I did all the things I should this morning, stretched, meditated, ate a light healthy breakfast, took my supplements and meds, stayed calm. Planned my day, did some work, took a walk. A morning of living healthy. (Go ahead, give me a gold star!) I’ll do that a few times and then I’ll think I don’t have to any more. Anyone else out there like me?

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to live healthy. Like everyone, I’ve been secretly hoping for the magic pill. Where do we get that fantasy from? Is it from fairy tales, a constant wish for the magic wand that banishes all ills, or the knight on the white horse to take us away, or is it pharmaceutical commercials (potential side-effects include loss of common sense, temporary irresponsibility…)?

But wouldn’t it be nice? Just give me the magic pill (once, mind you, I’m not interested in something I have to do every day, or refill prescriptions for, or pay co-pays ad nauseum…) and then I can live like everybody else.

Oh, like everybody else, huh? What does my fantasy mean by that? Hmm well I imagine everybody else can stay up as late as they want, as often as they want. They can eat sugar without getting hooked on it. They can drink coffee without revving their systems up so much they get migraines. They can live without exercise. They can drink alcohol. They can be around cigarette smoke. They stay calm cool and collected. They certainly never ever have to meditate, or breathe deep, or stretch. They don’t have to go to the chiropractor every two weeks, they never need a nap, they have abundant energy all day, their houses are tidy and clean… How much of the human race have I eliminated by now? I guess there may be one or two paragons like this somewhere, but I know I haven’t met many! Funny thing is, to live healthy with my conditions, mostly I have to do what common wisdom and the medical profession tells us we all need to be doing. The main difference seems to be: for those of us with chronic illness, the breakdown comes faster. We don’t have to wait 30 years for the heart attack – we get the migraine attack right now!

Living healthy with migraine disease, and chronic fatigue, and a chronic sinus condition, seasonal allergies, allergies to pain meds, and irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism, periodic anxiety and depression, looks like this for me:

1) regular and sufficient sleep

2) a diet high in fiber, organic foods, fruits and vegetables, and low in dairy, refined sugar and flour and food additives

3) vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements

4) thyroid supplements

5) natural, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy

6) antihistamines

7) a humidified house

8) flushing my sinuses with a neti pot a couple of times a week

9) triptans for migraine attacks

10) daily stretching

11) daily meditation and relaxation practice

12) journaling

13) keeping a detailed wellness diary

14) regular exercise – at least 5 times a week

15) chiropractic visits every other week

16) a life coach to help me stay on track

17) keeping in touch with my medical team about what’s working, what’s changing, what’s next

18) keeping a regular work schedule and managing my time and projects to keep my anxiety level low

19) other stuff I can’t think of at the moment…

If I do all this, I am less likely to get a migraine. I am less likely to catch every cold that comes down the pike and turn it into a sinus infection. I am unlikely to have an ibs flare-up and I don’t fatigue easily and I feel serene… and then I think I’m cured. I think somewhere in all that was a magic pill and I can have a great big cup of coffee with a cheese danish and stay up half the night and work without breaks… until the migraine slams me down again.

Or even worse, I get sick anyway, even though I did everything right, or nearly everything right, and then I think, what’s the use of working so hard to stay healthy?

So, here’s my commitment: One day at a time, I will live healthy. I will do it for the rest of today. Tomorrow all bets are off… (just kidding!)

Oh, it just started snowing!

Author's Bio: 

Megan Oltman is a migraineur, an entrepreneur, and a Migraine Management Coach, helping migraineurs and people with chronic illness manage their lives, keep working, start and maintain businesses, and live purposeful lives. She also practices as a professional divorce mediator. Over the years, she's been a practicing attorney, a free-lance writer, and a business coach and advisor. Megan has a free Migraine management course, The Six Keys to Manage your Migraines and Take Back your Life, available at takebackyourlifefrommigraine.com. Her writings on migraine and more tools for managing life with migraine can be found at freemybrain.com.