My Morning Routine…Sometimes
Waking up with painful migraines nearly everyday means having a morning routine that might look a little strange or different to those who don’t live with the disease. For me, extra time and care is usually needed in order for me to get ready for the day, and morning commitments are difficult to arrange because I never know how long it will take to get ready, or if I will be well enough to drive into town in a certain amount of time or at all.
Mornings disrupted by migraines
Many people who live with migraine know well how unpredictable the disease can be. For me, it was always a struggle to force myself to quickly get ready to head into work when I had to show up for shifts at 9:00 am, and a lot of times, even with preparation and routine planning, migraine would require a bit more time than I had. I thought I would share what an average morning looks like for me when I wake up with a migraine. Note: This is a description of my routine when I am home alone and getting ready for the day. When my caretaker is home from work or has the day off, things are a lot different and easier in ways. On mornings when they are home, they usually get breakfast for me and help me by asking if I need anything.
My morning routine
In the mornings, the first thing I do is take my medications. I keep a pack of bottled water and sometimes ten or more medications and vitamins bedside, for migraines, asthma, allergies, pain, and nausea. Some of the medicine has to be taken with food, so I make a point to try to work towards breakfast soon after waking up. There are some days when I cannot make breakfast or am not able to eat as soon as I would like, but it is a high priority item for me.
Jaw pain and needing more sleep
After waking up and taking my medications, I usually am not able to jump right out of bed. Lately, I have had such intense migraines during the night that I wake up with sore teeth and jaws from clenching so tightly down on my teeth at night. I usually lay in bed for a while massaging my jaws and my temples until I feel well enough to head to the bathroom. There are some mornings when I lay in bed for more than an hour after waking up because I just don’t feel well, and other times I even go back to sleep. I am lucky that right now I don’t have to go into work early in the morning, so I have the time to adjust to the day and even go back to sleep if I need to. I usually set my morning alarms for 9:00 am, with the goal to be up and about by 11:00 am.
The comfort of a hot shower
Then, there is my favorite part of the morning: Showering. It is one of my most prized activities when I have a migraine because it almost always makes a noticeable difference in my pain level. The warm water really helps to soothe the pain in my head and it acts as heat therapy. I usually massage my head while the water runs down and sometimes it gives me enough relief that I feel almost ‘normal’ for awhile. Sometimes during the day, even if I have already showered, I will shower again for the heat therapy. I get dressed in comfortable clothing after showering.
Using breakfast to reduce my pain
After showering, I have breakfast. When I have a migraine, plain is the name of the game. Simple, bland, and easy are my go to’s. I keep fruit on hand, and will have fruit and tea or coffee in the morning. Coffee is a toss up, sometimes caffeine helps relieve migraine pain for me, and other times it makes things worse, so if things are really bad I go for decaf tea. Having a hot beverage, just like the hot shower, seems to help and makes me feel calm and at ease. If I am experiencing nausea in the morning the tea also helps to soothe the feeling of needing to throw up and can help keep my breakfast down.
Resting in a dark cool room
After breakfast, when my migraines are really bad, I tend to lay back down. This is true especially if it is early enough. Being chronic means bending to the will of migraine sometimes, even if I have plans or want to go out and about. Sometimes I can’t. Lately I have been spending more time in bed with pain, but it can be nice to have the entire house to myself. When it is empty and quiet, with the fan on full blast and curtains drawn, I find relief in resting in a dark cool room.
Taking advantage of a flexible schedule
If and when I feel well enough or rested enough, I begin my work day: running errands, taking care of bills and business, and going to work all happens in the evenings for me these days when I have had ample time to get up and on with things. It is really a privilege to have the flexibility to schedule commitments in the evenings these days.
No two days are the same with migraines
Not everyday looks like this though, and many with migraine know well that one day can look radically different from the next depending on interactions with triggers, what symptoms we are experiencing, and how much tolerance we have on a particular day. On days where I am experiencing vertigo for instance, my morning routine is just: lay in bed. I have a hard time eating or moving, and showering is just out of the question, so it all depends really on how I am feeling. One thing those who live with migraine are really good at is adjusting and adapting!
What does your morning look like as someone who lives with migraine? Do you have any favorite parts of the morning, or any routines that help to alleviate some of the pain in the morning? Let’s discuss in the comments!