Woman staring at calendar dreading upcoming events due to her Migraines

How to Maintain Your Social Life While Living with Migraines

You make plans and then hold your breath. Will this be yet another commitment you’ll have to break because of a migraine?

Why does it feel like migraines are starting to hijack your social life?

You may even find yourself avoiding plans altogether just so you don’t have to be in a position to cancel them should a migraine arise.

Living with migraines is bad enough. Your social life shouldn’t be compromised too.

So how can you have a social life while living with migraines? There’s no magic formula, but I personally find these strategies to be most helpful.

If you have a big event on the calendar

“Planning to fail, is planning to fail.”

We’ve heard it before, but did you consider it in the context of migraines?

If I have a big event coming up – a friend’s wedding, a vacation or even a holiday BBQ – I need to intentionally plan not to get a migraine.

Often times stress increases leading up to a big event. And what’s a big migraine trigger? Stress!

I have to schedule in non-negotiable downtime leading up to the event. It doesn’t have to be a day at the spa or even an hour massage. For me it’s having a consistent sleep schedule, maintaining my workout routine, and avoiding my food triggers. You may find that other habits are important to you, but putting some boundaries around your time leading up to an event is essential to reducing the chances of a migraines.

If you have to cancel

Despite our best planning, migraines may still show up and ruin our plans. If that happens, it’s important to be honest with friends and family.

If they’ve never experienced a migraine before, it’s hard for them to understand why you can’t just “power through” the migraine. After all, when “They’ve had a headache before, they didn’t cancel their plans.” #itsnotjustaheadache (We’ve all been there, right?)

Being upfront helps them to understand and hopefully develop compassion for why you have to cancel plans.

If you have to leave early

This one may be the hardest for friends to understand, especially if you were “fine” at the beginning of the night. “How did things get so bad that fast that you can’t even stay the rest of the party/concert/(insert your event here)?”

Keep in mind if a friend or spouse says this, it’s likely coming from a place of disappointment because they enjoy your company and not having you around feels like they’re losing out too. If they didn’t care about you, they wouldn’t care if you were around or not. So, having this framework can hopefully help to ease the guilt that often comes with leaving early.

It’s also a prime opportunity to let them know that migraines can come on like a freight train. It doesn’t take long from the onset to needing to be in a silent dark room until it passes. If you have a long drive home, it’s important to leave as soon as you feel it coming on so you can get home safely and get your medicine to kick it as quickly as possible.

So that’s what I find helpful. What about you? How do you best maintain your social life in the midst of living with migraines?

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