How To Stay Connected With Others While Managing Migraine

Written by Lorene Alba | May 17, 2024

Do you find it hard to stay connected with others while managing your migraine disease?

Having migraine can be incredibly isolating. We often stop attending social events and family gatherings. We even avoid leaving the house for errands or doctor appointments. Why? Because we know that the outside world is full of migraine triggers we cannot control. All it takes is a change in barometric pressure, the whiff of strong perfume or scented products, or dealing with bright lights, sunshine, and/or stress to trigger an attack or worsen symptoms. However, isolating for extended periods of time can make managing a chronic disease more challenging. The importance of social connection is often underplayed!

The Importance of Social Connection

The truth is, social connection brings multiple positives. It can improve mood, boost self-esteem, and give us a sense of belonging. Laughter and positive social interactions help relieve stress. Feeling a connection with others can help combat loneliness, depression, and anxiety; emotions that are often associated with migraine. In short, if we want to improve and maintain our mental health, social connection is absolutely necessary. Here are four tips to help you reach outside your “migraine-safe-zone” and start connecting with others:

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Accommodations

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for someone who has never experienced a migraine attack to understand how debilitating the symptoms can be. Often, small accommodations can be made to ensure everyone is comfortable.

If you are invited to an event that may trigger a migraine attack, talk to the host about your concerns. Explain that you want to attend but don’t want to get a migraine at or after the event. Let them know that bright or overhead lights, scented candles and perfume, loud music, etc., can all trigger or worsen symptoms. Ask if there is a quiet, dark place you can retreat to if you have symptoms. Also, explain that if you leave early, it’s because of your migraine and not a reflection of the event.

A little education can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to ask for a migraine-friendly event, you may be pleasantly surprised by the support you receive.

2. Participate In Planning In-Person Events

Two women walking in natureIf you are up to it, help plan events you want to attend. This way, you can help choose the in-person activities, the environment, and help set the rules. Plan low-key social activities—no need to spend lots of time and energy planning get-togethers. Here are few ideas:

  • A walk in nature:  Choose a place you are familiar with that will have the fewest triggers. Consider the time of day, pollen, heat and humidity levels, and don’t forget your migraine treatment “go bag.”
  • Host a potluck or picnic:  This allows you to bring or serve the best food and drinks for your migraine.
  • At-home movie nights:  At your home you can control your home’s lighting, scents, sounds, and more. It is also often easier to ask people not to wear scented products if an event is being hosted in your own home.
  • Off-hours events:  Instead of planning a luncheon at noon when the restaurant will be busy, plan it for 3 pm instead. See an afternoon matinee when the theater is less crowded. Or take a walk mid-morning before the lunchtime crowds and before the sun gets too hot.

Remember to bring your migraine treatment essentials with you. Medications for head pain and nausea, medical devices, sunglasses, and noise cancelling ear plugs can all help. (Check out our migraine toolbox to learn more.)

3. Don’t Forget Virtual Activities

When outside activities shut down during the pandemic, we all quickly learned how to connect more creatively. We can continue to cultivate meaningful, virtual connections. For example:

  • Social groups: You can meet virtually with others for many different types of activities:
    • Book clubs
    • Gentle yoga and meditation
    • Crafting lessons and groups
    • Coffee conversations or cooking classes
    • Group games like Pictionary, Trivia and more
  • Online support groups: Support groups are often vital sources of encouragement, and doing them virtually can offer many benefits:
    • You can join from the comfort of your home (or bed), in your pajamas, in a dark, cool room with a migraine cap on. No one will care!
    • You can participate in group meetings or message and chat with others on different platforms for phone apps.
    • Our 2 Facebook support groups are moderated by people with migraine who are trained and committed to keeping the space safe and supportive.

4. Volunteer

According to Bluezones, 20 Habits for a Healthy and Happy Life, “People who volunteer tend to lose weight, have lower rates of heart disease, and report higher levels of happiness.” There are so many volunteer opportunities. For instance, you can advocate for policy change, facilitate a support group, read to children (online or in-person), raise funds, and so much more. Using your skills to help improve the lives of people in your community, either online or in-person, is empowering. If you are interested in volunteering with Migraine Meanderings, send us an email at We have a fabulous volunteer team that is supportive and provides easy opportunities to help others.

Let Us Know!

Do you find it hard to stay connected with others? Have you found ways to reduce isolation and build meaningful connections?

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