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HeadWay, Issue #156 -- Scheduling with Migraine - Taking back control
August 21, 2017

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In this issue:

Scheduling with Migraine

Updates at Headache and Migraine News

Say what?! Weekend Headache

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Scheduling with Migraine

For many of us, we could re-title this article "Schedule with Migraine ... is a Nightmare!". One of the most challenging aspects of migraine is that it affects your whole life - whether you're currently experiencing migraine symptoms or not. Should I go out with my friends tonight? Buy tickets for the concert next week? Do my presentation on Thursday? What if ...

It's one of the most cruel aspects of migraine that it keeps us from life's celebrations, from time with those we love, and even adds confusion and doubt when it's not currently attacking.

But that's not to say that there is no way to fight back. There are ways to take back at least some of the control that has been stolen from us. So here are a few suggestions to think about.

1) Change as a Trigger: Avoiding change is neither wise nor possible. However, sudden changes in schedule can often cause problems for migraine patients. For example, sleeping in on the weekend would mean a weekend of agonizing pain for me.

Find ways to keep your schedule fairly regular when you can. Meal times, snack/coffee times, exercise, and sleep times are key. If you can keep things regular, it will give you more stamina when things actually do have to change.

2) Buffer Zone: I learned long ago that leaving a big project until the day before it was due, and then pulling an all-nighter, was a recipe for disaster. If you leave your preparation until the day before, and have a migraine attack the day before, you're sunk. Whenever possible, give yourself a buffer of a day (or more - whatever works for you), especially if you're planning something critical. This might even mean adding an extra buffer day to your vacation/holiday or travel plans.

3) Break It Up: If changes can trigger migraine attacks, why would we spend a whole day playing basketball, and then a whole day sitting at a desk? There are times to focus on one task and work it all the way through. But there are times when we should work harder to break up the big jobs over several days. This may mean actually planning ahead, and scheduling this part of the job for Monday, this part for Tuesday... and don't forget a buffer.

4) Breaks: I can easily get focused on writing this email to you, and lose all track of time, forget to eat, forget to stretch - and then my evening won't be a pleasant one. So I've gone back to a common technique. I have a little tomato timer on the shelf in front of me, and I'm using the Pomodoro Technique. You may have another way to remember to drink water, go for a walk or stop for a snack.

5) Healthy Habits: As you're planning your schedule, don't forget the basics of healthy living. Try to move a little more than you did last week, even if it's just going for a short walk. Can you choose some fruits an veggies instead of that processed snack? Did you know that water is actually an excellent thing to drink? And how many hours of sleep did you get last night? These things may seem like they're just another addition to your schedule, but they can make you more productive today and yield huge dividends in the years ahead.

Planning and organizing. Some of us hate doing it. But small steps can make a big difference. And if you feel like your life is out of control with migraine attacks, maybe something I've learned will help you fight back - just a little.

Updates at Headache and Migraine News

A few recent articles at Headache and Migraine News that you may find useful.

Say what?! Weekend Headache

"Weekend Headache" is not a technical term for a type of headache. Instead, it's a description of a headache attack that seems to be triggered by the changes in schedule, activity, or diet over the weekend (or any time of week when you have an unusual schedule). Weekend headaches are often triggered by sleeping in, and so not eating breakfast at the normal time, or not getting that cup of coffee when you usually would. It may also be triggered by spending more time outside, or staying up late, or alcohol.

For some tips, check out Top 7 ways to stop Weekend Headache.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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