New Year’s Resolutions Migraine Sufferers Can Keep

On January 1st, most people have a resolution in mind… lose weight, eat healthy, spend more time with family and friends. But as the months roll by, the chances of reaching these goals become slimmer and slimmer, until before we know it... it’s January 1st again.

For some 30 million people, there is one big stumbling block to keeping these resolutions: migraines.

Let’s take a look at a couple of resolutions people make:

1. Losing weight

Most of us would love to lose weight. However, diet foods often contain potential food triggers to improve flavor: aspartame (sweet) or msg (salty) are a couple of examples. Exercising can also be a migraine trigger. And eating less or skipping meals can bring on a migraine.

How do we keep this resolution?

Rather than eating diet foods, slowly add whole foods to your diet. Like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, good fats, etc. If you do this gradually, your body will start to crave good clean food and will give a sigh of relief. This can also aid in digestion, which can be a concern for some due to migraine medications.

Rather than jumping into strenuous aerobic exercise or weight lifting, start slowly with a walk up and down the street twice a week. Gradually increase the distance – go around the block, or go to a park and walk around, resting now and then on those conveniently placed benches. Take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air. Or go to the mall and take a lap around the stores to get your steps in. You may find others doing the same and make some new friends. Work your way up to longer walks and/or more than two days per week.

2. Spend more time with friends and family

We would like to spend more time – or even some time – with friends and/or family. Our social life has suffered due to migraines, canceling plans so often that we aren’t even invited anymore. However, when we do feel strong, there are usually chores and errands to catch up on.

How do we keep this resolution?

Talk to your friends/family. Ask if they would mind if you give them a ring and pop over when you feel strong? Or talk on the phone. Let them know it may not be for a long period of time, but that they are important to you, and you want to spend that precious time with them. They will learn to adapt to a relationship that works for both of you and brings joy to you both.

The key is to keeping resolutions is to start slowly. If you jump in with both feet and over-commit, you will likely increase your stress and anxiety, leading to more migraines and you will have to give up on your resolutions. Be gentle with yourself when you are in pain, and adjust your plans accordingly. Give yourself that chance to succeed. Bit by bit; step by step. Seeing and feeling your successes will increase your confidence and peace of mind and inspire you to continue.

If you enjoy yourself and feel good, you will want to do it more often. These resolutions will become a way of life.

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