5 Ways Migraineurs Can Cope in Quarantine

These days, some migraineurs are finding themselves pleading with their body to “Please let this pain be a migraine.” Many would rather suffer from a migraine than contract the novel virus gripping our communities by the throat and upending businesses, households, and personal lives.  With symptoms resembling the flu, including headaches, COVID-19 has all of us worried, but especially migraineurs and those with preexisting conditions.

The world is shutting down, but people are not. Migraineurs and people with chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes must be hypervigilant with preventive measures and self-care regimens. You don’t want to be in a hospital right now, so you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid needing to go there.  Here are 10 things you can do to help you stay safe and healthy through these unprecedented times. 

1.       Stick to Your Routine

I can’t emphasize this one enough, so it’s the first one I’ll cover. Do what you can, however, you can, to stick to your routine. If you don’t have a method yet, this is an excellent time to create one.

2.       Stress

I realize how ridiculous it may sound for me to tell you to avoid or reduce stress at such a time, but this is a massive trigger for most migraineurs. Find ways to laugh and joke. If you’re homeschooling during this crisis, be gentle and forgiving to yourself and your kids. It’s tough for everyone. Learn how to make masks or a new skill from online courses. It’s critical to find stress coping skills like deep breathing, 10-second pause, or exercising.

3.       Diet

How’s your grocery store looking? I’d like to hear from you on my Facebook page. Tell me and others how you’re keeping up with a migraine-healthy diet when fresh produce and other healthy items are eerily scarce. Food is one of the top three triggers of migraines, so staying on top of this during the quarantine will take some creative thinking.  For those of us in the Western hemisphere, spring is here, so starting a garden in your yard or indoors may be a worthwhile endeavor.

4.       Sleep

Anyone losing sleep lately? I’m sure most of you just nodded. I’ve dealt with migraines much of my life, and disease as violent as COVID-19 poses a significant threat to those with this and many other underlying conditions. Getting quality sleep may seem like a cruel joke right now, but restful, restorative sleep helps you think more clearly, critically, and creatively. You need it. Try creating a sleep routine like taking a warm bath at 8:30 p.m. and then light reading until you fall asleep. Turn off all screens an hour before bed, and don’t eat anything at least three hours before you turn out the lights for the night. 

5.       Know When to Ask for Help

My heart aches when I think of how this international crisis is affecting the human mind and spirit with these long periods of social distance and isolation. Staying connected in digital and remote settings is tough. Know your limits and consider action plans for what to do when and if those limits are reached. Call, text, and e-mail friends and family. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor (or me!) if you’re struggling to find the help you need. Use technology to your advantage to stay connected. 

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” – Brene Brown

If you or someone you love needs assistance, please visit this page on the CDC. Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline or call 1-800-985-5990. You can also text TalkWithUs to 66746.  Also, I’m available on social media! Connect, ask questions, comment on posts, or simply just scroll. I’m here; we’re all here. Let’s do what it takes to stick together. Visit my blog for more migraine and adrenal fatigue resources and reach out to me if you need any help finding or adapting your regimen.

Sources:

Healthline: Flu, Allergies, or Coronavirus

Forward: Age of COVIID-19

Migraine Ireland: Migraine and Isolation