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How does migraine affect your daily routine?

Migraine can take so much out of us on a day-to-day basis. Whether you have children or a household to care for, or a long to-do list to tackle, do you find it hard to manage it all through migraine? What are some techniques you use to get through your daily routine while managing migraine symptoms?

  1. this is such an excellent question that you've posed. Thank you for initiating this conversation. It's true the impact of migraine goes far beyond the pain. There's the physical exhaustion and mental load of trying to manage life while your body has other plans.

    I've been living with migraine since I was 7 years old, and I think one of the things that it has forced me to do is to keep things simple and try to prioritize well. For example, I try not to have a cluttered house because that's just more to maintain. And I've also gotten in the habit of identifying one priority for each day. So if I can only get one thing done, what's the most important task or to-do? Something as little as that makes me feel that at least I'm getting the most important things done so it doesn't pile up too quickly.

    I don't know if you have kids, but Amanda recently wrote an excellent article about keeping kids entertained during a migraine.

    There's also this article that you might enjoy as well about managing a household with migraine.

    Thanks again for sparking up this conversation. It's an important topic!
    Alene, moderator

    1. - it can indeed be incredibly challenging and exhausting dealing with migraines and keeping up with chores. It's absolutely essential to find ways to do this efficiently and successfully while asking for help from friends and family is kept to a minimum. I know I like to be as independent as possible, but have many difficult days due to chronic illness, migraines, and such.

      The articles Alene mentions have notable examples of techniques used throughout the community. And, as she states, tackling one task or chore a day is more appropriate than say, cleaning the whole house, while doing laundry, while cooking meals for family all in an afternoon. It can be so overwhelming when a migraine hits. Having a calendar handy for days so you can switch up your chores and tackle them better is something I have in the kitchen. I make plans for one day one chore, up to 5 or 6 chores - with days of rest and relaxation or allowing for activities, adventures, and family. If I need to, I take that day or two off for the worst of the attack and reschedule the chore to a free day.

      And I know that establishing a daily routine can help provide structure and stability, which may be beneficial for managing migraine symptoms. I try to maintain consistent sleep and meal schedules, as irregularities in these areas can sometimes trigger my migraines. I have grown children who are out of the house, so I do have it easier to keep a constant schedule than most.

      Also asking for help or hiring a cleaning service if possible is a magnificent way to manage as well. An extra set of hands is a wonderful way to manage chores and responsibilities. I hope you are managing your migraines and home well and that you have help when needed.

      Thoughtfully, Rebecca (community moderator)

      1. Migraine has given me empathy for all of those who struggle with medical pain. I also make a list of things that need to be done and then prioritize them by placing a number next to the most important (1), then second most important (2), etc. I usually can push through the pain and accomplish the necessary tasks, but I find resentment because I never have the time or energy to do something that makes me happy. I am in the extremely time consuming & mentally challenging process of caring for an elderly parent, and managing three households. Some days, I totally feel like just giving up because I cannot keep up with it all.
        I focus on my own health as much as possible, trying to maintain a proper diet, getting a little exercise, and staying on a sleep schedule, but I do find myself up late at night hoping that if I can get ahead with tasks today, I'll eventually have time to do whatever I want the next day.

        1. Wow- your plate is very full! It sounds like you are doing a tremendous job of caring for others and trying to find time to care for yourself as well. This is such a hard balance to find and maintain. Taking care of our aging parents can become a more than full-time job. I like your idea of a list that helps you prioritize your tasks. I feel for you in struggling with resentment when there's just not enough time or energy in the day to address what needs doing. I think many of us here can relate to that challenge. It can be so frustrating when migraine keeps us from what we need or want to get accomplished. And yet, in the midst of it all, you've found a compassion for others rising to the top. That says so much about your character and the way you live. I'm so grateful you are with us and willing to share some of your journey so that we may learn from (and be inspired by) you. Hope you'll keep in touch. Warmly - Holly - team

        2. - Oh my! You do have a harried agenda. Taking care of an elderly parent while juggling responsibilities across multiple households is undeniably challenging and emotionally demanding. It's crucial to acknowledge the significant value of the care you offer and the sacrifices you make for the well-being of your loved ones.

          It's understandable that you might feel resentment when you're unable to find time for activities that bring you joy, especially with the significant responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent and managing multiple households. Dealing with migraines can further exacerbate these feelings by adding another layer of challenge to an already demanding situation.

