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What’s Your Secret: Surviving the Grocery Store with Migraine

The florescent lights alone can be enough to trigger or exacerbate a migraine for many of us at the grocery store, let alone smells and sounds. But we need food to live, right? Though triggers can be hard to avoid, in this What’s Your Secret video, we share six tips from one of our contributors that helps her survive the grocery store with a migraine (or without triggering one).

To summarize Lisa’s tips:

  • shield light with sunglasses, a hat, or other eye-wear
  • block noise with headphones — you don’t need to play music!
  • eat before you go if not eating is a trigger
  • go on off hours if possible to avoid crowds
  • buy your cleaning products online so you don’t need to enter the cleaning aisle
  • bring a list to avoid brain-fog shopping mistakes or omissions

In the comment section below, please share your tips that help you survive the store with migraine so that we can learn from one another!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • JanetH
    2 weeks ago

    I have a favorite mom-and-pop store (not many around anymore!) that I try to patronize. BUT, one aisle has a flicker-y overhead light. So far (knock on wood!) I’m able to zoom through that one and it hasn’t been an issue. I like this store overall because although prices are a tad more expensive, there are fewer choices and less traffic. (Does anyone besides me find 20 types of laundry detergent, seven of them being the same brand with different scents before you find the regular scent or unscented overwhelming at times?) I also like that I know every aisle and where everything is. They are doing some updating as funds permit, but since it’s going slowly, the changes aren’t overwhelming.

    I have a Shipt subscription for Meijer and Target in my area when I’m having a migraine attack or other health issue. It’s been a life-saver. I agree about keeping a running list, checking items off

  • officechik
    4 weeks ago

    I can’t live without Instacart grocery delivery. I hate hate hate hate the grocery store!

  • mrs.s.overall
    4 weeks ago

    Thank Heavens my beloved HEB has offered online ordering for a couple of years now. I add to my list as we need items, helping to avoid brain fog mistakes. Then I place the order to be picked up on my amazing husbands way home from work. It actually saves money as well because I wind up making those impulse purchases.

    I also order from amazon. The Prime membership is MORE than payed for in free shipping. It’s very rare that there’s anything we can’t wait for a day or two to be delivered.

    Shopping is just too hard. I also order clothes from stores where I can return in-store locally. I order multiple sizes, so I may try on at home as I feel up to it. The additional perks of that is most times I avoid shipping fees and no “skinny” mirrors to trick me into buying something that doesn’t look good in real life.

  • glassmind
    4 weeks ago

    Online shopping! Set my device to blue-light filter. Shop between migraines. Delivered to my door! Also helpful as I have mobility, mood, and social conditions.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    4 weeks ago

    @glassmind, I’m going to do some online shopping too! Traffic in my area is already getting heavy. How do you set your device to blue light filter?
    ~ Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • glassmind
    4 weeks ago

    Peggy,

    Online shopping is a life saver sometimes. As for filtering devices, each is unique. Some have @n easy to find option under “display settings”, some must be manually adjusted (like older tvs), some have the option deeply hidden in the menu or programming, and some lack the option and require a “night mode” or similar app.

    If yours is difficult to find an option in “display settings”, I suggest researching the device online or handing it over to a techie in person.

    I have a samsung phone with “comfort mode” that reduces overall brightness and blue light. My previous samsung required an app. My HP laptop must be adjusted manually in “color balance” of the display settings. Same goes for my t.v. On both of these I shift the spectrum toward “red”, lower the overall color and brightness.

    Good luck!

    P.S. I also use low watt incandesant bulbs and faux candles throughout my home along with amber glass bulbs and red night lights.

  • mrs.s.overall
    4 weeks ago

    If you are using an Apple product the blue light filter is called Night Shift. It can be enabled in settings in Display and Brightness. It has a Custom Setting option.
    Hope that helps!

  • glassmind
    4 weeks ago

    In addition to the tips mentioned here are some things I do:

    Shop specific stores even if more expensive because they are more “migraine friendly”. I used to love one particular store before I developed Migraine. After, the same store was a repeat location of triggers and Migraine onset. I had to stop shopping there.

    Shop the same stores so I know where everything is and am in and out. Only shop new stores if they are low in triggers and I am feeling well.

    Send friends or relatives if I need something during an attack (yogurt, broth, cherry juice, or carrot juice often help)

    Give up and leave. I try to make sure there are always essentials and enough food at home. If not, still I will give up and leave. I’ve tried powering through when a store has many triggers or a Migraine has already started. Always better to give up and go another day than have an attack or worsen one.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    4 weeks ago

    Great tips, Glassmind!
    ~ Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • Luv2TeachMath
    1 month ago

    As much as I used to love going to the mom & pop grocery stores, I now resort to the Walmart.com grocery order and “to the truck” pickup. I could not function if I had to go inside a store anymore. The worst part was always wearing my sunglasses… even at night. Everyone would look at me as if I were crazy, but I didn’t care! As a chronic and complex migraine sufferer, I do whatever it takes to make life semi-liveable. I have learned to “not care” what others think about me and/or the simple things I have to do just to get through a migraine.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    4 weeks ago

    @Luvtoteachmath, shopping is difficult for me too and I really like the stores that offer pick up service. I’m glad that you have found something that helps you. ~ Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • glassmind
    4 weeks ago

    Night in a store actually is worse for me if the store fails to implement adaptive brightness. It’s dim outside and glaring inside. Sooo worse. I look for stores with “eco friendly lighting” stickers on the entrance or appear closed even when open (low lights, few customers, no music etc)

    And, yep, online ordering is a lifesaver!

  • CatLover74
    1 month ago

    When you bring a list to the supermarket, make sure to cross things off the list as you place them in your trolley. If you experience a brain fog while you’re there, if you don’t cross things off, you may think you’ve forgotten something, when you actually already have it.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    4 weeks ago

    CatLover74, good point!
    ~ Peggy (Migraine.com team)

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