I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Quiet on social media, quiet on blog posts, even quiet in my communications with close friends.
There’s a reason for this, and while the story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, there’s also something really exciting that’s come out of it, and I can’t wait to share that with you all.
A Year of Ups and Downs
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my personal story, I came to the world of health and wellness coaching because of my own health struggles with migraines. And for a very long time, these migraines ruled my world. For over a decade, I was out of commission at least a few days per week with migraine symptoms.
Slowly, but surely though, through so many lifestyle changes and a million tiny decisions each and every day, I began to get a hold on them. This all culminated in the summer of 2017, when I went three months without having a severe migraine attack – something I hadn't experienced in too many years to count. I was happy, felt more alive than I had in a long time, and was excited to be embarking on a new business venture where I could help other people to become the happiest, healthiest, most vibrant versions of themselves too. It was at that time I founded Cultivate Balance Health and Wellness Coaching.
It came as a pretty big surprise, then, when starting in November of 2017, I began to wake up with headaches every day. It seemed like a fluke at first, but I continued to awake in pain daily. The migraine pain was accompanied with brain fog so bad I couldn’t think or speak clearly and such severe fatigue that I could barely leave the couch. Living like this quickly broke me down. The month of December was one of the hardest months I’ve ever experienced.
Soon, I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I let all of the bad thoughts in – that I would never get better, that I would be in pain the rest of my life, and that I would never be able to do anything productive or fun or worthwhile again. I was scared and heartbroken that this could be my new normal. It was a pretty dark place to be in.
But as with all rock bottoms, there is always a way onwards and upwards. I’ll save the details for now, but with the help of my family, I began to remember that even if things were unbelievably hard, I was still ok. And that even in your lowest points, you have a choice.
You can either choose to succumb to it all, or you can choose to not let the difficult experiences define you.
And so I came upon my new mantra: Choose joy.
Yes, I might be in pain every day and it might be really, really hard to get out of bed each morning. But would I let that ruin everything for me and crush my zest for life? No.
I found a quiet, peaceful comfort in that mantra. Every time I started to feel overwhelmed and hopeless and then remembered my mantra, I could physically feel myself exhale in relief, knowing that despite all odds I could still Choose Joy.
I decided then that I was going to continue to live a good, fulfilling life, despite this giant challenge of migraine that I was facing.
And so, things got better from then on out. It was a simple shift, but a profound one. I still felt the pain and fatigue and fog every day, but I also felt hope again when I remembered the power of being able to choose, despite all that.
With that shift in my perspective, I started to take action and made little changes each day. I started to think about things in terms of steps forward – however big or small they could be that day (and let’s be honest, they were pretty small there for a while).
I got creative again by bringing art back into my life, which was something I could still do from the couch when my brain wasn’t working very well. It was something that fueled my joy and made me feel like I was doing something fulfilling. I put on my tennis shoes and walked every morning, even if it was just for a few minutes, bringing routine and physical activity back into my life. I honored my body, and also challenged it in gentle, respectful ways.
They were baby steps, but taking any step forward whatsoever felt so much better than taking none at all. It’s an idea that I focus on with my coaching clients a lot – the idea of forward movement – but one I had forgotten about myself.
Now, I’m on the other side of the low point. I’m still not completely migraine-free and some weeks are better than others, but I’m a lot closer. I’ve been able to return to many activities and pursuits that I had to put aside since at that time. My steps are slowly getting bigger, and I can finally look up and think about the big picture and what’s next for me.
So, you might be wondering, what is next?
Those hard months got me thinking a lot about migraines, and how so many people focus on triggers and remedies and finding a cure. And while I am committed to continually searching for relief and working out this puzzle that is migraine, I’ve come to believe that there is something really missing from this picture.
Migraine-free life is clearly the goal for all of us, but what about what we do in the meantime, while we work out the solutions? What about the choices we have each and every day? Who supports migraine sufferers, in particular, to keep choosing joy and hope and fulfillment and to keep taking steps forward even when they still are getting migraines?
And that’s when it hit me. I wanted – no needed – to offer migraine-specific health and wellness coaching, to do just that. To support fellow migraine warriors in taking back control, in living their best life despite their migraines.
Introducing: Migraine Coaching
And so, I am now launching Cultivate Balance Migraine Coaching – a program geared specifically towards people living with migraines who want to thrive in the face of this great challenge.
I can’t wait to get started in helping those of us with migraines to live better. To become happier, healthier, and more balanced – starting right now.
Get migraines yourself? Know anyone who does? Please send them my way.
You can sign up for a migraine coaching consultation (free 30 minute phone call!) here.
(And if you don’t get migraines? Never fear, I’m still continuing my practice of general health and wellness coaching. Don’t hesitate to reach out if that’s what you are looking for. I’m simply shifting a large part of my coaching practice to focus on individuals with migraine. But all are still welcome, and always will be. 😊)