All of that is to say: There are options out there beyond lying down in a dark room (although if the “Silent Night” treatment works for you, great.) It’s best to start a medication plan sooner rather than later since it can take some trial and error to find a treatment that works for you.2. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible.Depending on how your family and friends celebrate, holidays could mean lots of traveling, staying up late, getting up early, or skipping meals (maybe in anticipation of one large smorgasbord later in the day).Unfortunately, these elements can be a recipe for migraine attacks. For example, skipping meals or going long periods of time between eating can be a major trigger for many people with migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Getting too little sleep and getting too much sleep can also trigger migraine attacks, the Mayo Clinic notes.That’s why sticking to your usual routine as much as you can is key. “It is essential to keep a consistent schedule for meals, sleep, and aerobic exercise,” Dr. Zhang says. “It sounds simplistic, but it is very effective.” Regular exercise—not always the easiest thing to get during the frantic holiday season—can also help keep symptoms in check for some people, according to the Mayo Clinic. (No need to make your Turkey Trot a marathon, though: Going a bit too hard with exercise can have the opposite effect and actually trigger episodes for some people.)3. Keep your other triggers in mind too.Migraine triggers are as unique as snowflakes, but there are some common ones to keep on your radar, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include alcohol (especially wine), strong smells (hello, candles), loud sounds, certain foods like aged cheeses and cured meats, and food additives like aspartame and MSG, among so many others. So the next time you leave a festive party that had a delicious charcuterie spread, plenty of boozy drinks, and loud music and laughter, you may be able to anticipate a headache coming on.If you know of a trigger that is a no-go for your migraine, plan for how you can avoid it, if possible. If wine is a problem, for example, BYOB that doesn’t set off your pain to the holiday party, or bring a fun booze-free beverage to share if alcohol just isn’t your thing. The same advice applies to food: The more the merrier, so bring a dish you know you can enjoy and want to share with others. If strong smells can hurt your head, alert your host (if you feel comfortable enough), and ask if they can avoid scented candles or opt for having gatherings in well-ventilated or outdoor spaces.That said, if you’re not entirely sure what your triggers are, you’re not alone. “It’s often hard to pinpoint triggers,” Dr. Zhang says. And they’re not always a surefire way to ward off a migraine headache. “Triggers are usually partial and additive,” she says. So it’s rare that loud sounds on their own will trigger a migraine—but loud sounds after a stressful day at work on too little sleep? Not a great combination.4. Surround yourself with supportive people.Not everybody gets what it’s like to live with migraine—or will respect the steps you have to take to be as pain-free as possible. So try to choose a holiday circle that does get it. “Embrace the people who understand,” Natalia Murinova, MD, the director of the University of Washington Medicine Headache Center, tells SELF.
Certain scented products—such as perfume, laundry soap, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners—may be particularly problematic, according to Dr. Gill, but it really varies from person to person.5 That said, it’s tough to pin down which particles, specifically, are to blame, since companies aren’t required to disclose the chemical formulations of added scents in their products (they can simply list “fragrance” on the label). Plus it’s tricky to measure just how many irritating particles scented products may be shooting out into your immediate environment.Why are some people more sensitive to smells than others?There are a variety of reasons why some folks have higher scent sensitivity than others, according to Dr. Patel. For example, people with asthma, allergies, and migraine are more likely to have scent sensitivities and aversions, as are people who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations (say, due to pregnancy or their menstrual cycle) or who have some type of endocrine, metabolic, or autoimmune disorder that can cause inflammation in and around the nasal nerves, she explains.6 7 8Age seems to play a role, too, as many people report this issue getting worse the older they get.9 “We do know that allergy-triggered migraine becomes greater as we age, and so the overall threshold for sensitization of the nerve system probably does increase with age,” Dr. Patel says. That said, the symptoms likely taper off after 60 or so, as smell capacity declines, Jonathan Overdevest, MD, PhD, the director of Columbia University’s Taste & Smell Center, tells SELF.There may also be a genetic component—anecdotally speaking, Dr. Patel has seen multiple people with scent sensitivities who claim it runs in their family.10 And Dr. Overdevest adds that certain medications (including antibiotics), time of day, and even cultural norms tied to aromas can influence how people perceive and respond to smells.11How to find relief if strong smells bother youIf certain scents trigger migraines, treating the migraine itself should help you feel better, Dr. Gill says. You can also try out what he calls the “counter-stimulation” technique, which involves sniffing peppermint (maybe from an essential oil roller you stash in your bag or desk) or applying a menthol rub under your nose.12 These cooling smells can act as a counterirritant by relaxing the trigeminal nerve and bringing relief. (Of course, this probably won’t work if peppermint is a scent that usually triggers you.)If your sensitivity to fragrances is high enough that your symptoms—like pain, congestion, nausea, migraine headaches, and so on—are interfering with your ability to function, Dr. Patel recommends talking to your primary care doctor. They may recommend prescription-strength treatments, like different forms of steroid medications or antihistamines, that can block or reduce inflammation in the nose. If your symptoms don’t get better with these remedies, your doctor might suggest nerve-blocking injections, anesthetics that temporarily numb the nerves for a matter of hours to months, or ablations, which use radiofrequency to permanently destroy the nerves so they can’t act up.
