Woman in arm chair eats cheese pizza in warm living room light.

The Ritual of Having an After Migraine Ritual

My son’s bedtime ritual hasn’t changed in years: bath, book, check for monsters under the bed, cuddles, and lights out. My husband and I have suggested changes to this tradition, but my son doesn't want to vary one step. His nighttime custom creates as much of a sense of safety as making sure there are no scary monsters under his bed. I get it. I have my own migraine-related customs.

An after migraine ritual

My “after migraine ritual” began as a need to create space between myself and my migraine. I needed to put the awful pain of my latest migraine in the past, and now I have four simple steps that I perform each time I make it through one.

Take a shower

A shower may seem an obvious choice because, after days of lying in bed, I feel unclean. My tangled hair looks like tiny woodland creatures have made homes in it. This isn’t far from the truth. My cat has been finding new and exciting ways to use my hair like a bed while keeping me company. As soon as my boiling brain turns down to a tolerable simmer, I make my way to the shower to wash away my migraine. This first step helps me feel like I’m moving into a more refreshed part of my life—where my hair doesn’t look like a kitty bed.

Open the bedroom window

Since my migraines last anywhere from 36 to 48 hours, my bedroom has been a closed up dark cave. The air feels stiff and heavy so to move some freshness into the space, I open a window. Depending on the temperature, I’ll crack the window for several minutes or keep it wide open for a couple of hours. The room feels fresh after a good breeze has taken away the heaviness of my migraine.

Light a candle

If my head can handle it, I choose a candle with some aromatherapy added to fill the room with a lovely scent. If I’m still experiencing the hangover effects of my migraine, I’ll light an unscented candle. After going through the pain of a migraine, taking a shower, and opening a window, I’m spent. I take a break and remind myself that the worst is over. The candle reminds me that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

Eat cheese pizza

The last step of my ritual follows my craving. I indulge in a slice (or two) of pizza.

Feeling rejuvenated after my migraine ritual

Rituals give structure and create a sense of security. They can be as personal as we want and be designed to support emotional needs. My after migraine ritual allows me to let go of the sadness and pain I’ve just experienced. I move back into a place where the daylight won’t hurt my eyes and my hair smells like shampooed flowers instead of cat food. My ritual offers me a sense of renewal when coming out of my migraine cocoon.

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