It’s beginning to look a lot like headache season! If the end of the year and holidays don’t stress you out, then you are winning at life. Please write a book for the rest of us. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here deep breathing, inhaling all things lavender and rubbing my temples.

But seriously, how do you cope with holiday and everyday stress? Here are a few things that actually work for me:

This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions are my own. Be sure to check out how you can win a $100 gift card at the end of this post!

1. Making lists– I’m talking about realistic, actionable lists. If I don’t think I can get something done, it doesn’t go on the list. It may go on a Post-it as like a “something maybe I’d like to do someday” kind of thing, but it doesn’t go on my GET THIS STUFF DONE TODAY list. Because the point of the list is to feel relief when it’s all crossed off.
2. Getting enough sleep and drinking enough water– You know, like actually taking care of myself. Funny how treating your body like the human machine it is helps you feel more human.
3. Meditation apps! This is new for me. I started using Headspace and Calm for the last few months, and they’ve really helped me settle and focus when everything around me is spinning.
AND
4. Listening to my body– Listening to when I’m hungry, when I need to stretch, and when I need to step away from noise and screens and devices- it all helps.

That last one is pretty important, and not just when it comes to everyday stress. As parents, I think we try to ignore our bodies a lot. We push through and take medicine and think or hope that things will just go away. But sometimes, like in the case of migraines, they don’t. In fact, it can make them worse.

Remember when I talked about the importance of how to tell your doctor you think you’re experiencing migraines and why that’s so important? I learned about that in a conference call with 2 neurologists- Dr. Tepper and Dr. Kaniecki. And I also learned that overuse of acute medication or over-the-counter medication for migraines can actually cause chronic migraines. 

This is such an important thing for parents with migraines to realize! Because they also emphasized the point that there is no holy grail for migraine relief. It’s not like you can take a couple over-the-counter headache pills, and drink extra water that day, and promise yourself you’ll get 8 hours of sleep, and then they’ll go away. You HAVE to listen to your body and you have to talk to your doctor and seek treatment. The reality is suffering migraines is inherited and a part of your brain’s physiology.

Really, if you’re using acute headache medicine more than 2 days a week, you need to make an appointment with your doctor and discuss a treatment plan, according to Dr. Tepper and Dr. Kaniecki.

And then? Of course, keep your stress levels in check by making lists and meditating and drinking water, but also, don’t ignore your migraines because those aren’t going to go away no matter how many to-dos you cross off your list. Be sure to…
1. After you’ve met with a doctor and have a treatment plan, be sure to follow it and stick with it!
2. Do not overuse prescription and non-prescription medication for headaches- this means more        than 10 days a month.
3. Keep a headache diary to track changes in frequency and intensity as you begin or change              medications. This goes right back to being able to tell your doctor exactly what’s going on.

Now for something much more delightful than headaches- an EASY way to enter to win a $100 VISA gift card! Just fill out this survey– it will take less than 10 minutes, and they aren’t going to keep or sell any of your personal info. When you’re finished, email surveymigraine@gmail.com, and you’ll be entered to win one of TEN $100 gift cards. Winners will be randomly selected and notified on January 5, 2018.

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