Pretty Woman

What do you do to look good when you feel like crap?

Migrane Awareness MonthWhen I was in high school, some of my friends and I had a tradition of wearing our flannel pajama pants and loose T-shirts on exam days. We were comforted by our relaxing-at-home outfits, convinced that feeling cozy and warm would give a signal to our brains that we were not at school to socialize or look nice but to be one-woman studying/testing machines.

This tendency has stuck with me over the years.  When I am feeling especially tired or—as is often the case—ransacked by a migraine attack, I tend toward homey, comfy clothes and a loose ponytail in unwashed hair.  I might smooth the tiniest bit of powder on my face, but any further efforts go unmade. I want to be retreat into myself even as I have no choice but to go out in public and face the world.

But guess what?  Dressing as if I’m about to crash for a nap makes me want to crash. And not washing my hair on sick days makes me feel grungy. And skipping the little bit of eye makeup that actually helps me appear awake and alert tends to give me a gaunt, sick look. No wonder people notice my illness more quickly on days when I deliberately dress down.

A few years ago—I can’t remember when—I tried something new.  I woke up with a migraine episode and had to go either to class or to work.  I took my Imitrex and yearned to go back to bed, but that was not an option on this day. I wanted to trick myself into feeling a little better. I took a nice shower and, instead of my everyday jeans and T-shirt (and instead of my “sick day” outfit of even older jeans and grubbier T-shirt), I put on a skirt and a shirt. I wore my cute-but-sensible flats.  I put makeup on and pulled my hair back in a low ponytail (one that would not trigger the infamous ponytail headache!).  I went out into the world.

Let me tell you this:  I felt like I was able to trick myself into feeling a little better.  Making more of an effort allowed me to feel more energetic and healthy, at least for a brief period of time.  And I’ve been employing this trick ever since.

I don’t meant to suggest that you force yourself out of your home and go through hours of prep work to beautify yourself when all you really need is to sleep and recuperate. All I want to point out is that, on certain migraine days, this trick works for me:  an outfit that’s a step above my normal wardrobe, some light makeup (and—miracle of miracles—an actual attempt at brushing my hair!), and a little extra effort can allow me to have a better migraine day than I would’ve expected.

Have any of you ladies practiced being a Pretty Woman even when your instinct is to climb under the covers and hide?  How have different outfits, makeup, and hairdos either helped or hindered your migraine?

Learn more about the 2013 MHAM Blog Challenge and other MHAM events by visiting: 2013 Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Information Page

June, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is issued by

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