How to adopt a migraine-friendly lifestyle
Changing your lifestyle can improve your migraines, but it can be hard. Here are some tips on how to make the changes that you want to improve your health and migraines.
1. Look at the options on the Migraine Tree
And pick some areas where changing your lifestyle will help your migraines.
2. Assess if you are willing and able to make a change.
- Desire – do you really want to do it?
- Importance – do you feel that this change is important to your health?
- Priorities – there may be several things you can do to adopt a migraine-friendly lifestyle. You could be more successful if you don’t try to change everything at once.
- Timing – is this a good time? Planning a major behavior change while you are moving, have a major deadline, or are in the middle of a family crises may not be the best timing.
- Confidence – If you are new to behavior change, don’t start with the hardest thing. Try doing something easier and build your confidence so you can make more difficult changes later.
3. Choose a goal that you can realistically achieve.
Can you find the information or guidance you need? Can you make a clear plan? Can you make the required changes and overcome the foreseeable barriers?
4. Write the goal down using a SMART format.
Here is an example with hydration.
- Specific – I will be better hydrated to reduce dehydration as a migraine trigger
- Measurable – Drinking 2-3 liters of water every day
- Action-oriented – I will carry a water bottle with me and set a reminder on my phone to help me remember to drink water
- Realistic – This is a realistic goal for me. I do not have major barriers
- Timely – I will try this lifestyle change for 8 weeks and reassess
** There are different interpretations of the SMART acronym. As long as it inspires you, it’s all good! (See this PDF)
5. Inform others of your goal
And ask for support. Your family, friends, or colleagues will be more likely to support you if they understand the importance of the lifestyle changes that you are trying to make.
6. Track your progress
On your Headache Diary, in a journal, or other tracking tool. Re-evaluate and change your goal if necessary.
7. Expect some setbacksSome days are going to be better than others. Change is a process. Look for progress, not perfection. Tomorrow is a new day, just keep trying!
8. Celebrate your successes
Even if they seem small, they will add up over time and make a difference in your migraines. Share your successes with a supportive friend, loved one, and your health care provider.
9. Look back at the situation
Review what happened. Did you succeed or not really? Why? Was this lifestyle change worth it?
10. Share your experience!
Encourage others by sharing your tips. Use our Facebook platform or reach out to write a brief testimonial.
Best wishes to all of you! Change can be difficult, but it is also very rewarding. Migraine Canada commends you on your courage to start your personal journey.