restorative yoga,  self care,  sleep,  Spring,  stress

How I Manage Stress Daily To Prevent Migraines

My Top Three Tips

We all know that feeling, a bit of a niggle in the head signalling the early stages of a headache. Maybe it begins with a stiffness in the neck; perhaps the niggle starts in the temples or maybe on the top of the head as a feeling of tightness. Whatever it looks like to begin with it’s a signal that our body is trying to get our attention.

There are many reasons why we could get a headache – stress, poor diet, lack of exercise to name but a few. My migraines have historically been triggered by a combination of things – stress, eating trigger foods while stressed, not sleeping, and feeling stressed about it. There’s a bit of a pattern isn’t there?

But as a Migraine Warrior I’ve learned a thing or two about avoiding a headache and my toolbox has expanded over the last 6 months as I’ve dove head-first into my healing journey. So here are my Top Three Tips to help manage stress to prevent that headache or migraine.

* Please note that this does not constitute medical advice, this is only what I do and should be viewed as a suggestion only. Please conduct your own research and speak with a medical professional whom you trust before making any massive changes.

1.       Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I start my day with a glass of Coconut Water, often with my Vitamin C tablet dissolved in it. This helps with my electrolytes and gives me a hydration boost first thing in the morning. Throughout the day I try to drink as much water as I can – especially right now as Scotland is enjoying our 2 weeks of summer. I try to stick to water throughout the day, with maybe a slice of lemon or lime for a change. Having a water bottle to go fill up throughout the day offers plenty of opportunities to walk away from stressful situations – either to visit the bathroom or to top up your water!

2.       Sleep

Sleep is my biggest ally in the ongoing war against migraines. If I’ve slept poorly then I need to up my game for the next few days to help me recover. To do this I listen to a Yoga Nidra every day, as this allows my mind to enter the same deep levels of rest as it would during sleep. These restorative brain waves allow me to practice deep relaxation and enjoy a sense of stillness, which also serves to support me when I need to manage my pain levels. When I’ve slept well, I find that I can manage the daily stresses better, things just don’t have the same weight as they do when I’m tired.

3.       Snacks

When I’m prepping my meals for the week, I ensure that I have plenty of snacks to take to work. I never know how I’ll feel on any given day so having a few things to chose from is a great place to start. This week I’m having some carrot sticks with hummus, coconut yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, a banana and some pistachios. I also have a bag of salty crisps and a can of ginger shot in my desk to help me if I need to get out the big guns. I tend to get hangry if I’ve not eaten regularly or well, so having an array of snacks to supplement my carefully prepared meals is essential. I also never leave the house without having breakfast – that is a non-negotiable for me.

These are just a few of the ways I manage stress daily to help me to prevent headaches. I also do a lot of other things because over the years I have developed a plan that works for me. You might be surprised to hear that I don’t do yoga every day to help my headaches, but I do meditate daily. When the stress becomes too much, and I feel my head getting uncomfortable I take out a Restorative Yoga session from my toolbox to help me unwind and switch off. Here’s a 30-minute version you can try if you have a headache and need to rest up.

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