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National Migraine Centre
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Work life balance with migraine: has anyone got it right?

Dear all, Since early December I have been experimenting with reducing the amount of travel I do for work from 3 days a week to 2. I am self employed and work from home when not on the road so I can do this, though it does mean turning away jobs. I am definitely getting fewer migraines (down from once every 3 weeks to once every 6 weeks) and the ones I get are less severe but I am lonely, bored and spending more money to make up for it at a time when my income is falling because I have cut back on work. I live on my own whch doesn't help. I know I am lucky that my migraines are as infrequent as they are and to have the option to reduce my working hours but it is not proving to be an easy option. I miss the adrenalin and the human contact and almost want my migraines back. Has anyone else tried this and found a solution? I guess all migraine sufferers must juggle work, family and friendship with health. Anyone got any good ideas?

6 Replies


Sounds like work life balance is key for you. I reduced the stress levels in my life by changing to being self employed and noticed a reduction in the number of migraines, about the same as yours. The transition was stressful and for a time migraines were quite common. I enjoy physical exercise so I use additional spare time to pursue my outdoor activities, running, walking and sailing (when the weather permits) this also gets me out and about, provides the adrenalin/endorphin and as long as I don't overdo things has reduced the number and severity of migraines. For a time I went for months without a serious attack.

Hope you manage to make the adjustments necessary to benefit from your changes.



Hi Katia,

It sounds like you are going through a period of transition with your identity. I don't know how long you have suffered migraines for but I would imagine that they have become part of your identity and you are struggling with this "loss". Have you thought about joining a group or volunteering to replace some of the contact with people that you are craving? I think it's great that you have reduced your attacks so dramatically and it is normal to find it difficult to readjust to new circumstances.

Hope this helps you to find a solution that works for you,



An excellent answer Rebecca!!

Hope you find it helpful Katia!!


Hi Katya

I have had a similar experience in in that my migraines have been debilitating and affecting my work I have just put a proposal forward to my employer that I work two days a week from home, in the hope that reducing the traveling will alleviate some stress and so reduce the attacks. I'm glad to here that your migraines reduced,


Thanks all for thoughtful and considerate replies. I am 57 and have had migraines since I was 30,but lasting longer and more frequent post menopause. I already volunteer 1 afternoon a week and go swimming, walking and cycling. I take the point about a time of transition, not just from migraines but also about getting older and having less stamina and resilience. I think I shall experiment with giving myself a mini excursion on the extra day I would have travelled for work and see if that gives me variety without triggering the migraine. Katya


I was going to suggest doing some activity that puts you in contact with others to relieve the boredom but it looks like you're busy already!

I was recently working 22.5 hours over 4 days but got really worn out. I wouldn't say it effected my migraines, but I'm now doing 22.5 hours ove 3 days and using the days off to relax a bit more (if you call housework relaxing). I had a massive migraine last week, first one in a while, which I think was a sort of come-down migraine as a result of resting after a very difficult time at work. It's difficult to balance things out but I'd rather be at work than not.


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