Lifestyle changes to prevent seizures is something that can come up quite regularly when you have epilepsy. As we kickstart 2021 you might be considering some epilepsy-related lifestyle resolutions for the year ahead.
The start of a new year can be a good time to reflect on our health. Especially on how our lifestyle impacts our seizures. Speaking from experience, it can be very exciting when we discover a new lifestyle change to prevent seizures. Try and not get ahead of yourself when making any changes. Start small and work up to those big changes so they last in the long term.
10 Practical Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Seizures
- Get yourself a regular sleep pattern
Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to managing epileptic seizures. A lack of sleep can trigger a seizure and no one wants that. Sleep gives your body the time to recover and repair, and when you live with epilepsy, you want your body to do as much recovering and repairing as possible.
Set yourself a goal to get yourself to bed on time every night. It might not sound appealing if you’re a night owl, but would you rather an early night or a seizure?
Sleep as a lifestyle change to prevent seizures might need some preparation in other areas of your life too. Try taking naps if you feel run down during the day, but not so late in the day that you disrupt your sleep pattern. If you’re employed, you can also speak to your manager about adjusting your working times or the need to go home early if you’re feeling particularly tired.
- Minimise alcohol and caffeine
Minimising both alcohol and caffeine can be one of the more effective lifestyle changes to prevent seizures.
To reduce your caffeine intake, slowly lower your reliance on your caffeinated drinks and foods. Try cutting out caffeine after midday, then reduce it to an hour after you wake up. Soon you won’t even notice that your morning coffee is actually decaf.
Lowering your alcohol intake can also be a lot easier than it might seem. Drink a glass of water in between drinks or simply opt for mocktails. At home, why not try replacing the time you would spend having a drink with doing something fun? You could pick up a new hobby like making your own candles, baking, reading or grab a classic board game because you’re never too old for that.
- Look after your mental health
Stress and anxiety are pretty common seizure triggers so they are definitely something to keep an eye on. Looking after your mental health is not only a helpful lifestyle change to prevent seizures, you will generally feel a lot better too!
You could try therapy, meditating, exercising and incorporating self-care. Self-care comes in many forms so try different ways to relax and find what works for you. A notable mention goes to speaking to others with epilepsy. Since launching The Happy Sista I’ve spoken to so many different people with epilepsy and it has worked wonders for my mental health.
- Eat healthy and exercise regularly
Eating healthy is even more important when you live with a chronic illness. We need to give our body the right fuel (food) to heal itself, there’s plenty of truth in the saying “you are what you eat”. Regular exercise is simply good for your overall wellbeing – I’m not going to go into it here because you’ve probably heard the reasons why hundreds of times.
Some people use the ketogenic diet to control their epilepsy. The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into a state of ketosis. It does work for a lot of people so it’s worth looking into.
- Become more active in choosing your medication
There are lots of different medicines out there to control your epilepsy, but they often come with side effects. Try to keep in regular contact with an epilepsy specialist so you can discuss any changes.
You might be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get any side effects – yay! If you do get side effects, weigh them up. If a medication isn’t controlling your seizures well but is making you incredibly anxious, it’s definitely worth a discussion with your doctor.
- Identify your seizure triggers
Working to identify your seizure triggers and managing them can be an amazing lifestyle change to prevent seizures. Making one small change could have a big impact on your seizures.
Triggers are different for everyone, but we all need to record them to find a pattern. The Happy Sista has a free seizure tracker to help you do this, get yours below!
- Evaluate the relationships in your life
Are the relationships in your life healthy, or are they bringing you stress? Who you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. As we’ve already talked about, your mental health is something you need to protect when you live with epilepsy.
Also double-check with friends and family that they know seizure first aid. If you need a guide, check out this one from the Epilepsy Society here.
- Take your meds on time
A simple but effective lifestyle change to prevent seizures. Being strict when taking your meds can sometimes become lost in everyday life. It’s understandable, life is busy and we are always on the move.
Before the pandemic, I used to struggle with this because my life didn’t really have a routine. So to change this I set up an alert on my phone and started using a pillbox which comes in handy when you take your meds when you’re half asleep.
- Consider a holistic approach
A holistic approach to epilepsy has varying results. Everyone is different so this approach may or may not work for you.
There are lots of different things out there you can try like acupuncture, aromatherapy, CBD oil etc. Check out this list for some more ideas. Whatever you do, always discuss any changes with your doctor first.
- Invest in epilepsy devices
Over the past year, I’ve invested in 2 products to keep me safer with epilepsy. Neither were budget-friendly but they increase both my safety and confidence.
The first buy was an epilepsy pillow that helps prevent suffocation and SUDEP. The second was the Empactica Embrace2 seizure watch, you can read my review here.
Find what works for you
Sadly finding lifestyle changes to prevent seizures is often trial and error. Allow yourself to feel any disappointment and frustration because these emotions are more than justified. Although try not to wallow in them because it will only drag you down. Do your best to pick yourself up and move onto the next suggestion.
Let me know if you plan to try any changes or have already made some changes in the comments below! I’d love to hear what worked for you!
Until next time,