For migraine sufferers, self-care during the pandemic has been a particular concern. Stress can be a significant trigger for many, and for some people, the lockdowns and social distancing measures may have made it harder to keep your stress in check. At the same time, having to slow down and stay home may have helped some people come up with ways to better care for themselves.
So, what have we learned about self-care for migraine sufferers?
The Benefits of Working From Home
Many companies are transitioning from an in-person office to a virtual office. If you suffer from migraines you may discover that working from home can help your overall stress levels.
When you work from home you have much better control of your work environment. You can manage the temperature, noise level, and even find ways to darken your room to stave off symptoms.
If your migraines get worse , it might be because you don’t have the adapted equipment that you have at work. Talk to your company’s human resources or related department about getting it for your home office as well.
Make sure that you are properly managing your work-life balance to avoid powering through a migraine because you’re at home. Also, turn off the video function when doing video meetings, and/or try different views. Speaker view can cause problems. If there is a rapid cycling of speakers the flickering effect might trigger migraines. Gallery view is often a better choice for migraine sufferers. If your company insists on using software or solutions that trap you in speaker view, speak to your human resources department.
But being able to control your environment means you can keep water, snacks, and medication handy. It also means that you can get up and walk around more freely than if you were in an office.
Eating at a restaurant or getting take out is convenient. But processed food can trigger a migraine, and when you eat at a restaurant, you can’t completely control what is in your meal. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns caused a lot of people to switch to more home cooking, and working at home means no need to buy lunch. Try to maintain these habits regardless of if you’ve returned to the office. Also, try to resist the urge to eat out frequently.
Cook your food from scratch as much as possible to keep out ingredients that might cause an episode. It can also be challenging to get restaurants to take migraine triggers seriously, especially if only a tiny amount of an ingredient can trigger an episode.
Working at home makes it easier to drink water when you need to. Keep that habit going too. Get a large water bottle to keep at your desk if you must return to the office. Make sure that you drink regularly throughout the day. Drinking enough water is beneficial to overall health and can reduce the frequency of migraines.
Take a Breather
Taking frequent breaks to stretch is also a lot easier if you don’t feel as if your employer is micromanaging your time.
Frequent breaks while working are beneficial, though. So-called “microbreaks” improve engagement and productivity. Don’t be afraid to take needed breaks, and talk to your boss to avoid potential issues. Stretching helps keep your muscles from getting stiff, which can contribute to migraines and other issues such as tension headaches and overuse injuries.
When working at home, people tend to get up and move around more often, and that’s a habit to continue at the office as well.
Try Some Yoga
With all of the time you are saving by not commuting you can take up helpful hobbies like yoga. Multiple studies have shown that yoga is actually a great treatment for migraines, allowing you to take fewer drugs and reducing the number of migraine days you have. It helps by reducing tension in your muscles, improving your cardiac autonomic balance and improving mood.
There are also online videos you can follow if it’s not feasible to attend an in-person class.
Make Sure to Take Your Supplements
Not having to commute means that you have more time in the morning to properly prepare for the day. This helps by ensuring that you get a good breakfast and are more likely to remember any supplements or vitamins that you’re using to help keep your migraines under control.
The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but it has also helped many people improve their self-care. Most especially, being able to control your work environment and rid yourself of a stressful commute can help keep migraines under control. Whatever good habits you have developed during the pandemic, keep them up should you need to return to work.