When I was diagnosed in the early 2000s, there was almost nothing available to treat migraine specifically. But triptans, which are classified as a “rescue” medication for migraine—which means they help stop or lessen the head pain if you take them at the first sign of a headache—became popular soon after. I started using them and, from there, my doctor and I turned our efforts toward preventing my migraine attacks.I took a closer look at my overall lifestyle—what I was eating, the activities I was doing, how I was sleeping—to try to figure out what was triggering my migraines. Ultimately, I learned that inconsistency is my biggest downfall. If I exercise too much or not enough, get off my sleep schedule, or don’t eat regularly, a migraine attack will be lurking.It took a long time, but falling in love with a new form of exercise helped me make peace with my body.In my 30s, I was working closely with a neurologist and trying different medications and an elimination diet, but I still had not accepted that my condition was not curable. I fought against my body and my disease.Eventually, though, I started to learn that I couldn’t ignore or try to control everything that happens to me physically. It was during this time that I discovered Pilates, and it took me on a different career path for some time. I suddenly found myself on a journey to become more at peace with my body—to listen to it and be truly aware of it. The principles of Pilates completely transformed my life and how I view my disease. Once I had a certain level of acceptance—I can do everything right and will still probably have some migraine attacks—I started to feel the difference physically and mentally.Today, my daily schedule reflects that journey. I prioritize sleep, movement, hydration, and meditation—these are all regular parts of my life that weren’t a major focus before. I genuinely enjoy making these habits part of my day-to-day routine; they set me up for success, so my body can recover as best as possible after a migraine attack strikes. Now, I no longer panic when I feel that all-too-familiar head pain coming on. I know I’m doing the best I can.Advocacy work has helped, too. I’ve partnered with the American Migraine Foundation to raise greater awareness around living with migraine, as well as the need for more research funding. I do a lot of personal research on migraine and regularly go to my doctor with a list of questions about what we should be doing to better understand this disease.Now, my mind and body are much more aligned; they’re working together as opposed to having this constant tension. When you have a disease that can have disabling effects, it’s so easy to want to blame and shame your body. I now try to honor it and accept the effects of living with my condition. I’m also not afraid to speak out about it now. Getting here was tough, but my quality of life is so much better for it.Related:
These days, most of us spend a ton of time staring at screens. We’re working from our computers all day, streaming from our tablets and televisions in the evenings, and constantly glancing at our phones for anything and everything. Screens are so ubiquitous that they’re hard to avoid, which is pretty problematic if staring at a screen is a migraine trigger for you.Migraine is a neurological disease that causes all sorts of symptoms, one of the most common being light sensitivity. This means you are extremely sensitive to things like bright light, natural light, and changes in light, as they all intensify migraine pain and discomfort.As you might have guessed, screens can aggravate this light sensitivity, Dawn Buse, PhD, clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, tells SELF. “Someone with migraine may have a hypersensitive nervous system that finds the light painful,” she says, and that can extend beyond migraine attacks. You might be extremely sensitive to light all the time, which can make all this screen time a huge challenge.In the hyper-digital world we live in, most people can’t just ditch their electronic devices altogether—so we need to go for the next best option: finding ways to deal with it. Here, migraine experts share their tips for managing when staring at screens all day tends to trigger or exacerbate your symptoms.1. Filter out blue light.Research shows that blue light can intensify migraine pain compared to green or white light. This means that if you’re already experiencing migraine symptoms, staring at a computer, phone, or any other device that emits blue light might leave you feeling even worse.1 Dr. Buse recommends trying blue light glasses, which filter out some wavelengths of light that contribute to eye strain. She suggests one brand called TheraSpecs that makes blue light glasses specifically for people with migraine.If blue light glasses aren’t your thing, you still have another option. Dr. Buse suggests swapping your phone over to “Night Shift” mode, which alters its display to use warmer tones and emit less blue light. You may also be able to do the same thing on your computer, depending on the type you have.2. Ditch the harsh overhead lighting.One helpful adjustment you can make in your home is to ditch bright overhead lights. Fluorescent lights in particular are typically too bright and harsh and can exacerbate someone’s headaches, Emad Estemalik, MD, section head for headache and facial pain at Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute and assistant professor of neurology at the Lerner School of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, tells SELF.So, what lights should you choose? Generally, incandescent bulbs are a better option than fluorescent and LED bulbs, and lights with a warm yellow or golden tone will probably be more comfortable for you than those with cooler tones like white or blue, Dr. Buse says. You can also try dimming the lights or using a desk lamp so you don’t even need to turn on those harsh overhead lights. This can also help if you work in an office and have your own space where you can control the lighting to some extent.3. Look away from your screen every once in a while.Periodic breaks from all these screens give your eyes time to rest. Dr. Estemalik suggests taking about five minutes away from your computer or phone every 45 minutes or so. “If you’ve been in a Zoom meeting for an hour, and then you have a break, don’t go to your phone to read unnecessary stuff,” he says. “Just stand up and walk and maybe do other things.”
