Do you plan to make New Year’s resolutions? Many of us will resolve to achieve all kinds of goals in 2023, including managing migraine attacks more effectively. However, it’s important to remember that your overall health improvement goals can often be better achieved by taking small, actionable steps. Here are two tips to bear in mind as you think about your migraine goals for the New Year.
DEVELOP or update a Migraine Action Plan
Everyone with migraine attacks should develop an individualized migraine action plan with their medical team, both for preventive treatment and abortive treatment. Migraine action plans should include:
- Your official migraine diagnosis
- Which medicines and/or medical devices to use, both preventive and abortive, when to use them, and how much
- Which treatments can be used together and which treatments are contraindicated for you
- What to take if your first line treatments don’t work
- When to seek emergency treatment
Since the severity and frequency of migraine attacks can change, it’s important to work with your doctors to update your migraine action plan whenever there is a change in your disease status or other medications.
FIND a qualified headache specialist
The best way to ensure an accurate diagnosis and a successful treatment plan is to find a healthcare professional who specializes in headache disorders – preferably one who has gone through headache medicine education. Find a headache specialist by visiting our headache specialist locator.
SCHEDULE time for rest and self-care
In our hustle culture, we often think that taking time to rest makes us lazy. Far from it! Living with chronic pain is exhausting. It requires strength and tenacity. Taking time to recover from migraine attacks is needed in order for us to recharge. Below are a few tips for self-care:
- Take naps when you need them
- If you know a day is going to be busy, try and schedule a slower day to follow it
- Listen to your favorite music, audiobook, or podcast
- Explore your creativity. Crafting projects, like knitting or needlepoint, can be relaxing. Working on a jigsaw puzzle or coloring in an adult coloring book can help reduce stress.
- Take your medications as directed and when you need them rather than waiting until your symptoms are severe
IT’S OK to say no.
You may find it hard to say no to the things that may trigger or worsen a migraine attack. There’s nothing fun about missing out on social gatherings or work. However, if you say “no” more often, you’ll keep yourself from overdoing it, which may help minimize the symptoms and frequency of migraine attacks.
REMEMBER migraine is not your fault
There is no need to apologize for your pain. Repeated migraine attacks are NOT your fault. The fact that one needs to take medications in public or find a quiet corner in order to recover from symptoms is also not a reason to feel embarrassed!
CREATE and nurture personal connections
Living with chronic pain can be isolating and lonely. Connecting with others who share our experiences can often be the lifeline we need to feel connected. Join our Migraine Meanderings Group on Facebook, a safe space to ask questions and find support.
SHARE your story
There is power in sharing your migraine attack journey. Bringing awareness to this chronic condition reduces stigma and lets others know they are not alone. Consider participating in Empowering Patient Voices. This new initiative empowers people with migraine to “come out from the shadows” and share what life is really like with migraine attacks. We encourage you to learn more and find out how you can participate
So remember: Put your New Year’s resolutions into action by taking small steps toward better health. By taking an active role in managing your migraine attacks and becoming your own best advocate, 2023 will be off to a great start.