a nurse to me for many years.  She is by my side and loves me without explanations or apologies.  She only requires that we be in the same room and that I cuddle her like the lap dog that she thinks she is.  When I am sick in bed, she joins me.  She does not sleep in bed with me other than when I have a migraine.  She has a sense when I am sick and immediately jumps into bed and spoons me while I lay packed in ice.  If I move my fingers she begins wagging her tail and licking them to show me she’s watching me.  There have been many days that I laid in bed, all day, with her unmoving.  Chronic migraines are isolating and lonely and she gives me companionship and support that not many can give.  From the time my husband lets her out in the morning until he returnes at night, she does not leave my side.  I would crawl to the door to let her out if I needed to, yet she never asks me to when I am suffering a migraine.  If I am laying on the bathroom floor crumpled in pain, she is right there with me.  The pressure she lays against me is comforting.  When I am unable to open my eyes, I am able to pet and lay on her without having to talk or move.  It is the simplest form of love.  She’s just there, and that’s exactly what I need.

She received knee surgery and was gated into our family room when I had a migraine quickly rising one particular day.  I was laying on the couch and needed to quickly leave the room to retreat to my bedroom.  I wanted to escape the light of the family room and knew I needed medication, rest, and space between my children and I.  I don’t like my children to see me in pain so when the migraine quickly went from a 5 to an 8 in intensity, I slowly raised from the couch.  My dog immediately rose on 3 legs and started whining and crying.  My husband followed me up to our room and I asked him if she was hurt, needed pain pills, needed out or what was wrong with my sweet dog.  He told me that he checked on her and she was worried about me.  We watched her go from sleeping on her bed resting her knee to being worked up about me being sick.  She was upset that she couldn’t be with me and knew that I was in pain.  She has this sense about her that tells her when I need her.  She has never been trained as a therapy dog, but living with me she has become my own personal therapeutic dog and caretaker.  She’s amazing and life wouldn’t be the same without her.  Do you have a pet that helps you when you are sick?