How to Celebrate Anything

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How to Celebrate Anything When You Have Chronic Illness #migraine #chronicpain #invisibleillness #motivation #inspiration

About 2 weeks ago I was on the phone making plans with my mother for the following weekend when my husband stopped me, saying we would be busy. He then let me know he had planned a surprise trip to Austin for me to celebrate some recent accomplishments I’ve had with The Dizzy Cook. He had it all planned with a stop at Magnolia market, then a visit to Travis from Weige Knives to have a custom chef’s knife made. With vestibular migraine, it can be tough to truly let yourself go. I couldn’t help but think that it might be a tough week for me to travel that much, instead of the normal excitement one without a chronic illness would have. Although I felt pretty good most of the trip, the drive back was particularly hard on me. However, the time spent together making these memories was worth the repercussions.

This is what I’ve learned over the past 2 years – I will regret 100% of the chances I don’t take. I’ve never gone on a trip, felt terrible, and said “I regret coming”. Do I get angry I have to deal with it? Yes. Do I wish I would have stayed at home and never took a chance? No. Because at the end of the day, you’re still living YOUR life rather than letting an illness dictate how you live it.

An observation I made from this past weekend was how often we forget to celebrate. We reserve celebrations for birthdays, marriages, promotions, and babies, but what about everything in between? I can honestly say that the first time I made it through a workout without getting horrible ataxia or vertigo left me more elated than any promotion I ever received in my watch development career. Or when I receive an email from someone who has noticed a large difference in their pain from just a few weeks of the Heal Your Headache diet and supplements, I am beyond thrilled. Why can’t we turn these seemingly small moments into celebrations? After all, when you’re dealing with countless doctor’s appointments, medical bills, and self doubt, finding happiness in small moments is what will truly get you through.

smile if you don't want to | The Dizzy Cook

Things you should be celebrating:

  • When you notice an improvement in your symptoms in any way, big or small
  • When you get a positive report from your doctor
  • When you make it through a day of exhausting and/or uncomfortable appointments
  • When you’ve put yourself out there to try a new medication (even if you’ve failed at it)
  • When you’ve made it through a week of the Heal Your Headache diet
  • When you’ve made it through 3 months of the Heal Your Headache diet (or any migraine diet)
  • When you finally find a doctor who understands you
  • When you have your first 100% day
  • When you’ve made it through a personal challenge, despite your illness
  • When you help someone else with their road to recovery

The idea is that a celebration doesn’t have to include a large party, a lot of money, or a huge effort. Some of my favorite ways to celebrate include:

  • Trying unique recipes, like some from a fancy cookbook such as this or this.
  • Splurging on a higher priced grocery item for a nice dinner, like scallops, lobster, a fine olive oil or fleur de selDon’t forget to light some candles and play your favorite music.
  • Baking buckwheat granola and putting it in mason jars to share with friends
  • Faithfully sitting down with my family for a Sunday night dinner. A roast chicken would be perfect for this.
  • Making cookies or blondies and eating more than one should probably have in a sitting. Heck, add a candle and blow it out as a cheers to your accomplishment.
  • Investing in a new essential oil, skin care product, or a (slightly scandalous) book.
  • Sharing a picture of your accomplishment with your favorite support group or on social media
  • Keeping a journal of all the victories so you can read them at a low point
  • Picking up an easy take out instead of cooking to give yourself some time off
  • Treating yourself to some fun socks that will make you laugh when you aren’t feeling well
  • Booking that vacation you’ve been eyeing for months now (so this one probably isn’t cheap, but I can’t not include it!)

Have you had an accomplishment that you let pass by without celebrating? It’s not too late! Let me know what you’re celebrating and how you plan to do it so we can join you in remembering this happy moment.

willie for president

Also don’t miss my interview with Carrie from Clean Eating Kitchen on migraine diets,  awareness, and education!

Alicia was diagnosed with Chronic Vestibular Migraine in 2016 and has been able to successfully manage her symptoms through medication, supplements, lifestyle changes, and the Heal Your Headache Diet by Dr. David Buchholz from Johns Hopkins. She's the owner of The Dizzy Cook.


  1. Carrie

    Yay! I love this post and your continuing encouragement to take control over migraines and chronic illness and live life!!! You are such a bright light, Alicia. XOXO.


    1. Alicia

      Thank you, Carrie, that is so kind. I need to celebrate being a part of Clean Eating Kitchen too! 🙂


  2. Sheryl Lawrence

    Great post and a good reminder to celebrate life and take some chances sometimes!


    1. Alicia

      Glad you enjoyed it, Sheryl. You’ll have to update us with your “celebrations”!


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