In the Face of Change: Quieting Migraine with Routine
Last updated: July 2023
I’ve been through a series of extreme life transitions in this past year - divorce, house sale, empty nest, and an impending move. I speak from experience when I say that migraines thrive on change. Transition is like fuel for migraine attacks.
When we go through major life transitions, we are faced with related stress and uncertainty that often increases the frequency and severity of our attacks. However, migraines can quiet when we answer the chaos with a structured schedule and focus on the simple things in life.
Not a matter of if, but when…
While we cannot always control when they will occur, we can pretty much guarantee that we will live through many life transitions. From job changes to moving from one house or town to another, most of us experience relationships ending and starting; we give birth, see our children off to college, and experience the death of loved ones. Life is full of dramatic twists and turns.
Migraines love change
Major changes bring stress and shifts in our schedules and daily patterns. Emotions often run high during times of change. When migraine is a factor, it is likely that attacks will increase when we are faced with major changes in our lives. While we cannot control when or which life transitions occur, we can choose how we respond to them.
Put on your oxygen mask first
Just as we’re instructed by flight attendants to place our oxygen masks on ourselves before helping others, it’s key to symbolically do the same when dealing with a migraine during a major life transition. Although it may be hard to do, we must prioritize taking care of ourselves when navigating migraine during an extreme life transition.
Keep it simple
When chaos surrounds you during major changes, look for the simple things in life when you prioritize yourself. Focus on routine. Wake up, eat, and go to bed at the same time each day. Set aside time to rest during the day if you need it. Hydrate. Get fresh air. Aim to get a solid night’s sleep; eat healthy foods at regular intervals; get your regular exercise; ensure you are taking your preventative medications and nutritional supplements. Ensuring these simple but key life needs are being met will help minimize the frequency and severity of migraine attacks as much as possible.
Ask for help
Delegate tasks to others whose plates are less full than yours. Ensure you have an adequate support system of friends, loved ones, and a good migraine specialist to lean on during these transitions, and be sure that this team of people are aware of all you are handling. Taking the time to communicate with “your people” about the weight you are carrying will help lift that weight off of you.
What have you found that helps you navigate major life transitions? We’d love to learn from you. Please add your thoughts in the comment section below.
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?