How 4 women cope with migraines and their crazy busy lives
Glamour: What are you doing?
Annie Sloan: I am the CEO and co-founder of The Host Co. We make short term rentals affordable. So, for example, when you book an Airbnb, you get a message from the hosts asking if you need anything before you arrive or while you’re there: groceries, bike rental, phone charger, sunscreen, late check-in, fresh flowers , firewood, ChapStick – even tattoo artists for your bachelorette. One of the reasons I started this company is because I travel all the time and have stayed at billions of Airbnbs. I would get a migraine and think, “I’d pay $50 for two Advil and a Coke right now.”
When were you first diagnosed with migraines?
I started getting them after my second child was born, about five years ago. I had halos and brightness, my neck and face became hot, and my feet were freezing. I thought I was going crazy because I went to several doctors and they couldn’t find anything wrong. Finally my GP said, “It sounds like a migraine to me.”
What contributes to your high-pressure lifestyle?
When we launched, I was running a startup and raising a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. During Covid. I love my job, but it doesn’t stop. No downtime. Another reason I started the company is because moms never go on vacation, they go on road trips. With laundry and mid-stay cleaning services, you can really go on vacation. We can make sure you don’t have to pack your sand toys.
How do you live with migraines and run a company?
I’ve become much better at working when I have a mild migraine because I don’t have a choice; I have two small children and I can’t not work. In many ways it is very active. There are certain things I need to avoid: green tea, stress, lack of sleep, alcohol (although sometimes I’m like, “I’m going to screw this up, I want to drink tequila at this wedding”). And stress is a big factor, but I manage it with exercise when I can.
What do you wish people who don’t suffer from migraines knew about the condition?
That it is a matter of the whole body. I know everyone’s migraines are different, but they’re not just bad headaches—they’re all over the place. When I have a really bad migraine, I can’t see well. Also, I feel like women are a bit down when it comes to migraines. I must have thought for a year: Am I crazy? When someone tells you that something is really wrong with you, it’s a huge relief. it shouldn’t be like that!
What advice would you give to migraine sufferers who work or lead a high blood pressure lifestyle?
Write down when you get migraines and what triggers them because you’ll start to see patterns. And if you can deal with them very early, it will be a lot easier. If I see a halo out of the corner of my eye, I’ll say, no, I don’t have time for a migraine, no way. I wouldn’t say I can nip it in the bud, but I can mitigate it so it’s not all-encompassing.