Tips for Dealing with Migraines

Ahhh sweet darkness. You will know what I mean if you get migraines frequently. Although I suffer from pretty consistent daily pain, nothing has made me feel worse than a migraine. My unfortunate journey into life with migraines started a few years back when I returned from a trip to Peru. My doctors do not really understand why I get them, but some guesses might be stress, weather change, or nerve damage. Over the years I have consulted many different people about how they deal with migraines and I have come up with a few myself. I thought I would share some of these tips in case it might help anyone else out. Of course it goes without saying, make sure you consult your family doctor before trying any of these tips. I am not a doctor and therefore know very little about the human body. It is important to ask a doctor so that you can be assessed with all your health history and personal context in mind.

1. Talk to your doctor

I know some people don’t like to see the doctor and I have already mentioned this above, but it is really important. There are certain medications people should not take when they experience frequent migraines and it is important to rule out other more serious conditions.

2. Take Advil (if you can)

I’m not a drug pusher, but sometimes a girl just needs an Advil. If you feel a migraine coming on it can help to take an Advil before the pain really starts. I find that the best time to take the Advil is right when I notice any aura in my vision. Keep in mind that there may be a point in the onset of a migraine in which Advil will no longer help you. I have personally found that once I reach the point that light hurts my eyes, Advil does nothing.

3. Relax

Relaxing is so important if you want to prevent and help a migraine subside. I have found that releasing neck tension really helps the severity and frequency of migraines. You may want to read a book, take a bath, or just sleep!

4. Embrace the Darkness

No don’t become the next Darth Vader, but yes do find a place where you can sit in darkness. Light can be one of the most pain inducing things when you have a migraine. Find a place where you can shut the blinds and turn off the lights. If this is not possible, consider buying a light blocking sleep mask. Resting in the dark for even a short time can help give your body that extra time to curb a bad migraine.

5. Hot or Cold

Hot or Cold can become your best friend when you have a migraine. Typically I find that placing a cold wash cloth on your forehead or over your eyes can do wonders for a bad migraine. Sometimes a hot wash cloth works better. You might even find benefit in drinking a hot or cold beverage. However, migraines tend to have a mind of their own so you might need to do some trial and error to see whether hot or cold works best for you.

6. Water

It is super important to stay hydrated when you a have migraine. Just like any headache or sickness, water helps flush bad stuff out of your body and replenish it. Dehydration causes many problems in our bodies so it is best to drink lots of water to help your migraine.

7. Hit the Hay

If all else fails and you cannot get rid of your migraine, just go to sleep. A short nap could be enough to rid yourself of the migraine. Likewise, sleep is one way the body can repair itself.

8. Keep a migraine journal

Sometimes it is helpful to figure out why you might be getting migraines. Do you get them every time it rains or snows? Does eating chocolate start a migraine? Do you get one if you don’t get enough sleep? Are you feeling very stressed? There are many different types of triggers for migraines and it can be helpful to know what triggers your migraines. If you are able to narrow it down, you may be able to remove some of the triggers from your life so that you can be migraine free.

 

I hope some of these tips might help you. Remember to ask a professional for help if you suffer frequently from migraines!

What do you do to help curb your migraines?

A Rusty Pail

We have all been there: Too many things to do and not enough time, Commitments to your friends and family, or maybe the financial pressures of the world are weighing you down. I do not want to be a Debbie Downer, but sometimes life is just a full of crap gathering in a rusty pail. As you grow older, there are so many more responsibilities and challenges that come into your life. I think the biggest challenge is simply figuring out what to do with your life. This has been a big struggle for me and my husband lately. I believe we are blessed in many ways, but things just seem to be a big mess. I have no clue what type of career to have or what I should do for work. All my life I’ve really only wanted to be part of a family and have children of my own. I feel like that is what I have been called to.

Now, I’m sure there is someone out there reeling in shock that an educated woman would want to be a homemaker in this day and age. However, I cannot think of any greater joy than raising my own children. On top of that joyful thought, I think I could do well in many careers. I have a good education and have experience in many different fields. I have worked in ministry, worked in a library, worked as a copy-editor, and so many more areas. Despite this, I cannot help but feel lost in regards to where to go from here. Do I pursue the current masters degree I am in now? Do I pursue a different one? Do I start a family? Do I do nothing? All of these questions racing around make me question why God has yet to direct me. I have prayed for direction and yet I still feel lost. Does God always tell us what to do? Maybe that’s just it. Maybe God is open to all the ideas I have. Or maybe I am unwilling to listen.

