My first migraine was 8 years ago. I laid in bed, kept my room dark, and tried to ignore the sense that my head would soon explode.
They’ve become more frequent over the past couple of years; a fact I attribute to residual pain from falling down the stairs (twice). Funny thing – when you fall down the stairs (twice), it messes you up.
So heres a little bit of what I do to get through and move past my migraines.
[heads up (pun intended): if you have a migraine or any malady that is ongoing, talk to your freakin’ PCP** Keep them in the loop, be in tune with your body, get treatment if needed [mic drop].
** PCP = primary care provider – not to be confused with PCP / phenylcyclidine, the hallucinogen. It should be noted that having a serious healthcare conversation with an inanimate street drug will not lead to proper medical care.
Anyways, back to the migraine talk.
DURING THE MIGRAINE
I usually experience symptoms before a migraine that tell me I need to start looking out for myself. Earlier in the day I may have a low grade headache and I start to feel like I kinked my neck and my back gets achy. As the migraine nears, I’ll get nauseous and sensitive to light.
These cues tell me to slow down and move into self care mode. If work / school / previous engagements can be rearranged, I’ll do it.
- Hydration: I know that I’ll get a headache if I’m dehydrated, so if I’m a bit achy, I’ll push myself to drink more water. If that doesn’t fix it, I know its good for me anyways!
- Showertime: if I’m about to go into hibernation mode, I want to be clean. Sometimes the brightness of the bathroom and heat of a shower make my head throb worse, but I do it anyways. I want to feel clean and put together when I’m channeling my inner hermit (who am I kidding, I don’t have to reach that far to channel hermit-like behavior)
- Cavewoman: after I shower, I’ll get into my favorite PJs and cozy up in my bedroom. I close all the blinds and turn off the lights making it as dark as possible.
- Medicine (duh): at this time I usually take a prescription for migraines (if you’re interested in what it is, talk to your doctor!), though sometimes I take it pre-shower. It takes about 30 minutes to kick in then I’ll get groggy.
- Put the Zzzzz’s in Zen: since my eyes get sensitive, reading / watching / browsing on my phone are all out. Personally, I find rote prayer really soothing. Repeating simple prayers relaxes my mind and puts me in a meditative mood. I will hold a set of rosary beads (with the least pointy Crucifix – important if you fall asleep then end up laying on it) and pray. Within fifteen to twenty minutes, I’m asleep.
- Obvs many of us have different beliefs, so if you’re reading this for tips, find what works for you. Mentally repeating a favorite song, poem, or memory can also help take your mind off of your migraine and help you begin to relax.
Aaahhhfter the migraine
- Sleeeeep: I let myself sleep in. It should be noted that sleeping past 6am feels like a luxury (thanks Nalabear) so I’ll usually wake up naturally between 6:30 and 7am.
- Be the sloth: I take it slow the next morning. I don’t want to rush back into routine and try to make up anything I missed immediately because that is a solid way to ensure I’ll slip right into another migraine. So I move tenderly and proceed with caution.
- Breakfast: Because I get nauseous before and during my migraines, I keep it simple. I’ll make myself a nutrient dense protein shake that I can slip slowly throughout the morning. I drink one that stocked full of antioxidants and B vitamins to help boost my body back to normal.
- My first love: I sip coffee, usually black. I love coffee normally, but the caffeine is soothing post-headache and helps wake me up from my medicine induced 10 hour slumber.
- Gem gems: these little ginger candies look like tiny powdery poops, I won’t lie. But they’re wonderful! If my stomach is still sensitive, i’ll carry these with me and use a couple during the day.
- Screw makeup: I makedown myself. My face is puffy after a migraine, my eyes are sensitive and red; and the last thing I want to do is try to do precision eye liner. A tinted moisturizer is fine, then I can relax and not worry about my mascara smearing and making look more tired than I really am.
- Taking the load off: because my headaches are so tied to neck and back pain, I avoid carrying things on my shoulders. I’ll pack light or hold my bags in my hands and slightly bend my elbows (reducing the burden on my neck and shoulders).
- 20-20: I learned this rule during a photography course in undergrad. Every 20 minutes of screen time, divert your eyes and allow them to refocus on something 20 feet away. This gets me away from screens for a minute and reduces the strain my eyes are taking in a day.
There it is! My little go-to migraine routine. I hope it helps. If you have any great tricks for making these b*tches more bearable – holla at yo girl! We migrainers need to help each other out.