Diana Lee wrote a compelling post recently about the felt need to keep her house clean when she is home on total disability - called “I’m So Lazy: Ways We Trick & Abuse Ourselves“. I could really identify with those undermining tapes that play in our heads, telling us that whatever we are doing, and however sick we may be, we could and should be doing more, and better, and keeping up appearances!

Diana’s post inspired my theme for the Free My Brain Migraine Managment newsletter on this month. (If you’d like to recieve the newsletter you can sign up in the Six Migraine Keys box in the upper right corner of this page.) Here’s what I think about how to choose:

Putting our health first is a mantra, not a rule. A mantra is something we repeat to ourselves and allow it to slowly sink into our subconscious minds, informing our actions. A mantra can be a question or an inquiry
that we live inside of, always asking ourselves, “What would it mean to put my health first, today, in this situation?”

How, in the face of all of life’s demands, paying bills, maintaining a home in some semblance of order, raising children or caring for others, do you put your health first?

Use putting your health first as a mantra and it won’t give you a hard and fast answer in every situation, but it will give you some guidance. Repeat “I am putting my health first,” as you walk, as you meditate, as you go to sleep at night.

We can’t avoid every Migraine, and sometimes we will choose to work, or do housework or other tasks, even though it triggers an attack or worsens our pain. It is not a perfect world and we can’t magically have all our needs and obligations taken away because we are sick. Part of putting our health first must be to forgive
ourselves in those situations. We must forgive ourselves when we do the task to the detriment of our health, and we must forgive ourselves when we can’t do the task because of our health. You will never get this perfect. We are blessed or cursed with a sensitive nervous system that will go haywire at times, whatever we do. Guilt is essentially unhealthy! “I am putting my health first, and I forgive myself!”

If the mess in the house is driving you berserk, as so many of us relate, try to break the jobs down into tiny pieces. I try to pick up, put away, clean or deal with three things every time I walk into a room. Just three. This way the incredible mess gets dealt with, or at least maintained, a little at a time without wearing me
out. And prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. What’s more crucial today, clean underwear or paying the mortgage? (What? Both, of course!) Maybe you could rinse out two pairs of undies in the sink and pay the bill, leaving the bigger laundry task for tomorrow.

Remember - even healthy people will die with full to-do lists! And if you are just lying down, putting your health first, you are already doing the most important thing. Leave me a comment and let me know how your choosing is going today!

- Megan Oltman

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 http://www.takebackyourlifefrommigraine.com Her writings on Migraine and more tools for managing life with Migraine can be found at http://www.freemybrain.com.