How Taking a Break Is Helping Manage My Migraines During the Pandemic
My 6-year-old loves bubble baths. He loves making a connection with every single bubble by touching them with the tip of his finger. I’d forgotten about the bubbles and couldn’t remember why. I guess busy schedules, and the rush to get to bed on time, made bath time just another task to get through, not an activity to enjoy.
Migraine triggers and Happy Breaks
Watching the delight my son experienced while making bubble-beards reminded me of how vital it is to take a Happy Break.Happy Breaks are little breaks throughout the day. Depending on how much time I have, I go for a walk outside, read a helpful passage in a book, open a window, or hide in the bathroom. When my migraines first started, I began utilizing this technique in an effort to deactivate one of my biggest migraine triggers—a lack of sleep.
I have many migraine triggers (one of my strangest is sitting too close to a movie theater screen) and not getting enough sleep is one of them. I must keep a very strict sleep schedule. There have been times I’ve bailed on going out with friends because I know I’ll be out past my bedtime. I’d rather see their social media posts migraine-free the next day than stay out late and spend the next several days paying the agonizing price.
Stress and worry - the perfect storm
These days, dealing with the stress COVID-19 offers, I’m finding it hard to get good sleep. I wake in the middle of the night from vivid dreams about riding monster-sized giraffes or overthinking how I'll explain another day at home to my son. When my good sleep disappears my migraines reappear.
Worrying about my family, homeschooling, working from home, burning food in the kitchen, wondering if we have enough toilet paper, and not sleeping is a perfect storm for my migraines to show up—and show up they have. It’s hard to take care of everyone when I can’t take care of myself.
Taking breaks to ground myself
All of these new daily tasks fill my brain beyond capacity and combined with my daily dose of Topamax, I’d forgotten to schedule in time for some Happy Breaks. It’s true, a Happy Break won’t always stop my brain from hot ironing itself, but I have a better track record when I employ them. These breaks ground me and give me a better life perspective. I’m able to see beyond the stress and glimpse the beauty in the moment. This helps me relax and gets me dreaming of sheep instead of scary, giant giraffes.
Taking time out to care for my head, will ultimately give me more time to care for my family. My Happy Breaks create space for getting a night of better sleep and this kicks my migraines to the curb. So I'm thinking, it might be time for me to take a bubble bath of my own...
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?