          You deserve a lot of recognition. I hope you can carve out time for self-care, establish boundaries, and reach out for support when needed. Sending you strength during challenging times. Regards - Rebecca (community moderator)

      2. Yes! I definitely agree with the suggestions already given. One thing that's easy/tempting to do (and is usually a mistake) is to overdo it when you have a "good day" and try to get all the things done on that one day out of fear you won't have a chance to do it later. Pacing yourself tends to work better, and it seems to be the case from what I've read/heard from others over the years. Why does it seem we all have the same personality? LOL! We are so hard on ourselves!

        Some things I'm trying to work on myself with regard to keeping my home clean are letting go of perfectionism, taking advantage of lists (apps), and discovering meal prepping to make the more difficult days easier. Perfectionism can be hard because we want to do more than we feel able to do, but sometimes stressing out over it all makes things worse--and nothing gets done! If I can focus on doing "something" with the dishes, laundry, and the trash each day...I feel better. I may not be able to take out the trash that afternoon (I'll probably be fine to do it in the morning), but I will feel better if it's all gathered and ready to go out, right?

        As for lists/apps...something as simple as Google Tasks, or Microsoft To Do, or whatever you choose helps you get all of the "stuff" swirling around your head out. This is great because now YOU don't have to remember it all! If the app you choose allows you to put dates (or repeat tasks) so that you can simply check off things, this is ideal! Set up your app just for you, and do it a little at a time. Some will allow you to make multiple lists, so break up what you're doing. That helps. Adjust it over time, and it will help you feel more like you have things accomplished. Also, when you ARE sick? You'll know what you're actually behind on doing; don't look at it as a bad thing. This is your ready-made list, and you didn't have to stress to decide what was important. You already did that a long time ago. Now, instead of starting off the day after a migraine and spending half the morning trying to figure out where to already KNOW.

        Finally, just this week I've started trying to make meals ahead of time so that I have something healthier to choose from in the freezer that I can simply put in the microwave or air fryer. This is less expensive, and I know what's in it because I cooked it--it's not quite as processed as buying frozen dinners. [If you have to do that, do that. Those have gotten too expensive for me.] Basically, I watched a few YouTube videos on meal prepping. Don't waste your time on the ones following a specific diet unless you are, too. What I found was that many people are meal prepping for either themselves (like me, for yucky days), for elderly parents, or for differently abled children as well. So far, so good...and it feels really great knowing I have some meals waiting for me in the freezer.

        Mornings tend to be the hardest part of the day for me, so I started with simple small breakfast ideas. Seriously, a simple muffin mix or some egg bites can be made quickly. You don't have to make a huge meal. I'm usually better if I can eat something small with my morning meds, but I don't always feel like making anything--I also live alone. This solves that problem, I hope. It doesn't mean the migraine will go away, but maybe it will help if I can eat earlier. The anti-nausea and pain meds kick in, but I still feel too weak to stand there long enough to cook. Now, I won't have to as long as I prep a bit here and there. It's something I'm trying, but I'm curious if others have had success with meal prepping. Does it seem to be helpful?

        If I'm honest, I don't always feel optimistic day-to-day. I just keep on going. I'm coming out of a rough patch, so I'll be OK. I figure as long as my overall trajectory is in the right direction, then I'm doing OK. Whatever you do? Don't stop...keep moving, even if it feels like you're crawling. You're probably doing better than you realize. Hang in there, y'all!

        1. thank you for many relatable truths and all the wisdom that you shared in this post! From letting go of perfectionism, to letting things linger on your to-do list, if feels like a continual process of letting go. But one thing we are not letting go of is our hope and our resilience to show up each day with a willing heart to do our best.
          Thank you for being part of this community and sharing such encouraging words.
          Alene, moderator

        2. Quite insightful, Sage. Thank you for opening our eyes to your point of view. Releasing perfectionism and allowing tasks to linger on your to-do list seems like an ongoing journey of releasing control and letting go. It can be difficult but a goal that is attainable. I am working on this as well. It's been rough. And although I have a very tight grip on my schedule and chores on a daily basis, I find I am dropping the FULL load here and there and reaching for peace of mind. I appreciate your frankness and you presenting how you go about your days, preparing meals, getting rest, resolving stress, and maintaining your mental health. Thank you for this. Sending you strength to keep going, no matter how slowly. Thoughtfully, Rebecca (community moderator)

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