Stress is unavoidable and is, unfortunately, a trigger for the frequency and severity of migraines. Tight muscles, anxiety, lack of sleep, uneven meal schedules — all of these can be effects of stress and migraine triggers. So how do you manage stress when life must go on?
How to Manage Stress
Write, write, write
Make a list with two columns: Must Do and Could Do. Must Do might have items like: go to work, take care of kids or pets, pay bills. Could Do might have things like: clean the house, exercise, see friends. Then make sub-categories within the list with how and where you can get help with each item. For example, “go to work” — do you know your company’s sick leave policy? Do you have a migraine buddy (a co-worker who understands your migraines) who you can ask for help when your pain is severe? Being able to prioritize more effectively and see where you can get help can reduce your stress.
Protect your time
When you’re in chronic pain, your free time is valuable. You may have a limited amount of time where you feel well, and you may need the time to take care of yourself or other responsibilities that can drift when you’re in pain. Work on ridding yourself of any guilt associated with protecting your time. You don’t owe anyone this time. Taking care of yourself during this free time will reap benefits down the line.
Watch the letdown
Sometimes we don’t get migraines until the stress is over, which is often called a “letdown migraine” or “Saturday syndrome.” You stay tight and focused all week and when you get a moment to rest — BAM! The migraine hits. Often this occurs because our routine changes — meals, sleep and exposure to light can be different when we aren’t working or in the middle of everyday stress. It can be tempting to stop paying attention to our routines, but you’ll want to keep your routines consistent, even on weekends or on vacation.
Talk, talk, talk
71% of migraine sufferers report stress as a trigger, and this number goes up when the sufferer has a history of emotional or physical trauma. Talk therapy has been shown to significantly decrease stress, which then decreases migraines. Having a neutral party to talk to can be a wonderful way to unburden yourself of daily stress or old trauma. Consider looking into weekly therapy. Online, text or phone therapy is popular now for those who have trouble fitting one-on-one therapy into their schedules.
Life doesn’t stop because you have migraines, and no one knows that better than migraine sufferers. To reduce daily stress, keep your routines consistent, share your stress and trauma, and organize your priorities before you become overwhelmed.
Our Team: We are Here to Help
We are a small, dedicated app development team that wants you to better understand your migraines and triggers. Everyone on the team has lived with migraines at some point in their lives. We are your community, and we’re here to help. Reach out any time with questions. [email protected].
As always — please seek the advice of a doctor for medical questions. Our app team cannot give medical advice.
Track Your Triggers
Get the Migraine Insight Tracker – iOS App Store
Write to us [email protected]