Summer is a time of swimsuits, popsicles, vacations and ... triggers. Managing my triggers during this season can be challenging. I want to have fun, and often I push myself too hard. Barometric pressure change happens fast, the bright sun and tempting summer snacks can all snowball into a summer filled with pain and alone time in a dark room. The following are tips I employ to try and help better manage during the summer.
Hydration - This is as must all the time, but even more so in the summer. Dehydration can happen fast and that can be dangerous. Drink plenty of water and other fluids, but avoid alcohol. You can also get hydration from fruits and vegetables, so having a nice summer salad is doing your body good in more ways than one!
Eye Protection - I never leave home without my sunglasses, but during the summer they are pretty much glued to my face. The sun is bright, but when we are out at the beach or driving reflections can really hurt and trigger a migraine. Even if I am just running out the grab our mail I put on my sunglasses. I keep extra pairs in our cars just in case my favorite ones ever break.
Know Your Limits - When I play with the boys outside I pick cooler parts of the day, and also limit the amount of time we are outside to around 30 minutes. I know that I would rather take them out when I am feeling alright for a limited about of time and not over exert myself. That way, when we go inside I still have energy and can get things done. This goes for any activity we do - the beach, playing, bike rides, walks.
Heat Exposure - When we go outside, I find shade and stay in it as much as possible. In addition to migraine, I often get heat rash in the summer if I'm in the sun for too long or get overheated.
Say No - Summer is full of hot daytime activists and late nights, but we often say no to things like that. I can't be in the sun for too long. My kids need a consistent bedtime to be fully functioning, happy little humans. If we let them stay up super late it is going to be painful for all of us. You might get asked to do lots of different things through out the summer (as well as the rest of the year for that matter) and it is perfectly fine to decline invitations that you know don't work well for your family. (Read Saying No and Personal Balance posts for more on this topic)
Food Caution - Summer snacks can be scary, and not because of the calories. Often times you go to parties and picnics where people bring a dish-to-pass. That is great, but it can be hard when you have a lot of food related triggers. I like to bring a dish I know I can eat. Sometimes I eat a little before or bring an extra snack for myself. It is NOT worth it to eat any mystery food, no matter how delicious it sounds. If I don't know what's in it, I don't eat it. And not that is not rude, that is self-care!
Don't Wait - I don't like having to depend on my medications, but that is just part of life with chronic migraine. I struggled coming to terms with that for a very long time and it only caused me more pain. I would try and "tough it out", which never really works. Now, when I feel my migraine starting, I take my medications right away, especially in the summer. For me the heat can make a migraine get out of control even faster than normal.
Rest - Even though summer can be one of the busiest times of the year, it's still important to rest, stay on a good routine and get enough sleep.
What tips or ticks do you use in the summer to try and manage triggers or stay on track?