Ah, menstruation—giver of stained underwear, unrelenting cramps, and for some people, migraine attacks. If you feel a vice-grip around your skull right around the time your uterus decides it’s time for a deep cleaning, it’s probably not a coincidence.“Menstruation is a very common trigger of migraine attacks in women,” Addie Peretz, MD, clinical assistant professor in the department of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, tells SELF. Migraine is a complex neurological condition that essentially makes your brain really sensitive to certain triggers, which can lead to painful (and potentially debilitating) attacks. For some people, migraine triggers include certain foods, a lack of sleep, or stress. For others, the drop in estrogen that occurs right before their period starts can bring on an attack, she says.If you have menstrual migraine attacks, you already know they really suck. “Migraine attacks associated with menstruation tend to last longer, be more disabling, and are less treatment-responsive than non-menstrual migraine attacks,” Dr. Peretz says.So, what can you do about it? Menstrual migraine treatment can be broken up into three general buckets: acute treatment, for when you’ve already got a migraine and are trying to get relief; mini preventive treatment, which focuses on preventing a migraine in the days before your cycle; and continuous preventive treatment, which might be appropriate if you have attacks at other points during the month or if your migraines aren’t responding to mini prevention.“The overall goal is to decrease the intensity and the frequency of the migraine attacks so they have as little impact on your day-to-day functioning as possible. That’s a universal goal of migraine treatment, but especially true during the menstrual cycle,” Mason Dyess, DO, a neurologist and headache medicine specialist at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, tells SELF.Ready to get some relief? Here’s what you can do—because PMS is already bad enough on its own.Track your menstrual cycle and your migraine symptoms.It’s important to figure out exactly when in your cycle you’re experiencing migraine attacks, how bad they tend to be, and whether they’re also happening outside of your period week. “Being able to pick up on patterns about when your migraine attacks are happening most often during the month is extremely powerful for headache providers,” Dr. Dyess says. “That can help us get a treatment strategy together that’s uniquely crafted to you and your triggers.”Consider tracking your menstrual cycle and headache cycle, whether that’s with a physical calendar, a period app, or the Notes app on your phone. The sky’s the limit for how much information you can record, but there are a few key things to cover. “At a minimum, I would suggest tracking whether you had a headache each day, the severity of the pain, whether you took medication to alleviate your pain, and when your period started and ended,” Dr. Peretz says. This can help you and your doctor confirm if attacks coincide with typical hormone dips during your monthly cycle.If you need contraception, some birth control can help reduce menstrual migraine symptoms.Since a change in estrogen levels can trigger a migraine attack, one strategy is to try to minimize that hormonal dip. If this is the case for you, the pill, vaginal ring, patch, and other hormonal contraceptives may help change your migraine patterns. “Some patients go on birth control to make their menstrual cycles more predictable, or to eliminate them, which can sometimes reduce overall migraine burden,” Dr. Dyess explains.
