Since making the move to Laguna, a few things have changed. One of those things is my ability to cook a little more. No, actually, not a little more, but A LOT more. When I moved in with MigraineMe Boyfriend (who will now be called MMB for shorthand because MigraineMe Boyfriend is just too long to type and read over and over), the apartment was a little too small for the three of us (MMB, Me, and Honey). So, needless to say, I didn’t do a lot of cooking. We basically lived in a shoe-box for five months to figure out if we wanted to sign a joint lease. Turns out, we liked each other enough to sign a joint lease and here we are. But, for awhile, it was close quarters.
So, I have started cooking a lot more, often times breakfast, lunch and dinner, particularly because we both work from home. Today’s breakfast was a sort of breakfast scramble: egg whites, onion, red pepper, Italian sausage, and cheese and salsa on top!
Another thing to change since moving to Laguna has been my ability to manage day-to-day stress. For a long, long time, I absolutely believed that migraines and stress were not related. I have had stress all of my life. In high school I always worked, while going to school and being very active in athletics, Student Council and many other extra-curricular activities. I was extremely concerned about my grades, my social life and spending time with my family. I was never resting, and I was always stressed out – it is just my personality. I am not sure I knew how to function without being stressed out. I experienced death of family members and even friends. Yet all the while, never experienced a migraine.
College -same story. Concerned about my grades. Active in a sorority. President of the campus Student Activities Board. Worked on a local campaign. Chairman of the Homecoming Committee. Worked at the Center for Student Involvement for extra money. Waited tables when I went home to visit. Again, didn’t know how to function without being “stressed out.” All through college I experienced some headaches and frequent digestive problems that were likely related to stress, but never a single migraine.
Off to law school in 2008. Of course, you can see the pattern – stress was prevalent – but something was different this time. I slowly started to develop migraines. I was 22, and I started to develop migraines. At first, they were only a 1/2 day in duration. Then, a full day in duration. Then 2 days in duration. Then, the severity worsened, then even worse. Then, out of control. But no explanation as to why!
So, why am I telling you this? I am telling you this background because it demonstrates why I don’t believe that stress is the sole cause of migraines. However, what I have learned since then is that stress does exacerbate migraines, and this is why I now believe that to be true:
Since moving to Laguna Beach, in addition to cooking more, I have also come to a point where the stress in my life is at an ultimate low:
- I work from home.
- I rarely drive my car. We can walk nearly everywhere in Laguna and even when I do drive, there is substantially less traffic in Orange County (as opposed to LA).
- I workout at a gym that is on the same block as our apartment. I workout when convenient and working out is fun, not a job.
- We have a dog – she old and well-trained.
- We live near the beach and the weather is beautiful.
- I can lay down when needed.
- I sleep at least 6 hours per night, and often time 7 or 8 hours per night (not 4 or 5 like I used to).
That being said, many of these things come at a price and there are trade offs for everything. I miss many of my friends in LA, as I don’t see them as often. I also might have made sacrifices in my career in order to work from home. There are certainly trade-offs, some of which are substantial. However, my migraines on a day-to-day basis are not as severe and although I do still have 1 to 2 migraines per week on some weeks, they are less frequent than they used to be when I lived in LA and worked at an office and drove to work everyday. This is because stress does exacerbate migraines. My doctor told me this over and over and I never believed it, but I now understand that there are underlying causes for migraines, but those underlying causes are exacerbated by stress.
While I am sure you are tired of my rambling, I thought it best to share the full story to help you understand that even if you have had stress at some point in your life that did not cause a migraine, that does not mean that stress in your life today cannot exacerbate your migraines. So if you do have migraines, start with small things and try to find any way possible to mitigate the stress in your life and help your migraines! Even little things that reduce stress might help mitigate your migraines, even a little. For example, just a little extra sleep, or a little less anxiety each day might help make that next migraine a little less severe!