Why The Ultimate Migraine Trigger Might Be Job Loss


High on the list of chart-topping stressors is losing your job. Whether you’ve already lost it or sense that the conversation is impending, it doesn’t take long for anxiety to kick in, sending your stress meter into a frenzy.

People often feel that in losing their job, they are also losing a part of their identity or purpose. Job loss has an impact on confidence, self-esteem and most of all; it makes people feel insecure about their financial wellbeing. All of these thoughts and emotions create a tremendous amount of stress that can lead to other problems, especially for migraineurs. Individuals suffering from chronic migraine syndrome already know that stress is the enemy. It can ramp up migraine episode frequency and induce attacks that are more severe and lasting than normal. A severe stress induced migraine can become intolerable and downright debilitating.

Read amazing migraine research: Exploring Weather Related Triggers

The tough love truth is – you can’t afford to be down and out if obtaining a new job is important to you and necessary to your financial survival. Which means you need to face stress head on and learn how to manage its influence on your life and chronic migraine syndrome. Here are some tips to help you avoid the ultimate migraine trigger and mentally prepare for the job market.

Talk About It

It’s never healthy to keep emotions, frustrations, anger or sadness bottled up inside. Eventually, the pressure becomes too great and your body will be impacted. Talk about what has happened with your family or a trusted friend. Be forthcoming about the situation with your spouse. If you have children, let them know what has happened and reassure them that everything will be OK. A new job could mean relocating or changing the schedule you’ve been accustomed to and you’ll want to make sure your family is on board. Once you have their support, a great deal of pressure will be lifted and you can focus your energy on forward motion.

Write What You Feel

When you are alone and willing to be completely candid with yourself about how you feel and what you’re afraid of, true resolution can begin. Take time each day to write about what you’re going though emotionally and mentally. Be brutally honest and put it all on paper where you can see it and face it. This exercise is going to help with acknowledgment and acceptance, both of which are forward thinking actions that will enable you to move on instead of repeatedly circling the same thoughts and emotions.

You may also be interested in this article: Learn How To Avoid Common Migraine Triggers

Embrace the Power of Positive Thought

Once you get all the negative emotions out of your system, it’s time to switch gears and embrace the power of positive thought. The end of one opportunity can be the beginning of a new and possibly better one. Take advantage of this unexpected moment in your life to make a change; follow a dream; do something you’ve always been passionate about but haven’t had the time to devote. If you have the savings and finances aren’t a pressing issue, take the time off to travel and redefine your goals for the future. The reality is – life will go on. You will find another job and the next chance you have to soul search might not come until you’ve retired! Quit looking at your job loss like it’s the end of the world and start looking at it like it’s the beginning of a new chapter. Write it how you want it to read.

Take Care of You

Now is not the time to let depression or anger drive your actions. Focus on being healthful instead. This will empower your ability to think positively while ensuring that you aren’t hitting every migraine trigger that applies to you. Eat well; get plenty of sleep and exercise to blow off any unwanted steam. Most importantly, don’t rely on alcohol as a coping mechanism. It’s terrible for you thoughts, emotions and migraines.

Utilize All Your Resources

Financial pressure is one of the worst stress inducers. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to a severance package or unemployment. Make sure you take advantage of these programs until you are able to find new employment. Knowing that you can rely on some form of income will buy time to think about your next move and consider what you truly want and need out of your next job, absent of financial stress that can cause searing migraine pain.

Cut Back on Spending

If you lose your job or think you might lose your job, now is the time to make some changes in your spending habits. Cut the fast food and dining out, opt for weekend plans that won’t cost you, eliminate non-essentials from your grocery list and start shopping smart. Coupon-ing might take extra time but the savings will add up, leaving you enough wiggle room in your finances to reduce stress and avoid consequential migraine attacks.


As the saying goes – it’s all about whom you know. Your next employment opportunity might be right in front of your face but if you don’t reach out to your network, you could miss discovering it. Check to see if your friends or old colleagues know of any positions that match your skill set. At the very least, put the word out that you are back on the market. It’s a great way to rev the momentum in your search efforts.

If stress become nonetheless overwhelming, try some of these stress releasing tactics:

  1. Take deep, controlled breaths from your diaphragm. When stress takes over, it raises your blood pressure, stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and makes muscles tense, all of which can induce a migraine attack.  By taking deep, controlled breaths, you can prevent these physical reactions.
  2. Tighten and relax each group of muscles in your body. This exercise is proven to be effective at reducing stress and helping with sleep. Try listening to peaceful, ambient sound as you perform this exercise to further induce calmness.
  3. Try meditation. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and visualize one of your favorite places. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? Mentally allow yourself to become immersed in the sensations of this place. Meditate daily to give your mind a break from stress.
  4. Engage in a hobby. Do something that you enjoy to take your mind off the stress of finding a new job. A healthy mind requires balance and enjoyment is part of that equation.
  5. Laugh. It’s one of the hardest things to do when you feel like your world has been flipped upside down but sometimes a good laugh is the best remedy for stress.
  6. Exercise. If your body feels better, so will your mind. Exercise is a great distraction from the stress of job loss and will also increase endorphins in your body, which are natural pain and stress fighters.

Losing your job can be terrifying, frustrating and downright depressing. As a chronic migraine sufferer, you need to be especially careful during this stressful time in your life, as the pressure of finding a new job can trigger seriously painful stress-induced migraine attacks that will undoubtedly hinder your search for a new job. Find a way to be positive, starting with your health. Talk about your job loss with others, redefine your goals, try to enjoy some of the time off and in the mean time – utilize every financial resource available to you. Practice using stress coping mechanisms when all else fails and remember, everyone experiences job loss at least once in their lifetime. You’re not alone.

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Image Source: Christine

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