- Migraine Canada - https://migrainecanada.org -

Pacing How

Time to schedule board on blue background

Living with migraine is like a roller coaster 

«I feel like I’m never on top of things. I’m either in the middle of an attack or catching up after one. I feel bad that my co-workers/spouse must cover for me when I am sick so when I feel better I try to rush and make it up to them. That leads to another attack.» Does that sound familiar? 

Everyone would benefit from a bit of pacing, but people with migraine [1] may need it more.

roller coaster with pacing

What is pacing?

Pacing is an effective strategy that allows people with migraine the ability to maintain functional independence without causing an increase in headache intensity.  Many people with migraines report that stress and overexertion can be consistent triggers.   With pacing, people can keep reasonable schedules and workloads and, as a result, keep stress and exertion to manageable levels. 

Pacing is based on biomechanical principles and is closely tied in with personal values.  

Tip 1: Prioritize

Prioritize the items on the list using a system of your choice, then focus on your priorities. This is easier said than done, as we have a tendency to do the easy things that are not urgent instead on what really is important. 

Tip 2: Say no or delegate

Tip 3: Schedule and plan ahead

Tip 4: Plan for buffer time to rest or manage the unexpected

Tip 5: Manage meals

Tip 6:  Relax Your Standards

Tip 7: Discuss with your employer 

Tip 8: Work with an occupational therapist or professional coach

Sometimes, you know what you have to do but you just can’t do it. Maybe you feel overwhelmed, or don’t know where to start, or just don’t have the motivation. Working with a professional can help you and give the kickstart you need to really change your habits effectively. Pacing requires a lot of flexibility. Occupational Therapists are used to find concrete strategies. Yes, money is required, but it might be a very wise investment. 

In summary, pacing is a skill that you can learn to manage your time better and get away from the crazy migraine roller-coaster. Give it a try!