5 Migraine Self-Care Tips
Migraine self-care is a simple, yet powerful way to better manage the frequency and severity of
migraine attacks pain. Many members of the migraine community feel that self-care for migraine may relieve migraine-triggering stress levels. When you are in the middle of a devastating migraine attack, you may feel hopeless, as if the pain is endless, and that migraine is all-consuming of time and energy. Enduring an attack that lasts for days or weeks takes you away from your family, friends, and work. Falling behind with work and not being able to fulfill family obligations due to migraine can increase your stress level, and increased stress can lead to more migraine attacks. The good news is that there are many things you can do at home to practice self-care and avoid this cycle. Here are 5 migraine self-care tips that you can try:
Migraine self-care at home
Migraine self-care at home is possible! Luckily for those of us that suffer from migraine, self-care doesn’t have to break the bank. You can have a spa day at home. Pampering yourself with a long hot bath or shower can be an effortless way to relax. Use what you have around your home to give yourself the royal treatment. You can add candles, Epsom salt or other bath salts, and essential oils for your tense muscles. Also, try adding an audiobook or your favorite music to your bathtime ritual to help you unwind. Creating a relaxing environment is also important. This might mean using a migraine pillow that can help you to sleep better. Some home remedies can help with migraine, such as lavender essential oils, etc.
Exercise that can help with migraine symptoms
Exercise can actually help with migraine symptoms because it releases endorphins, which can help to relieve stress and boost your mood. Even if you can’t exercise physically, just go outside! Spending twenty minutes in a natural environment can lower stress, according to an April 4, 2019, study in, Frontiers in Psychology. Spending time in your backyard, or your local park, plugged into nature and unplugged from your personal devices can lower your cortisol levels, a stress-causing hormone. Specific settings and time of day had no effect on the outcome of the study, and that means that any time day or night is a wonderful time to go outside. Whether it’s walking your dog, playing with your children, or just
taking a leisurely stroll, exercise can help you feel less stressed. If you’re afraid of getting a migraine attack after exercise (or an exercise-induced migraine attack), you can try low-intensity migraine exercises, like yoga etc.
Avoid migraine food “triggers”
There are foods that help with migraine attack symptoms, and there are foods that might “trigger” a migraine attack. Putting a healthy meal on the table after a long workday may seem like an added stressor but being in the moment and cognizant of the actions of preparing a meal can have unexpected soothing effects. For example, you probably will stay away from your favorite latte if caffeine is a migraine trigger for you. That’s why we always recommend tracking your food “triggers” with the Migraine Buddy app. The comfort of knowing what goes into your food is not only soothing but also a way to avoid ingredients that contribute to a migraine attack. You can come up with a list of foods to avoid and a list of foods that can help you manage migraine symptoms so you can better control your diet, and ultimately the migraine attacks.
Reduce stress with the creative arts
Tapping into your inner creative can help relieve stress and allow you to create art for your space. Sculpting, painting, sewing, and crafting are all creative ways to soothe the soul. Let’s face it, we all need a positive way to process and express our emotions. Art can be that outlet for you and aid with
migraine self-care. It is important to note that stress doesn’t “cause” migraine attacks, per se. However, it is a huge risk factor for a migraine attack. So go wild, and make time to create your best piece of art. You won’t regret it.
Be gentle and kind to yourself
Many of us are hard on ourselves when we feel have not completed a task perfectly or crossed
off our to-do checklist completely. We spend too long thinking about that perfect comment we
should have made or a mistake we made at work. We lead busy lives and many of us are often
juggling careers, family, and caring for our home. It may seem like we are never “caught up”.
That’s ok. The best self-care tip may be that at the end of the day, it’s ok to forgive yourself and
others. This can be hard, especially if you have experienced some form of medical gaslighting or migraine workplace discrimination before. However, do your best to disconnect from any negativity and give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep. You deserve it.
(The above article was written by Melisa, one of our amazing volunteers. If you’ll like to contribute to the migraine community, join us as a volunteer now!)