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Migraine and Isolation – Tips for During the Outbreak

By March 18, 2020Health, Latest, Lifestyle, MAI News, Media

Migraine and Isolation

Migraine is an isolating illness at the best of times, but with many of us now working from home or self-isolating there’s a danger that it may become even more so. Along with the usual symptoms and fears surrounding migraine, we are now dealing with something that we have never had to deal with. We’re frightened, we’re not getting a huge amount of information and we’re afraid for our families, friends and society in general.

Most of us are doing what we can to help everyone else and staying away from others while this thing runs its course, but with migraine this can mean changing routines, having the kids at home, maybe keeping away from the few people who understand the condition, getting used to a different way of life, even temporarily… These things, and the stress of the fear that we feel about the virus are going to trigger migraine, no doubt about it.

Tips for being at home:

  • Try to stick to your usual routine as much as possible. If you’re working from home, do the same hours, take breaks at the normal times and stop working when you’re due to stop. The migraine brain loves routine, and you may be able to fool it into thinking this is just a normal day!
    – Eat, sleep, wake up and go to bed at your normal time, it’s important to do this with the kids too.
  • If the kids are at home, try to organise their time in a similar way as they need the routine too, especially if they too have migraine. Try to organise lessons, even online lessons. Check out CESI http://www.cesi.ie/ Computers in Education Society of Ireland. They may be able to point you in the right direction. YouTube Kids and YouTube Learning are free and have educational material for kids, teens and tweens! Some teachers may use Google Classroom and other platforms to post lessons and send or take homework.
    – At the same time, you need to limit the exposure to screens, so make sure kids take plenty of breaks and try to get them to go outside for a few minutes for some fresh air while always maintaining the safe distance
  • Get some fresh air yourself, go for a walk, even if it’s just around the garden. If you can’t go out, then use exercise equipment and put on an episode of whatever takes your fancy… even stick on a half hour episode of a comedy series and exercise away. This can also help to lighten the mood, make you forget your worries for a little while and make you laugh!
  • If you don’t have exercise equipment, then use whatever you do have, like a doorstep or your stairs to do step-ups, or to run up and down them a few times to keep fit. Use tins or bottles of water for weights or download an exercise app like ‘Bodbot’ where you can do many exercises at home without gym equipment. Turn your garden into a running track or gym. Just remember to try as much as possible to keep the physical impact low as that can trigger migraine.
  • Play in your garden with your dog or bring your pet for a walk, even if you have to carry them. Sometimes just being with a pet can be therapeutic.
  • Do some online Yoga or mindfulness classes – here are some links
  1. Abdominal breathing – https://yogainternational.com/article/view/pranayama-beginner-track
  1. Alternate nostril breathing – https://www.yogajournal.com/videos/nadi-shodhana
  1. Sitali (cooling breath) – Nausea – https://yogainternational.com/article/view/beat-the-heat-sitali-and-sitkari
  1. Humming bee breath – Pain – https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/buzz-away-the-buzzing-mind
  1. Yoga with Adrienne (Migraine Video) – https://youtu.be/QFkAl5wHEbg
  1. Yoga International – https://yogainternational.com/class/yin-yoga-for-migraines
  1. Yoga Journal – https://www.yogajournal.com/
  1. Mark Williams – Mindfulness Meditation – https://open.spotify.com/album/67uxFWx39wI8frDJuF2InX
  1. Sleep Meditation – https://podbay.fm/podcast/123885923/e/1333069200
  1. Chopra Centre Medication – https://chopracentermeditation.com/
  • Limit your exposure to the news, or social media as much as possible. Aside from being exposed to the blue light of the devices we view it on, too much of it is not good for our mental health in general. There’s a lot of information, true and false out there and a lot of scaremongering. We’re being bombarded with negatives. Yes we do need to know what’s going on, what to do and how to help ourselves and others, but we also need to be able to switch off the bombardment and distract ourselves, otherwise our mental health will suffer hugely.
    – Some people suggest choosing three or four moments in the day to look at the news and keep informed,      e.g. at some stage in the morning, again at lunchtime, and lastly at 9 pm at night… The rest of the time just live your best life; if you need to, listen to music or an audiobook or watch a movie.
  • Have a look at some of the things others are doing online to cope with this situation – e.g., Rita Wilson aka Mrs. Tom Hanks has, like her hubby, tested positive for Covid-19 so she’s created what she’s called ‘Quarantunes’ on Spotify!
  • Do something you can control like writing down exactly how you feel. You could keep a diary or log, or you could just use a page here and there when needed. Then try to forget about it, it’s done, in the immortal words of Queen Elsa of Arendelle ‘Let it go!”
  • The Migraine World Summit gets underway tonight – go to https://migraineworldsummit.com to register for a ticket to watch all videos for the week. There’s a ton of information and tips to be heard!
  • Go online and check out the Migraine Facebook support groups like   https://www.facebook.com/groups/cdhsg/
  • Check out some of the migraine blogs and website with really good information, tips and articles, like these;
  1. Raeburn Forbes – https://www.severe-headache-expert.com/
  1. Alicia – The Dizzy Cook – https://thedizzycook.com/
  1. Migraine Again – https://migraineagain.com/
  1. The Daily Migraine – http://www.thedailymigraine.com/
  1. Migraine.com – https://migraine.com/
  1. The Migraine Trust UK – https://www.migrainetrust.org/
  • If your worries or concerns get too much for you, or seem to become more and more overwhelming, that’s okay and perfectly understandable, so don’t ignore them. Speaking to someone can help, believe me, I know!! Try to contact a counsellor, look for an online counsellor through someone like MyMind.org. Or if you just need to talk then speak to someone in Aware (1800 80 48 48 10 am 10 pm), Pieta House (1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444) Alone (Special Covid-19 Helpline 0818 222 024) or Samaritans (116 123).
  • Try not to panic buy or stockpile anything; They tell us that supply chains are fine so find out if your pharmacy and grocery stores can deliver should you need them to in case you can’t leave the house. Some grocery shopping can be done online, although the slots are booked up very quickly, but this may steady off. You can also ask a neighbour or family member to get something for you if they’re out and about and leave it at the front door if necessary.
  • Most importantly don’t forget to wash your hands regularly and often for 20 seconds at least with soap and water. It does actually work, and it can also be therapeutic. Sing something like ‘I will Survive’ or ‘All by myself!’ See this article on how soap works to break down and kill the virus https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/health/soap-coronavirus-handwashing-germs.html?

Much of the above can be applied to your normal migraine days and all of the above is much more easily said than done, but hopefully we’ll get through it all soon.

Keep our front-line people in your thoughts and prayers, we really need them, and we need them to be fit and well, or else they can’t help us, so be kind to them, be kind to others and be kind to yourself!

Stay safe!

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