Having these conversations can also help strengthen relationships and build trust, she adds. They can also clue in your coworkers to any simple adjustments they can make in your work setting to avoid triggering migraines. For example, de los Santos is a teacher, and one time the cameras were right outside her classroom door on school picture day. The flashing lights triggered a severe migraine attack and she had to go to the emergency room. “This was a new trigger for me and I didn’t realize how badly I would respond,” she says. “Once my admin and staff were aware, they were amazing—I have great support.”3. Take a break. Actually, take lots of breaks.Susan K. Shaffer, 53, has been living with migraine for about 15 years. Her tip for managing migraine while working is to truly take breaks when you need them, rather than trying to push through. “Save time by taking time,” she tells SELF. “When I feel a migraine coming on, my hack is to literally leave my desk for 20 to 30 minutes, give myself everything I need, and let it pass.”During these breaks, she heads to a quiet room away from people, dims the lights, takes her migraine medication, and lays down (occasionally with an ice pack). Usually, a half hour is enough time to let the feeling subside so that she can return to work.“If I try to fight it, it will only exacerbate the migraine and I’ll be out of commission the whole day,” Shaffer says. “When it comes to your health, give yourself what you need, and you’ll save valuable time in the long run.”4. Don’t forget to dim the lights if you need to.For Marla White, 58, bright light can trigger significant migraine pain. She has a few strategies for managing her exposure, whether she’s inside or out. “I keep my office slightly darker than the rest of the house,” she tells SELF. She also has tinted windows in her home and car, uses black shutters in her office, and never leaves home without sunglasses.Since looking at bright screens, in particular, can be painful for White, she always turns the brightness of her laptop and phone way down. “It really helps to keep the lights as low as possible,” she says.5. Plan ahead for moments when you’re not feeling your best.One of the many potential symptoms of migraine is brain fog, which can cause memory issues and trouble focusing—all things that can really interfere with getting your work done. “It took me years to learn to accept the high brain fog days and be kind to myself about it,” Lindsay Weitzel, 46, tells SELF.Beyond accepting that some days you simply may not feel your greatest, one way to manage the cognitive effects of migraine is by saving some easier work for times when you’re not feeling 100%. “I try to keep a ‘brain fog task’ on the back burner to do on days that I’m mentally not at my best,” Weitzel says.6. Try to make time for regular exercise.Lots of people with migraine swear it helps keep attacks at bay. Exercise definitely helps to reduce stress, which could be part of it, but the research is mixed and some people find heavy exercise to be a trigger—so listen to your body.
If you experience migraine headaches, you’re probably all too familiar with the unpleasant symptoms: The throbbing head pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vision changes can be debilitating and derail your entire day. Migraine isn’t just a severe headache—it’s a neurological disorder that develops as a result of complex changes in the nerves and blood vessels in the brain, resulting in inflammation. While the exact cause of the disorder isn’t fully understood, migraine attacks are often preceded by a person’s unique triggers, which can include hormonal changes, eating specific foods, stress, inadequate sleep, and exposure to certain types of light or strong smells, among so many others.Yet there’s one trigger that is often overlooked: temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which is also known as TMD (but more colloquially referred to as TMJ). According to the Mayo Clinic, TMJ disorders cause pain and discomfort in the temporomandibular joint—the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull—and the muscles that control your jaw. TMJ can also cause restricted movement or “locking” of your jaw. For reasons researchers and orofacial pain specialists are still beginning to understand, the effects of TMJ disorders may also trigger headaches or full-blown migraine attacks.“Physicians aren’t taught very much about how the jaw interacts with other physical symptoms,” Mark Abramson, DDS, a TMJ specialist and adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, tells SELF. But we do know there is a link between the two conditions: People who are diagnosed with migraine are more likely to complain of tenderness and pain in the jaw area, which can also include the entire head, neck, and shoulders. “There is certainly a proportion of people with TMJ disorders who also suffer from migraine,” Belinda A. Savage-Edwards, MD, a neurologist and headache specialist based in Huntsville, Alabama, tells SELF.Why do TMJ disorders trigger migraine attacks in some people?Researchers are still working this out, but have some top theories. “The muscles that are connected to the [temporomandibular] joint can go into spasm with increased use—from talking, chewing, yawning widely, those kinds of things—and [those spasms] can trigger headaches,” says Dr. Savage-Edwards. “But it’s been shown that people with TMJ disorders are actually more prone to migraine headaches than tension headaches.”One potential explanation for the connection, explains Dr. Abramson, is the involvement of the trigeminal nerve, a nerve that is integral to operating the movement of the jaw, but also is targeted by certain migraine medications due to its connection in generating head and facial pain.1Another theory is that migraine attacks may be induced or aggravated by the causes and symptoms of a TMJ disorder, like teeth grinding that can set off the pain associated with chewing. “If someone always gets a headache after eating, the trigger could be the chewing itself,” says Dr. Savage-Edwards. “Or if they tend to wake up with these headaches, and are grinding their teeth and clenching their jaw throughout the night, that can also be a trigger.” Still, we have a lot to learn about the mechanics of how TMJ disorders might be linked to migraine attacks.How can you tell if a TMJ disorder might be causing your migraine symptoms?It might sound obvious, but if you have frequent migraine attacks and you have TMJ symptoms due to a flare, it’s likely the two are connected in some way. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire. If you have migraine and also burning or intense pain in the jaw (especially after eating or chewing), jaw stiffness, a popping or clicking noise in the jaw, an unexplained change in your bite, and/or you know you grind your teeth at night, these are all signs of a TMJ disorder, says Dr. Savage-Edwards.2 Treating it might just improve the migraine situation, although this isn’t always the case.
