It’s bad enough that we have to deal with unfriendly environments when we’re away from home. Our homes should be our refuge, the place that’s safest and most comfortable for us. Let’s take a look at ways to make our homes more friendly toward us when we have a Migraine or headache:
1) Reduce or eliminated perfumed and fragranced items in your home, especially if they’re a trigger for you. If fragrance seems not to be a problem for you, or if it’s a minor problem, limit yourself to a single fragrance rather than mixing fragrances. Consider candles, room fresheners, potpourri, etc.
Remember, fragrances can quickly gang up on us when we have a headache or Migraine. They can very quickly add to our nausea, making our home an unpleasant place for us. So, plan ahead, and reduce fragrances now.
- Following the fragrance thought: If you’re sensitive to fragrances, keep that in mind when you shop for cleaning products. Even if they don’t contain fragrance, the smell of the chemicals in them can linger and either be a trigger or make you feel worse if you have a headache or Migraine. Even some of the products that make the bathroom bowl “sparkling blue” have fragrance, so read the labels.
- Choose a room that’s in as quiet an area of your house as possible.
- Install darkening shades on the windows so you can make it as dark as possible.
- If you’re more comfortable lying down when you have a headache or Migraine, be sure there’s a comfortable place to lie down. If you need to sit or recline, try a nice recliner or comfortable chair.
- Put a small lamp with a low wattage bulb in your room.
- Be sure to have a box of tissues and a trash can.
- Some people find that the fragrance of peppermint or peppermint candy can help with nausea. If you’re one of those people, keep a peppermint candle or some peppermint candy in your room.
- If you can tolerate soft sound, you may want to have a CD player with soft music CD’s or a relaxation CD.
- Check to see that other items of necessity and comfort are close.
- This can also be a good place for your meds, as mentioned below.
4) Simplify household chores by making lists of tasks that need to be done on a daily basis and tasks that need to be done on particular days. Do this on the computer so you can change them easily and print copies as needed. If they’re delegated to family members, make note of who is to do what. Keep copies of them in a place where everyone knows to look for them. Then, if you’re unable to do or oversee chores, your home can still run smoothly and remain friendly to you instead of becoming a stressor.
5) Find a safe, special place in your home for your medications that’s easy for you to access but where nobody else will find them, especially children. The bathroom is not a good place for medications because of the temperature changes from hot baths and showers. If available, a locking night stand drawer is an excellent location.
- If you can’t eat when you have a headache or Migraine, it’s still important to keep yourself hydrated. Be sure to talk to your doctor about antinausea meds.
- Then be sure to keep your pantry stocked with what you like to drink. If you can’t eat, think about nutrition when selecting drinks and consider juices and broths.
- If you can eat, try to keep foods you’ll eat at these times stocked. You can cook ahead and freeze to make things easier. “Comfort foods” tend to be good at these times, but don’t compound things by forgetting and eating trigger foods.
- Install a darkening window shade so you can make the bathroom dark.
- Put a good nightlight in the bathroom. That’s probably all the light you’ll need, and possibly all you’ll be able to tolerate at times.
- Keep a roll of paper towels and some small trash bags in the cabinet. That way, if you have to clean up after yourself, it’s all disposable.
- If there’s room, stash a small pillow in the bathroom. If you’re sick, you may need to sit on it or even lie down for a few minutes.
The tiniest things can add to our discomfort and pain when we have a Migraine. By preparing in advance, we can be sure we have the quiet and comfort we need.
© Teri Robert, 2007
Last updated December 11, 2007.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.