A lot of these feelings come down to being lost and a sense of hopelessness. It is very difficult to choose the “right” path to take when the world has so many different ideas of what success is. It is difficult to have a feeling of success when you have very little money and you are told financial freedom is success. It is so difficult to save and to get your life on track especially after accumulating school debt. Let me tell you, debt is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. I do believe having some debt from school is an investment, but it is still a very stressful experience. Given the rant above, what is success? Should I feel successful? Should I feel successful even if I have no idea what to do with my life?

I want to say yes, but I have no idea why. A roof over my head, food to eat, and people who care are successes in some sense. However, where is God in all this despair? Maybe He is the calming force that is telling me everything will be okay while that rusty pail is filling up. Whatever it is, I will hold onto that small cry of yes until I have the means to say I am successful for… Yes.

Horror

Zombies, Ghosts, Chainsaws and Blood, lots and lots of blood; these are just a few sights you might encounter as Halloween draws near. Although the things of Halloween or even horror movies seem harmless, I believe that there is much more to them than just fun and games. Let’s be blunt here and state one bias I might have. I am a Christian and my faith guides me away from these things, but I want to talk about this issue for reasons outside of my faith. Despite my stance on horror which was partially formed  because of my faith, not every Christian agrees. Many of my friends do participate and celebrate Halloween. They have no problem with horror movies or books. Their claim is that these things are harmless and do not affect their lives. They explain that being scared is part of the fun as it gives them a rush of adrenaline. However, I would like to explain my side of things. Continue reading “Horror”

Change

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has changed recently in my life. I have been struggling with these changes and feeling quite down. I am quite introverted which doesn’t always help in situations like these. I tend to think very deeply about things and want to try to think everything out before reaching a solution. However, as many of you might have already experienced, solutions don’t always present themselves right away.

I have been thinking a lot about change and have come to realize a few things about it. I used to think change was always bad. It used to mean unpredictability or chaos. Change caused a lot of anxiety when I thought about it as something bad. Recently I have started to  alter my ideas around change. Change does not always mean something bad. It is just something new. I think about nature and how each season of the year brings something new, but also something beautiful.

In this new season of life so many things have changed, but some really amazing and beautiful things have happened. Marriage is not always a popular thing to pursue. Countless people told me I was stupid to get married, that I would end up divorced, that I am too young, etc. I think they are wrong though. Yes, marriage is difficult, but it is also one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things on this earth. I believe that we are all made to love and to be in relationship with other human beings. Whether that be in a romantic relationship, a friendship or a family relationship, humans are meant to be together. I have learned so much in my first 2 months of marriage and have learned that I can love much more than I ever thought was possible. Adjusting to that change has been hard, but so worth it.

Another big change is a transition from undergraduate work to masters level work. Wow. Am I ever struggling to keep afloat. It is seriously hard to maintain relationships, work, and do school work. I have cried so many times this month about how I will be able to handle it all. Despite these darker times, I can reflect and see good coming from these trials. For example, I have learned sooooo much in such a short time. I am currently in a counselling program and it has opened my eyes to so many things that are personal strengths and weaknesses. I probably would never have learned these things if I had not started pursuing my masters degree.

I am not an expert and I am not sure if this post will be helpful to others, but it has been a good way of reminding myself of the good in depressing times. I am still trying to figure everything out myself. However, I feel better writing out my thoughts and hopefully helping at least one other person with some changes in their life. Maybe I will even continue to post updates about how I am handling these changes if it will help.

~ Katie

Life nowadays

It has been a few months since I last posted, which is horrible. I really love being able to express my thoughts and feelings here so I am going to have to make blogging a part of my everyday routine. Perhaps that process will be something worth talking about here. Over the past few months a lot has changed.

For starters, I got married! This is one bit of super exciting news, but also has taken a lot of adjusting. Along with getting married, I moved for the very first time in my life… EVER. This change is taking much more time to get used to. I’ve never really had this many responsibilities and coming from a family with no sisters, I’ve never shared my room before! Besides getting married and moving, I’ve also had another major life change. I graduated from my undergrad and started my master’s degree. This change has also been difficult, because I have never been one who has had really strong conviction to have a certain career. (Perhaps I will write more about this in another post). Basically if you add up all these life changes, I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps. All of these changes are so wonderful and good! However, I am not very used to change and am feeling a little bit lost as I try to adjust. These adjustments have made me realize that I’ve sort of lost myself in all of life’s busyness this past year. With planning a wedding, finishing my degree, and working, I have been quite overwhelmed. To help with some of the feelings, I am trying to make sure that I have time for self-care. I have realized that I am terrible at relaxing! I seriously need to learn how to relax and develop a hobby that I can do each week. Maybe blogging will become one of those hobbies, but I am also looking into some other hobbies.

Do you have any suggestions for adjusting to big life changes? Any good hobbies to try?

~ Katie

Gross

It is fall. My favourite season! I love how the colours of leaves start to change and the weather is the perfect temperature. I love how you can finally wear those cute sweaters and boots too! The only thing I dislike about fall is the yearly fall flu. Some years I’m lucky and escape the dreaded invasion, but this year I did not. As a lay here in bed surrounded by assignments, I thought, “Hey! why not write a blog post about it!” So here I am talking to you about the flu and what I do to feel better.

  1. Get some rest if you can. It is super important because it will give your body time to heal.
  2. Drink some tea. I have a badly sore stomach so I’m trying some mint tea right now. However, there are so many great teas to drink that are great when you are not feeling well. The important thing is to keep hydrated!
  3. Drugs. I don’t think you should take drugs if you can do without, but if you are in pain or about to throw up, an advil or some gravol could do some good.
  4. Watch some TV. Netflix is a great choice to occupy time if you are stuck in bed. (If you need some ideas, a blog I follow called Ordinary Adventures has some great recommendations.) If you don’t have netflix, try channel surfing or watching a movie you love.
  5. Read. Sometimes T.V. doesn’t cut it and you might need to engage your mind further. A good fiction novel really helps pass the time and allows you to get your rest.
  6. Eat. It is really important to keep eating even if you don’t feel like it. Soup, crackers, or toast are some good light options when you have no appetite.
  7. See the Doc. If your sickness is lasting too long or there is something unusual about your sickness it is best to see a professional. A doctor can diagnose you and give you better treatment if it is something a bit of rest can’t cure.

There are tons of things you can do to help get yourself feeling back to your old self, but I hope that these few tips will work for you.

What do you do when you are sick? How do you get better?

From one bedridden gal,

Katie

Tips for getting a good nights sleep

I don’t know about you guys, but I really have difficulty trying to sleep. Over the years I have developed some tactics to try to help me sleep. I’d like to share them with you so here they are:

1. Set a goal bed time.
Not every night will you be able to fulfil this set time so don’t get upset. However, if you set a goal time and commit to sticking to it when possible, you are bound to get into a routine.

2. Make your bedroom as comfortable and restful as possible. 
You may not be able to change the wall colour or furniture, but you can add personal touches such as pillows or photographs that will help make the space the way you want it. My only advice here is to stay away from colours that are too bright. These colours are very stimulating and may keep your brain up longer.

3. Dim your lights at a certain time.
About an hour before I start to get ready for bed I dim the lights in my room. I turn off the main overhead light and turn on one or two smaller ones. This way I can tell my body that it is time to start sleeping soon. Think of it as a little trick you pull on your brain.

4. Drink calming tea.
Don’t do this too close to bed or else you’ll have to pee all night, but a few hours before bed start relaxing with a cup of tea. Be careful which teas you choose to drink as some have high caffeine contents which will keep you awake. Herbal teas are probably best or teas that are designed to have a calming effect. With that being said, some people react differently with teas so there may be a bit of trial and error involved. David’s tea has a tea called Forever Nuts and it knocks me out cold after a few sips… No idea why but it does! 

5. Try to reduce noise.
I am a very light sleeper so this one was important for me. Any noise seemed to wake me up! Then I discovered that if I produced some white noise or calming noise, I could sleep better. Fans are excellent white noise makers and keep you cool. You can actually buy white noise makers too. For me, my fish tank produces a bubbly, raindrop type sound which is enough to get me to sleep better. It cancels outside noise enough and makes me happy.

6. Don’t think too much.
If you also have an active mind, you may find it hard to turn off your brain at night. All these tips help with relaxing your thoughts but sometimes you have to tell yourself not to do something. This isn’t full-proof but if you tell yourself to stop thinking about something at bedtime and set a new time to deal with it, you can usually turn your brain off. Then actually deal with the issue at the new time you set! It will take some getting used to but if you can learn this skill it will help you a ton. 

7. Wind down.
To get ready to sleep, do something to wind down. Reading a book or writing in a journal are good ways to wind down. Watching TV is relaxing for some people, but at bedtime it might be a bit too fast paced to help you get to sleep.

I hope that these ideas are helpful if you too have trouble sleeping. Heres to many happy dreams and a restful sleep tonight!

Until next time,

Katie

The Mind and Body: Part 6

Here is my last tip for having a healthy mind and body:

Talk to someone
I cannot even begin to tell you how important this one has been to me over the past years. I think A LOT. That quality in itself is not a bad thing. Generally, it has a been a good thing as it has helped me to be more creative and solve problems quicker. However, the blessing of a thinking mind is a curse if you have something pressing or not so nice on your mind. Sometimes, I can’t solve the problem I’m experiencing unless I talk to someone about. Now, you might say, what if you don’t have someone to talk to? Boy have I been there! I will list some suggestions below that will achieve the effect of talking to someone and that will help you deal with whatever comes your way in life.

1. Talk to Someone

Personally, I find that if there is a real person you can sit down with and pour your heart out to over a warm cup of tea, you should do that. Not everyone has a person like this in their life and thats okay too. This is a person that you will want to be trustworthy and open to listening. With that being said, if they are a friend or family member, be open to returning the favour one day and make sure they are okay with you discussing your problem. If they are a counsellor, then don’t worry. They are paid to listen to you, but do treat them with respect even if you disagree with something they say.

2. Pray 

If you need someone to talk to, God is always there to listen. It might make you feel better to silently pray or pray outloud. If you don’t believe in God, you could try just saying problem outloud or try praying anyway. He’ll still hear you! Sometimes, the comfort of telling someone is all you need to clear your head enough to find a solution. 

3. Journal

This one is a biggie! I am horrible at consistantly writing in a journal and if anyone finds my journal after I die, I bet they will think I lived a horribly depressing life. However, the reason so many troubling stories are recorded in my journal is that I use it as a tool to talk to someone when there is no real person available. That may sound a little weird, but it is sort of like talking to yourself. You begin by writing out the situation and then you can look back at what you wrote with a new perspective in a little while. By doing this, you may see a solution that you couldn’t think of before. As an added bonus, it is very therapeutic and helps calm you down. Many times, I write down prayers as well. By doing that, I can review the prayers at a later time and see how they were answered or if I need to keep praying about them. 

4. Blog

This one is a new thing for me, but it seems to be working out well. You may not know anyone who is actually reading your blog, but there is something really helpful about sharing your ideas in a network of people. Although the internet can be a cruel place, generally speaking, most people are good and want to interact with you and your ideas. Even if they disagree, thats okay because it will help you grow as a person and it will hopefully help them as well! Try it out and I think you will like what you experience.

There you have it! I hope these tips have been helpful and if you would like to hear some more tips on a particular topic, let me know in a comment below. Thanks for reading 🙂

– Katie

The Mind and Body: Part 5

Here is the next tip! 

A Healthy Diet

Eating healthy is really important. To keep our bodies healthy and minds working well, food provides us with the energy to keep going, repair our cells, and best of all: food is yummy. It is not always easy to eat healthy but I do think that there are some easy steps you can take to eat healthy in a realistic way. 

1. Eat at least three meals a day!

Your body really needs food to keep going throughout the day. Not eating doesn’t help you be healthy, feel good, or help you lose weight (I’m not suggesting you should be trying to!) Three meals a day is a good base to go from to get your daily dose of energy. For some people, 4-5 smaller meals might be better to keep your energy up and to stop you from snacking on junk food.

2. Mix it up!

Eat a variety of foods. Some from all the food groups! A good rule of thumb I go by is to pick some food from each food group and choose a variety of colours. People say that a variety of colours in food is healthier, I’m not sure if thats true but it does make me happy to look at.

3. Indulge a little!

I am convinced that the absolute worst thing you can do in eating healthy is to cut out all the foods you love. What I mean by this is you are allowed to have some sweets sometimes or a greasy fast food meal once in awhile. Over time, eating junk food will reduce on its own, but it is always important to give yourself a treat once in awhile. 

These are the three guidelines I generally use for myself. Of course no one is perfect and I certainly don’t meet these everyday, but I do strive to! I hope these tips are insightful and if you have some tips, feel free to leave them in a comment below.

– Katie