10 Popular Self-Care Tips from the Migraine Buddy Community
When a migraine hits, there’s so much to take in at the same time—pain that never seems to end, not knowing what had triggered the attack, missing out on precious family time, feelings of desperation and loneliness, etc.
Rough days like these can be hard to get by and so today, we would like to spread a little positive energy by sharing some self-care tips from the Migraine Buddy community!
Get enough (and good) sleep
“It’s ok to take a rest day, sleep is so important. If you put your own health first, other problems will get easier to solve.”
“I try to regulate my sleeping schedule as much as possible.”
“Making quality sleep a priority.”
“Go to bed at the same time every night.”
Indeed, sleep was mentioned very often by Migraine Buddy users as something that they do to take care of themselves. We agree wholeheartedly because lack of sleep is among the most common triggers for migraine. And it’s certainly not just sleeping, it is about sleeping on a regular schedule, having good sleep habits, and feeling well-rested in general!
Exercise doesn’t always have to be intense cardio workouts and running on treadmills (if that works for you, it’s also fine!). In fact, many users suggested walking as a form of exercise! The common point mentioned is that no matter which physical activity you pick, just make sure that you do it regularly!
“Taking a walk in the countryside with a camera.”
“Whatever exercise you find you enjoy, make it a regular habit.”
“Get some exercise no matter where or when.”
“Exercise in green spaces.”
“Light physical exercise”
“Regular exercise is really important even if it’s only a 20-minute walk.”
“Book a weekly walk with a friend or join a gym if exercise is helpful.”
“Exercise makes a huge difference to both mental health and migraine management”
“Incorporate a meditative exercise that you enjoy into your routine.”
“Take deep breaths often, practice meditation.”
“Daily meditation before bed.”
“Yoga and meditation sound cliche but once I actually seriously started practicing them my mind changed.”
“Meditation even 5 or 10 minutes a day during work hours!”
“Starting the morning with a quiet stretch time followed by meditation and a walk is a definite migraine reducer.”
A common understanding by many is that meditation can be a great way to relieve stress, and a good habit to have even when you’re not stressed out! There are various types of meditation, don’t be afraid to explore them and see if meditation is something that you would enjoy. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s completely fine as well!
Eating well, according to the community, can mean many things depending on your condition. Some suggest eating regularly (at fixed times every day), while others try to keep their eating habits healthy by cutting out sugars, avoiding alcohol, and also to identify food sensitivities if possible!
“Avoid food additives and preservatives.”
“Avoiding gluten and processed foods.”
“Try not to eat to much candy and fast food”
“Eat fresh food, don’t skip meals.”
“Cut out sugar and processed foods out of your diet.”
“Eat healthy, but don’t completely cut out your guilty pleasure foods!”
“Eat dinner on a schedule with fiber.”
“Eat well (may benefit from working with a registered dietician).”
“I stick to a strict routine daily, try to eat at the same time every day.”
This may go without saying, but drinking enough water throughout the day is quite essential for the healthy functioning of your body. We’re often so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to keep ourselves well-hydrated. Spice up your hydration habits with cute water bottles, a daily hydration checklist, or even add slices of lemon/orange into your water for some natural burst of flavors!
“Drink plenty of water.”
“Drink lots of water throughout the day.”
“Drink half your body weight in oz of water daily.”
“Drinking water really does help you feel good.”
“Drink plain water in the quantity recommended for your body size.”
“Water is essential, carry it everywhere.”
“Not skipping meals and drinking enough water has reduced my migraines.”
Listening to music
“Play music that soothes or puts you in a happy mood!”
“Don’t worry about performing socially for others, don’t worry about being a burden, and listen to good music.”
“Finding music to destress with.”
“Listen to music to decrease anxiety and improve mood.”
“Lie down and listen to music.”
“Listen to relaxing music when driving!”
“Put on quiet music like lo-fi and stay away from screens for a while, make a playlist of songs you love, or a youtube playlist of funny videos that cheer you up.”
“Listening to upbeat music.”
“Listen to soothing music, dance to your favorite songs and sing!”