Living with migraine is a regular exercise in self-compassion. Sometimes you have to adjust your schedule or cancel plans when a migraine attack strikes. When you’re a parent, it may feel nearly impossible to do that. Instead, you’re expected to care for a little person when you feel like someone is repeatedly smacking you in the face with a hammer.But you have to take care of you—even if that comes with a serious serving of guilt. “Parents often place the needs of their children above their own needs,” Heather McGinty, PhD, psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. “Many parents have limited support for childcare, so taking time for themselves may feel like something is not going to get done for their family, which can be a source of guilt that pushes people to ignore their own care needs at times.” And, when an illness is chronic, it’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to not being able to be there for your child, she says.But the truth is, paying attention to your own needs will make you a better caregiver. “If you continue to overextend yourself while you’re in pain, you could feel worse and ultimately be less available for your child,” Thea Gallagher, PsyD, clinical assistant professor of psychology at NYU Langone Health and co-host of the Mind in View podcast, tells SELF.If you regularly struggle with migraine pain, it’s important to talk to your doctor to see if there’s a better, more effective treatment option for you. As for those nagging feelings of guilt, mental health experts say you can do something about those too. Try these tips to help you deal with parenting guilt when you live with migraine.Try to keep things in perspective.Children “are very verbal about their needs,” Dr. Gallagher points out, and it can be difficult to realize you can’t meet all of them in a given moment. If your migraine is keeping you from being as present a caregiver as you’d like, Dr. Gallagher recommends putting things in perspective: “Even when you’re feeling well, you can’t meet every single one of your child’s needs all of the time,” she points out. “No one can. Whether it’s work pulling you in a different direction, family obligations, or other kids, it’s just impossible.”It’s also easy as a parent to focus on the things you don’t do, Dr. Gallagher says, but it’s crucial to factor in what you have been able to achieve. “Step back and think of all of the things you have done for your child,” she advises. Sure, maybe you aren’t able to join an intense game of Chutes and Ladders when you’re in the middle of a migraine attack, but you were able to play the week before. Oh, and you still got dinner on the table.Use this moment to teach your kids about self-care.It’s hard to look at a chronic illness like migraine as a positive thing, but try to see it as a teaching moment for your child, Brenda Bursch, PhD, professor of clinical psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, tells SELF. “Illness episodes provide an opportunity to role model optimal self-care and self-compassion. These are important life lessons for children,” she says.
