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How these 3 seizure triggers can guide your New Year’s resolutions

Rachel EhrhardtHappy New Year All! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and had a chance to recoup after what ended up being a pretty interesting year.

This is the time of the year when we all want to set intentions for the year and evaluate things in our lives that must change. I think one of the best ways for us to do this is to evaluate who we are and what we need in order to be successful in this realm. One of the things I do yearly is to look at my seizure triggers and try and create a plan of action in order to avoid seizures in my life, so I thought I would go through the items that I deal with and how to avoid issues throughout the year so that you may find some sort of system that works for you.

What are seizure triggers?

According to the National Epilepsy Foundation, the top triggers of seizure for people in this country are sleep deprivation, sickness involving a change of routine or fever, flashing lights, stress, drug or alcohol use, menstrual cycle, unmaintained blood sugars, and certain foods. My own triggers are stress, lack of sleep, menstrual cycle, flashing lights, and diet.


For my own trigger of stress, I have begun the practice of yoga at least once per week. I find that when I have the chance to meditate on my day, I am better able to manage the things that work and the things that are not working. I think the reason it works for me is because it forces me (for sixty minutes of my day) to be away from the hustle and bustle of life, including my cell phone, to focus on just me for a time. I truly encourage all people with a form of epilepsy to find some type of meditation or yoga.

Another reason I love yoga is the fact that it forces you to breathe correctly. Many people with epilepsy tend to hold their breath which actually causes increased anxiety and lack of oxygen to get into their system. I, for one, hold my breath in stressful situations or some of my busy moments. I have started to take moments regularly that are deep breaths causing my body to slow down and reduce my anxiety.

Lack of Sleep

Another trigger for me is sleep deprivation. This past year, I have seen this trigger play a significant role in my life. I decided to start back to school full time and working full time as well this past fall. I could see a direct correlation between the times that I truly had not slept sufficiently and those times I did. I have had to make an intention this coming year to place my sleep as a priority in my life. If there are times during the week that I have not slept sufficiently, I tend to block off a day (or evening) that week to allow me just to relax, watch television, have a hot bath, and head to bed at a decent time. I have been successful in placing Fridays to be my day for this recently. By that time of the week, I am mentally and physically exhausted and it gives me a chance to stop for a moment and reconnect with myself and how I am feeling.

Not Eating Healthy

Finally, another example of my trigger is that of diet. As I have gotten older I think my diet has played a big role in my health as a whole. I can look at times in my life when I have been eating well (healthy), and those times that I have not. I see a direct correlation with my energy levels, sleep cycles, and basic mood.

I have found two services to help with this:

I use Instacart to deliver my food from the grocery to my home. The driver shops for the list of groceries that you need. They contact you with any issues that they encounter. Then they deliver your groceries at a time that is convenient. Last year they gave me the option of paying thirty-five dollars for VIP delivery service. So as long as I spend thirty-five dollars on groceries with each delivery the fees are waived. I did not realize how stressful it is to grocery shop or how hard it was to meal plan when you are sitting in a grocery store.

I began using a meal delivery service, Hello Fresh, in November when we moved into our new building. My significant other travels five days a week which leaves me to make my meals weekly for myself. I found that I was eating out quite a bit and spending money on food that was not necessarily the best for me physically. We pick and choose what the healthiest options are as well as what the easiest meals are for us to accomplish weekly. The service packs up all of the produce, meats, and sauces required to accomplish the meal and all you have to do is follow the instructions they provide. Nothing we have done has taken longer than forty minutes to make from start to finish and we have truly enjoyed the meals. It has taken time out of our day that we can be doing other things and it also is forcing us to stay accountable to our diet.

What are your resolutions?

I hope that this helps you to setup your yearly goals and resolutions as much it has helped me. As always, you are more than welcome to contact me below in the comment section and I will be sure to get back to you.


** This writer and Living Well With Epilepsy are NOT sponsored to mention these two services, they are just services that work for this writer. Rachel, and the Living Well team, simply believe others could benefit from learning about these services.**

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Rachel Ehrhardt Streelman is from Houston , Texas. She has been a writer and contributor to Living Well with Epilepsy for two years. Rachel has had epilepsy since 9 months old. She comes from a family where her father, sister, and herself all have different forms of epilepsy. Rachel is married to Casey and they have a Cavapoo named Sheldon.

2 Responses

  1. Tim
    | Reply

    Love this, thanks for sharing. I too am working to reduce stress, get more sleep, and eat healthier!

  2. Ada
    | Reply


    I was searching for an epilepsy blog to help me with my epilepsy, to see how others have been dealing with this, and your blog was the first in the results. I am very happy I clicked on it, because reading your posts kind of made me feel less alone. I know so many people, and I am the only one with epilepsy, you probably know how it feels. So thank you for writing this.

    I find that meditation helps me too, as I can concentrate on my body and calm down. I also exercise every morning, and do Judo, because I find this helps my self-confidence.

    Thank you!

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