Danielle Newport Fancher discusses her tips for coping with life on 50% energy.
There’s only so much energy I can spend in a day. My strength is much more fragile when I am dealing with relentless pain, compared to when I am not. If I had to guess, I’d say constant pain leaves me running at about 50 percent of my usual energy level. During my worst days, I run on 10 percent. This means I need to find a way to get tasks done without using all of my energy for the day.
What uses up energy? Everything! For instance, showering, drying my hair, fixing breakfast, commuting to work — and that’s just my morning.
A few things contribute to my exhaustion. My migraine attacks, for starters, are draining. They steal my energy every single day. Even holding my head upright feels like work since my neck constantly feels strained by the weight of my head.
Second, I rely on medication to fall asleep because I am in too much pain to fall asleep on my own. My treatment most often adds to my exhaustion in the late evening and during the morning hours.
On top of that, I’m always fearful of pushing my migraine too far. If I exert myself too much, it may trigger another migraine. This makes me feel very limited and uncomfortable.
I simplify everyday tasks to make my life easier and more efficient. Here are some examples:
My migraine pain is constant, and it fluctuates in levels of severity. Sometimes, I barely get by. Other times, I can do extra things like spend time with my friends.
When I am truly struggling, I cut myself major slack. To conserve energy, I accept that I might need to spend more money to complete everyday tasks. For example, if walking to work or taking the subway is too much, I will take a cab. If making dinner requires too much energy, I will order delivery. If I can’t make it into work, I will work from home.
I need to do everything possible to get by and not look back. In these instances, I may even treat myself to a bouquet of flowers to say, “You are doing great. Keep it going.”
When I am at my worst, my social life is put on the backburner. Personally, though, I can’t spend my whole life at work or in bed. I need some social interaction to stay positive.
Catering to my migraine while maintaining a good quality of life is challenging. What works for me is making time for a casual sushi date with a friend after work. My favorite sushi spot is between my apartment and my office, so it’s on my walk home from work.
I already know that my friends will all laugh at this comment because I often ask them to meet me for a quick sushi date. Such dinner dates add a lot of value to my life. When I am buried in a migraine brain fog, they help lift me back up without using much energy.
I continuously need to refill my battery. I do this by taking time for myself. I love my alone time, because I can relax and not worry about having to provide for anyone’s needs but my own.
During this downtime, I usually watch a TV show or movie on my laptop. Or, I read a book. When I am feeling well enough, I try to meditate. These activities help me to get out of my head and forget about the pain and exhaustion.
Another way I recharge is by writing out my thoughts. Sometimes, I write them down in the Notes app on my phone or in a journal. Other times, I email them to myself on my computer. Somehow, getting my thoughts out of my head and on paper (or keyboard) clears my mind.
Sometimes, pushing through the pain is necessary. In my world, it’s necessary when:
Figuring out what’s worth my energy has been surprisingly important to me. I’ve found that what I am willing to spend time on most is fostering meaningful friendships, being with my family, and learning new things.
Prioritizing well has also allowed me to weed out the unnecessary when I’m not in pain. As strange as it sounds, I have an appreciation for my migraine because it’s helped me to reevaluate what I think is important. That is something I wouldn’t have considered under any other circumstance.
The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for the evaluation, management, or treatment of any condition.
The individual(s) who have written and created the content in and whose images appear in this article have been paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals for their contributions. This content represents the opinions of the contributor and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Teva Pharmaceuticals does not review, control, influence or endorse any content related to the contributor's websites or social media networks. This content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen.
NPS-ALL-NP-01009 JUNE 2023