It’s tough work battling a migraine. So when that moment of relief arrives, treat yourself.

When you’ve got a painful migraine, it’s hard to think about anything but your throbbing head. So after that moment of relief (finally!) arrives, a little pampering may be in order. Here are 10 easy ways to treat yourself when you’ve made it through the pain.

Laugh it up. Try a mini-binge of a TV comedy you’ve been dying to catch up on. If you’re in a nostalgic mood, try an ’80s or ’90s favorite on late-night basic cable, or turn to your streaming service of choice and for a newer award-winner or buzzed-about reality show. No matter what you choose, take the advantage of losing yourself a bit before you go back to the (now migraine-free) real world.

Head to the spa. A massage probably sounds pretty great after a migraine clears, right? But there’s more to find at your local day spa — a flat fee will sometimes give you access to whirlpools, saunas and relaxation rooms, even if you don’t spring for a treatment. And with all the deal sites out there, you have a good chance of finding a discount. At the very least, there’s always a 10-minute chair massage at the nail salon. Read more about the health benefits of positive touch.

Try meditation. Even a brief meditation session may leave you feeling great. Research indicates that for some, mindfulness meditation can help reduce anxiety and pain 1; plus, the practice could have lasting effects on how our bodies manage stress. 2  Need help getting started? There are smartphone apps that provide guided audio meditations to make it easy, even for beginners.

Visit a store you love. You could commemorate your new pain-free, post-migraine self with a little retail therapy. Head to your favorite brick-and-mortar store and buy that hardback book, bright sweater or really fancy umbrella (hey, to each their own) that you’ve had your eye on.

Get your hands dirty. Now that the pain is gone, get yourself outside and in the garden. A simple task like gardening can help reduce stress — one small study showed that a 30-minute gardening session was more stress-reducing than a half-hour reading session. 3

Tackle a task. Cleaning off your desk or hanging up that family photo may not sound like a thrill ride, but crossing off a “To Do” can be very satisfying — especially if you’ve felt incapacitated by a migraine. Just keep it reasonable so it doesn’t add to your stress level (e.g. tackle one drawer, not the entire basement).

Call a friend. Staying in touch with friends and family can boost happiness — in fact, research has shown that calling your mom  can even reduce stress. Jump on a quick call or try a video chat to make it feel like you’re really spending time with your loved one.

Make a new recipe. Cooking a tasty meal is a great way to treat yourself, but it’s easy to fall into a rut and make the same thing over and over. Crack open a neglected cookbook or do a web search on a lesser-known ingredient (like, say, pomegranates), and try something new and exciting.

Take a walk. Maybe your migraine has had you cooped up inside, so why not get some fresh air? Try a brisk walk on your favorite path – or maybe even just a trip around the block.

Try something new. A migraine may make you feel completely unlike yourself. Now that you’re back in action, push yourself into doing that long-forgotten DIY project (making a new slipcover, staining that old wooden chest) or an always-talked-about exercise or language class (Español, anyone?).

See a doctor for diagnosis of migraines and migraine relief options.

Show References

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1. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357-68. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1809754

2. Stress reduction correlates with structural changes in the amygdala. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2010;5(1):11. http://intl-scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/1/11.full

3. Van Den Berg AE, Custers MH. Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress. J Health Psychol. 2011 Jan;16(1):3-11. doi:10.1177/1359105310365577. Epub 2010 Jun 3. PubMed PMID: 20522508. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20522508?dopt=Abstract



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