Why Self-Care Should Be A Priority, Not an Afterthought

8:03 PM chronicmigraineellie 0 Comments

Self-care is important. As I sit here, writing this, I am recovering from almost a week of straight migraines. I'm exhausted. I have 3 million things to do. I have book reviews to write, jobs to apply to, events to plan and schedule and yet, here I am, listening to music and writing this blog post. For years, I put my academics and activities above my health. When I wasn't able to read or write, I would still try to push myself to try and study a bit or write a paragraph of the essay looming over my head. Every time, without fail, I would feel worse than I did before I started working. Being the stubborn, headstrong person that I am, I refused to give myself a break and let myself take the time to recover because I 'needed to get things done.' I refused to allow myself the self-care that I needed. I thought that through some miracle, I was going to be able to function and achieve what I needed and wanted to do. Oh, how wrong I was.

This isn't an isolated incident. I did this all throughout high school and even when I thought I had learned my lesson, I have also done this in college, namely this past winter break. So why am I telling you this now? Well, I'm telling you because I need to write this to believe it too. It's hard to admit that you need to stop and let your body rest when the world keeps moving at a thousand miles an hour around you. There are a million things to do every day, everything which seems to be time-sensitive and necessary. This only adds to the stress of migraines. It's okay to say no to plans, to push off non-essential tasks because you need the time to recover. By spending that time on yourself, it'll help you in the long run. Giving yourself the time, space and mental energy to deal with your illness will only help you.

Even though I'm on spring break, it doesn't feel like it. With the added stress of one of my prophylactic medications failing, increased migraines, and deadlines hanging, my life feels like one giant ball of stress. Sometimes, it gets to me. It's easy to cry and get upset about my life. It's not easy to learn how to prioritize myself and my health. But it's something that is necessary. Taking time to rest, to recharge and to give my brain a break means that I will be twice as likely to do what I need to do. It's the decision to lay down for 20 minutes in between classes instead of trying to get a reading done. It's deciding that I need to rest, nap and take a shower instead of pushing myself to get a blog post done. It's the difference between functioning and dragging myself through my day.

Self-care can be as simple as getting a coffee and just sitting for 15 minutes. It's painting your nails or watching a television show after getting work done. These decisions may seem easy, but they're actually difficult. There's a level of shame involved when I decide to leave the library without doing all of my readings for tomorrow because I can barely focus on the words. I'm going to expand on this in a later post because I also have to take care of myself this week. I am still feeling pretty fuzzy and experiencing some brain fog issues. The main takeaway of this post, though, is to take care of yourself. You deserve it. Self-care should be something that you should prioritize, not realize when it's too late and you can't function or move anymore.

As always, have an amazing, migraine-free week!