For optimal migraine management we not only need to be active members of our health care teams, we also have to pay special attention to self-care. We need to prioritize self-care needs and be sure they’re met.
Migraine self-care needs:
There are several self-care needs that may be necessary for us, including:
- taking our daily preventive medications;
- managing our triggers, and avoiding any that are avoidable;
- refilling our prescriptions; and
- setting up and keeping appointments with our health care team.
Additional self-care needs:
It’s vital that we remember that our bodies are similar to ecosystems in which everything affects everything else. Better overall health can mean fewer migraines. Poorer health leaves us more susceptible to our migraine triggers, much like it leaves us more susceptible to getting a cold or the flu. Here are some of the physical general health self-care needs that we should remember:
- proper sleep and rest;
- adequate hydration;
- proper nutrition;
- appropriate exercise;
- setting up and keeping appointments with our health care team; and
- getting flu, pneumonia, and other vaccines as needed.
It’s also important to remember our mental and spiritual health when listing needs. Depending on the individual, they may include:
- stress management;
- setting up and keeping appointments with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor; and
- attending church services, prayer meetings, etc.
Addressing your self-care needs:
The lists above are examples of what our self-care needs may be. We’re distinct individuals, so we’ll have our own unique lists of self-care needs. Please make your own list, then prioritize it. You can color code your list or mark it in any way that works for you. Some of these needs need daily attention; others need attention at differing intervals. Make a chart, add items to your calendar, put your needs on a spreadsheet.
However you choose to prioritize and address your self-care needs, just be sure to pay attention to them. The combination of prioritizing and meeting our self-care needs and working as a partner with our health care team is a winning combination for everyone.
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+.