For the past nine days, I’ve had a headache, a dull, persistent pain that will not go away, no matter what I do or what pills I take. The only thing that’s brought me any relief is lying on my back with a warm compress on my head, a position that doesn’t lend itself well to working, playing, socializing, or pretty much anything. (You might have noticed the Positively Present Picks were missing on Friday. This is why.) It’s been an incredibly boring and frustrating time and, to be honest, it’s been challenging my positive, present mindset quite a bit. But, of course, it’s when we struggle to be positively present that we need positivity and mindfulness the most.
So, with a throbbing head and an oddly positioned laptop (in order to better balance the compress on my head), I’m going to share all the tactics I’ve used to cope over the past week or so.
TRY YOGA / MEDITATION.
I kind of got out of doing yoga for a while, but this week I decided to pick it up again and see if they could help me feel better. It did! I’ve been doing Yoga with Adriene every day this week, and I really feel like it helps. I also did a little bit of meditating (I struggle with it so much!), and that also helped. I generally am more of a pill taker when it comes to coping with pain, but I’m really starting to see the benefits of holistic, natural activities like yoga and meditating.
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL.
At the beginning of the year I started using my Every Day Matters diary as a gratitude journal, and it’s been so amazing, especially this past week. I know I talk about gratitude a lot, and I know it’s kind of a cliché topic in the personal development community, but it really does work. Thinking about all of the things I have and the things that make me happy has been such a useful tactic for a combating The stress of not feeling well.
FOCUS ON CAN, NOT CAN’T.
One of the most important things I’ve done over the past week is focused on shifting my thoughts from what I can’t do to what I can do. Since I’ve spent most of the week lying down, almost everything I do becomes a small little victory. So, while it was incredibly frustrating not to work all week, instead of focusing on that I would focus on the things I could do, no matter how small.
REST. AND THEN REST SOME MORE.
I’m a big fan of resting, but it can be frustrating when it’s not a choice and you have to rest. Still, rest is so so important and I’ve done my best to make it a priority this week. Even when I started feeling a little bit better, I did encourage myself to keep resting, and I really feel that resting is some of the best medicine you can give yourself.
DO RELAXING THINGS.
Because I was so stressed about not feeling well, I knew I had to make relaxation more of a priority or I would start to feel panicky at the thought that I might be sick forever. (Dramatic I know, but that’s how my mind works!) relaxation is a very individual practice. For me, a book and a bath tub works wonders, but it’s important to do whatever feels relaxing to you.
ALLOW FOR A MINI-MELTDOWN.
When you’re unable to do almost anything, and you have to lie down for days at a time, you’re bound to be pretty frustrated. I did my best to stay as optimistic as possible, but I also gave myself a pass to having a little bit of a meltdown. It’s OK to get frustrated to cry and to not be 100% positive every second. Allow yourself a good cry, and you’ll feel a lot better!
BE OPEN TO NEW SOLUTIONS.
If you’re dealing with something that’s not easily fixable, it can be really aggravating when traditional treatments don’t seem to work. Over the past week, I’ve been doing my best to open my mind to new possibilities. Rather than focusing solely on pills, i’ve been giving essential oils a try. I’m certainly not going to stop following the doctor’s orders, but I feel much more open to exploring new solutions as well. An open mind is important in life, and it’s extra important in health.
I also found a new solution to my inability to write for long periods of time. This whole blog post was dictated into my phone and then copied into the website! Obviously it’s not the same as actually writing, at least for me, but it’s an example of finding a solution when you can’t do what you’ve always done.
PS: If you have any suggestions for coping with chronic headaches, let me know!
I have suffered from bouts of cold in the past three weeks. It had a massive impact on me and my confidence because I feel useless – not being able to work my usual and exercise can take its toll on my mind. But then, I realize to just relax and go with the flow. Accept that I feel that way and just do what is needed to transcend that. And that is all I needed to do.
Rest is probably the most important one, at least that I’ve found! Simply allowing yourself to rest and relax and be OK with it seems to help me the most! Also, acupuncture is amazing for migraines and headaches if you want to go that route! 🙂 Hope you’re starting to feel better though! What a major pain 🙁
Daikuro – Acceptance is so important, and I’m so glad you brought that up. It’s one of the hardest things to do sometimes, but, it makes such a difference to how you feel!
Ali – Rest has definitely been essential for me too. Good to know about acupuncture. I’m terrified of needles, but I might be willing to brave it if these headaches don’t go away! 🙂
I agree! Getting rest and fluids are the two most important get-well tools!
For dealing with headaches, I’ve found it important to try to pinpoint the source of the headache: mine are usually sinus or neck related. For sinus, my doctor said that pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is the most effective decongestant (I tend to agree). For neck, I use a muscle relaxant. If neither of those work, I try a sinus corticosteroid spray, which works especially well for allergies. Then heat or cold to the heat and/or neck. It’s pretty rare that none of those work.
If I’m really at my wits end, I head over to my masseuse and then over to my chiropractor (she uses the “activator method” so it’s not scary). The combination fixes a lot of stuff that can cause a headache.
I’ve also heard that putting a mixture with peppermint oil on the temples helps. I wouldn’t apply oils undiluted. But it seems like you probably know more about oils than I do. I haven’t tried it, though I would kind of like to.
I love your blog, by the way. Thank you for this post, especially when you were feeling so ill. I have trouble with positivity, so I think I will start a gratitude journal like yours. I’m looking at the “Instant Happy Journal” because it’s so bite-sized and you can put in the dates as you go. Two excuses avoided right off the bat!
Know that you are bookmarked at work and at home and that I’ll be perusing your etsy shop. And oh-my-gosh that event planner will likely help a lot for a future wedding. 🙂
Katharine – Thanks so much for the headache tips! I’ll definitely give those a try and see if they work. I’m so happy to hear that you love the blog. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and checking out the Etsy shop!
So sorry you’ve been struggling with headaches–I know how debilitating they can be, and eventually you just get sooo tired of being in pain. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else. Hope by now you’re feeling much better. (I’m woefully behind on blog reading and trying to catch up!)
Kathy – Thanks so much! I’m finally feeling better. I believe it was sinus-related, and it seemed to clear up once I took Sudafed. 🙂
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