There’s nothing quite like a throbbing headache to make an already-awful illness feel worse. Listed as one of the many potential symptoms of COVID-19, a headache may seem like the least of your worries when a flu-like illness hits your system. But research shows that for some people a COVID headache tends to linger long after their initial positive test.People living with “post-COVID headaches” are starting to share their experiences on social media, and many of them stress the impact the pain has on their day-to-day lives.“I now get headaches behind my eyes every single day since I had COVID five weeks ago,” one person tweeted. “It’s super fun when 90% of my job is reading and staring at screens.” Another tweeted: “Caved and have booked an [appointment] with my [doctor] to talk about the insane post-covid headaches I’m getting one month post-infection. I rarely get them usually, but now nothing helps!”Anecdotally, a headache seems to be a “very common [COVID] symptom,” especially in those who were likely sick with one of the omicron variants, Thomas Russo, MD, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, tells SELF.Each person’s experience tends to be a bit different, depending on their susceptibility to headaches in general, the severity of their COVID infection, and any medications that were taken to help reduce pain, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen, Amesh A. Adalja, MD, infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF.He notes a headache usually lasts “a couple of days at max” when a person is sick with COVID. So why does the pain persist for weeks, even months, for some people? Here’s what experts know so far.What do post-COVID headaches feel like, and are they common?The pain level tends to vary from person to person. “Viral illnesses are known to incite [migraine attacks] in individuals who have migraine,” Dr. Adalja says. In those who aren’t already susceptible to migraine-level pain, “post-COVID headaches often have more in common with tension or sinus headaches,” Amit Sachdev, MD, the director of the division of neuromuscular medicine at Michigan State University, tells SELF.But it’s not totally clear how often this is happening to people who “recover” from their initial infection. Currently, experts say, headaches tend to be more common during illness, not after. “Most patients with COVID-associated headache will have it in the acute phase,” Dr. Sachdev says, which refers to the period of time when a person feels sick with symptoms. “This is common for many viral illnesses, where pain either in the head or the body is common.”However, one study published in October 2022 offers a bit more insight. Researchers analyzed data from 200 people who contracted COVID-19 and reported having symptoms post-infection, either four weeks from the date they received a positive test or four weeks after they were discharged from the hospital. (Both hospitalized and non-hospitalized people were included.) The researchers discovered that 66.5% of these people said they still had headaches, which was the second most common self-reported symptom next to fatigue. The sample size of the study is small and more research is needed, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that neurological symptoms, headache included, are commonly reported in those diagnosed with long COVID.
The way I set their room up is helpful for me. There is nothing dangerous they can grab and nothing that will fall on them. It’s kind of Montessori-style, so they’re free to walk around. All the outlets are covered and they only have access to age-appropriate kid things. Plus there’s a child gate so I know they can’t escape. Knowing they have this space brings me ease because there are moments during a migraine attack when I do have to step away.In the future, I fully plan to disclose a lot of our health history to my kids, especially because I felt a little alienated when my parents didn’t do that for me. I struggled for a long time with migraine just because I had no idea about my family’s medical history. I don’t know if my parents were ashamed of it or if they just grew up not talking about their health issues. But I think it’s really important to pass that knowledge down to my kids so they can tackle it even earlier than me if any symptoms do come up for them.” — Nico Shanel, 27, Phoenix, Arizona3. “You need to ask for help and you need to lean on those who can support you.”“For me, it was important not to be in denial about what was going on. If I had been in denial about my migraines, it would only have made it worse. I couldn’t say I was all right and just hope my migraines would go away. I couldn’t pretend they didn’t exist. I had to acknowledge where I was at, to be able to ask for help when I needed it. That’s how I was able to take control over my life, not be a victim of circumstances, and see what I can do to manage my symptoms.If I’m a little quiet, my daughter will ask me if my head hurts and if I need anything. She’ll offer to grab me my peppermint oil out of my purse. I’ll dab that under my nose and it really helps with symptoms of nausea. I also use magnesium oil and herbal teas, and I meditate and work out, and those things seem to help with migraine.I recently celebrated my fourth year of consistent daily intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has completely changed my life, and I tell anyone who will listen about it. It really anchors me and helps me to see life from a different perspective. Food impacts our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. It actually helps me minimize distractions, so I’m able to get through my day seeing what needs to get done and what doesn’t need to get done.Also, sleep is very important. I make sure to get my seven-and-a-half hours of rest, no matter how early I need to go to bed. When I prioritize my health and well-being, things fall in line after that and migraine attacks are easier to manage. And all the things I’m teaching myself about self-care and prioritizing my health, I’m also teaching my daughter. Even with migraine, you have agency. Life isn’t happening to you, but it’s happening for you and, in turn, for others as well.” — Kathleen Richardson, 38, Buffalo, New York4. “You have to give yourself grace. Not everything has to be perfect every second of the day.”“When I don’t feel well, I can’t do all of the things. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to kind of forgive myself for that. Maybe you planned on making a really nice dinner but you get a migraine and end up throwing together something quick from the freezer. The most important thing is that your kids are fed, they aren’t really going to care. They just want you to feel better.Prevention is also key, especially when you have kids. I have my preventative medications, of course. I sought out a doctor who wasn’t just a neurologist but a headache specialist, so she really was able to steer me in the right direction with treatment. I’ve also found that visiting a chiropractor gives me relief, and that’s become part of my regular preventative routine.When I was growing up, I felt like I didn’t know anyone else who had migraine. But now there are more and more resources, and it’s getting better every year.” — Rachel Bennetts-Wu, 43, San Diego, CaliforniaSources:Current Pain and Headache Reports, The Impact of Parental Migraine on ChildrenRelated: