Sponsored: Going back to school as a teacher living with migraine
Life, can be difficult for someone living with migraine.1 For me, a major transition happens when it’s back-to-school time. As a parent of elementary school students and a teacher, I find for me there are strategies to help ease back into school. If ever I have specific questions about my personal medical condition, I find it important to consult with my healthcare provider.
Here are some tips I incorporate into my own routine to make going back to school easier for myself.
Get back into your normal routine before school starts
A few weeks before school begins, I have strict bedtimes and awake each day a few minutes earlier. As someone who lives with migraine, I tend to keep myself on a schedule year-round.
I eat meals at regular times throughout the day and limit snacks. Eating a hearty breakfast starts the day out well for me. I eat well-rounded lunches and dinners while limiting my snacks to a morning piece of fruit with water. I find that eating and drinking are easy to skip or fit into small timeframes when I am teaching. I need reminders to drink consistently and eat, when my schedule allows.
Be organized and proactive
I always have a doctor’s appointment prior to going back to school to check in. I always discuss what medication I am taking, how it is working and any difficulty I am having. We come up with a migraine plan and write it down. Having an updated treatment plan is crucial to beginning my school year.
A planner is a necessity to help combat my migraine. As a teacher, I write down everything in my planner along with notes and reminders in my phone. When I am planning my days, I schedule the important things first knowing it’s possible for a migraine attack to hit at any minute, leaving the rest of my list for the next day. Thanks to my planner, I have a plan and assistance.
I’ve also found that preparing for the next school day ahead of time helps to lessen stress in the mornings. With migraine, I sometimes wake up with a host of symptoms and need to ease into my day. My children are moody and distracted in the mornings. To alleviate stress, I pick out clothes the night before and pack everyone’s lunches and bookbags. The less I have to do in the morning, the less stress I experience. Which brings me to my next tip…
Stress is a huge migraine trigger for me. Despite managing time efficiently, eating and drinking consistently and sleeping solidly, stress still sneaks in after a long school day.
While the weather allows, I take walks after school to combat stress. Instead of crashing in front of the TV, I exercise daily. Walking my dog also gives me many benefits. The fresh air boosts endorphins, which can promote calm and happy feelings.2 Most importantly, it’s great to spend time bonding with my family.
Manage screen time
In the summer, I try to use less technology. When I involve myself in outdoor activities, I don’t have the need for computers or phones as much. Once I’m back at school, my screen time increases. As a teacher, I sit on my computer more with lesson plans, emails and paperwork. Taking breaks from technology is important, so I limit screen time at home as much as possible when school gives me more to focus on.
Be an advocate and build positive relationships
For years I have fought migraine stigma in school and have found that being my own advocate is the only way to be honest and definitive about my needs. I get accommodations outlined in writing so that there is a clear understanding. These accommodations aren’t always possible and more arise during the year. I know my rights and what will allow me to be the best teacher possible. We make accommodations for our students and teachers need equal treatment.
I forgive myself and my children when we don’t meet expectations. No one is perfect and we all are going to have bad days in school. My migraine can show its ugly face in school and provide a host of disabilities.1 We all have our bodies to balance and minds to grow.
As a teacher, I need to be flexible yet prepared as the start of the school year approaches. Each day provides challenges. By being prepared, aware and positive, transitions can be easier. It’s all about balance, preparation and hope. Nothing is perfect, but using these strategies may help the bad days turn into something better.
*This post is part of a collaboration between myself, Amgen and Novartis. I have been compensated for my time.
- Lipton RB, Bigal ME, Diamond M, Freitag F, Reed ML, Stewart WF. Migraine prevalence, disease burden, and the need for preventive therapy. Neurology. 2007;68(5):343-349.
- Rokade, PB, Release of endomorphin hormone and its effects on our body and moods: A review. International Conference on Chemical, Biological and Environment Sciences. 2011;436-438.