Chronic Migraine, Coping

Three Things Each Day, Even if That’s Only Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Continually setting my expectations too high and continually being let down is a common theme in my life. As much as I know there’s an overachiever inside of me, I also know that I physically can’t do everything I put on my to do list each day. I try not to feel bad about it, but a small sense of failure always lingers. Sound familiar?

My meditation teacher said to our class today something she told me a couple weeks ago: Set three priorities a day, even if they are breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea is to have appropriate goals for what’s happening in your life. By having realistic expectations, you’ll see that you are successful and able to do what’s most important to you.

I’ve been trying her recommendation. For the most part, I can reach my goals each day and not focus on all I haven’t done. My list is limited and I don’t feel as overwhelmed. I’m also open to revising it throughout the day. A day may start out well, but by afternoon I know washing my face before bed will be the most I get done. I’m a little harder on myself in that case. . . .

Today’s list was ambitious considering how I’ve felt: Go to meditation class, buy groceries, pick Hart up at the airport. The first two were checked off by 1 p.m.; Hart’s flight isn’t in yet, but I definitely feel up for the drive. I even managed to go to the library and post office, both of which I’ve been trying to do for days.

Knowing I’d taken care of the first two items on my list and that going to the airport tonight was a priority, I let myself rest this afternoon. I still feel a little guilty for watching three episodes of 30 Rock and three episodes of Weeds in the middle of the day, but knowing it was part of my plan makes it easier.

Tomorrow’s list: Go to my massage, meet my sister and nieces in Tacoma, and be back home in time for Hart to take the car to his poker game. It is kind of ambitious, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it. If not, I’ll remind myself that even getting myself fed was a challenge that I rose to.

8 thoughts on “Three Things Each Day, Even if That’s Only Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner”

  1. Thanks for this, Kerrie. I have a really hard time with this too – always thinking I should be able to do more, always feeling disappointed with myself for what feels like lost days. I need to get back to appreciating the smaller accomplishments, and stop comparing my life to healthier people.
    I also relate to your feeling about watching tv in the middle of the day. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point where I’m comfortable allowing myself to enjoy such things. Because I’m on disability, I feel like I’m not allowed to have any enjoyable moments or days. It’s very confusing.
    Thanks for all you do on this blog!

  2. I teared up reading this post; I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose that despite my knowing that others experience the same problems as I, it’s immensely reassuring to read such an apt description of what sounds like my life. I have accomplished a lot int he last few days, but not the one HUGE thing I need to do. I have to do the little things in order to keep my day-to-day life on track, but the big thing just lingers and lingers. Grr!

    I saw the title of the post dated before this one and haven’t read it yet. Must quit commenting so I can read more!! 😉
    -Janet G.

  3. Kerrie – It’s a great approach. You di accomplish an enormous amount already with the blog and forum – as the other commenters pointed out. And maybe you can take on that whatever you do to rest is okay, as long as it rests you, including fun tv in the middle of the day! Hey you are accomplishing your 3 things! And more, as we see! And helping lots of migraineurs with the blog. No-one would ever begrudge you some fun tv (except you, perhaps!). We’re always our own worst critics!

    – Megan

  4. Hi Kerrie,

    I think doing your blog should count for two out of three things.

    I agree with everything Diana says.

    I just wanted to say thank you for doing your blog.

  5. Hi Kerrie,

    I love this post about doing three things everything day! And in reading it, I think to myself, “This woman accomplishes dozens of things every day!” Your Blog alone is like the perpetual accomplishment! Even when you do not add a post one day, all those posts that came before are like accomplishments that keep accomplishing with each new reader surfing your site, feeling understood, connected, respected and guided. Maybe these accomplishments are not on your daily list of “to do’s” but they still are worth some acknowledgment I think.

    Here are just a few things I think you accomplish every day simply in your Blog and forum:

    • You create a safe place for people in need to connect with others, and support and be supported by others
    • You encourage others to empower themselves
    • You speak your truth and give others permission to speak their truth
    • You share valuable research, time and energy with your readers
    • Even on days you don’t turn on your computer, your words of wisdom, compassion, and connection are on your site creating a domino effect of peace and support for anyone who visits
    • You give people something to look forward to (like reading your posts)
    • You make people smile
    • You elicit forward action in others
    • You eliminate the possibility of anyone affected by migraines to feel alone or like an outcast
    • You introduce likeminded people to other likeminded people
    • You give people a space to vent and be understood (some people DO NOT have that anywhere else you know)

    I could go on…but I think you get the gist. So, the next time you hear your voice of fear (Ego) telling you that you are not enough, or not doing enough, I do hope you will pull up this list (add to it) and know that even if you do not get out of bed that day you’ve already accomplished the above.

    Sending you love and light and HUG acknowledgments!

  6. That’s great that this approach is helping. And it’s helpful for me to read about someone challenging herself to do less.

    I’ve been trying to say “no” more, and it gets easier the more I do it. I’ve been saying “no” to adding in more activities when my weekends are full enough, and to adding more committee work at church. I find it lets me appreciate what is there more, and be able to give more to what I am doing, instead of spreading myself too thin.

  7. This is so important, Kerrie. The guilt that accompanies this condition can be overwhelming in itself.

    I don’t write down my goals, because I feel as if I’m setting myself up for failure. I have them sort of floating around my head during the course of the day. Most times, they go something like this:

    1. Get up.
    2. Shower.
    3. Get to work, somehow.

    That’s it.

    I figure if I can achieve that, then I’m doing pretty well.

    On a bad day, it’ll be something more like:

    1. Sleep until the pain goes away and then get up at *some* point
    2. Eat something.
    3. Feed the cats.

    I haven’t yet thought about my goals for today, but I know that sometimes thinking about all the things I should be doing can be so overwhelming. I look around me at people with busy lives and think ‘how do they manage it?’ Then I realise it’s just normal to them and that maybe, this is just normal to us. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing?

    Today, I’m starting with ‘Get up’.

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