Put on your headphones, or blast it through your speakers. Whatever music you like, just put it on and have a good time jamming along to it! Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be music with lyrics, it can be the sounds of nature—birds chirping, waves crashing on a beach, the rustling of leaves, etc. No judgment here, as long as it makes you feel good!
Keep in contact with support networks
Get in touch with your friends, or your preferred support network, and spend some quality time with them. Have a hobby that you both enjoy? Make some time to work on it together! Some ideas suggested by the community include going on a hike, sipping on afternoon tea and cakes, or just putting on a Netflix film and enjoying each other’s presence!
“Writing a positive letter to a friend.”
“Regular contact with friends.”
“Weekly check-in with a core group of friends.”
“Having strong support system – spouse, friends and animals.”
“Stay in touch with friends and family, even if it’s just through a group text.”
“Get together with good friends.”
“Lunch dates with friends.”
“Having someone to see or somewhere to be at a specific time makes it more likely you will do the thing you know helps.”
Forget about the real world for a bit—pick up a book that really catches your attention (it doesn’t always have to be a book, some people enjoy gossip magazines too) and just immerse yourself into the storyline. Reading can be therapeutic, and whether you enjoy fiction or non-fiction genres, there’s always something that you can take away after you’re done with a book.
“Reading a good book helps get your mind off of a stressful situation. It doesn’t have to be a big grand action.”
“During a migraine, if the TV has too much noise and light I read comic books.”
“Read books as an escape.”
“Reading before sleeping (nothing too exciting).”
“Read a good book at bedtime.”
“Read or listen to a funny audiobook or podcast.”
“Reading celebrity gossip.”
It is okay to say “no”
It sounds simple when put across like that, and we know that the thought process involved in saying “no” is never an easy one. We have to overcome the feelings of guilt that constantly gnaw at the back of our heads, but ultimately, it is still for the best when you reject or avoid things that are not good for you.
“Say no when you have to.”
“Don’t have afraid to say no.”
“It’s ok to say no, don’t feel bad about taking a down day, allow others to help.”
“It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Celebrate even the smallest of victories.”
“Know when to say no to things. Take time for YOU!”
“Learn to say no, worry less about what other people think, put your health first.”
“Do not be afraid to say no or cancel plans when you know it will negatively affect your health.”
“Valuing yourself and learning that it’s ok to say no to things sometimes.”
“Limit social engagements and learning to say no!”
Take time for yourself
Aside from everything listed above, the community also shares a general sentiment to simply put yourself first. There is no one else who knows you better than yourself. Here are some words of encouragement to help tide over difficult days:
“Don’t wait until you’re burnt out to take breaks, on days you are tired remember even small workouts are better for you than none.”
“Give yourself permission to rest, take time to breathe, accept help.”
“You are not being selfish to look after yourself. You are not alone. Little victories every day make the time go by.”
“Treat yourself like you’d treat your friends, you shouldn’t wait for a bad mental health day before you finally start treating yourself, self care isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity.”
“Take time out for yourself, write down your feelings and frustrations, remember every day is a new day & that everyone is going through their own journey.”
“Put yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty jug.”
“SEEDS for migraine: Sleeping, Eating, Exercise, Drinking, Stress Management.”
“Find what’s works for you. Self-care means making time to do the things you love. There are different types of self-care: body, mind, heart, and soul. Make sure you’re doing something from each category to help you feel at your best. Start small. I started with facial masks at home once a week. Then I added in exercise for 5 minutes a day and meditation for five minutes a day. By starting small with something you can commit to, it feels manageable and you can add more on as you see fit.”
“Rest even when you’re not tired.”
“Make getting yourself better priority number one then maintain with the practices you find helpful i.e. meditation, exercise, journaling, painting, etc. Remember, you are just as valuable, important, and lovable as everyone else. Breathe!”
“Don’t beat yourself up for not doing more.”
There are so many more tips that we would love to share with you, but for now, we hope these ones are enough to get you started! Self-care is important—sometimes we don’t realize the need to take care of ourselves first before caring for others. Remind yourself gently that it is okay to put your needs before everything else, and most of all, it is okay to be not okay. ?