It is the phenomenon where the area around your eye starts to flutter and twitch. It’s annoying. It’s tickly. From your vantage point, you think the person sitting across from you can see your face convulsing uncontrollably. You rub it. You press on it. You wish it away.
But it won’t go away!
You may have noticed a pattern in your life like I have done; it happens particularly when you are stressed. Lack of sleep adds to the variables.
Earlier this year I had a constant eye twitch for four months. FOUR months! I was desperate to make it go away. I researched it to see if it was more than just a lack of sleep or added stress. I found out that it could also be caused by low levels of potassium or magnesium. It can also be triggered by dehydration.
Hoping for a quick fix, I upped my water and vitamin intake. I took magnesium but it only gave me diarrhea. That added insult to injury. Eventually I was able to get it resolved through a combination of water, vitamins, sleep and stress reduction tactics (shared below).
So what is your stress barometer?
I have a fellow caregiver friend who said that, for her, she knows her stress levels are too high when her house plants start to wilt and die. Other people rely on gauging their mood to know when their stress is getting too high. Others get kinks and knots in muscles they never knew they had. My neck and back always kinks up when things get REALLY bad.
However, I am finding that the biggest indicator of stress among the caregiver community is that twitchy eye. A casual poll just today on my Facebook Page shows that this happens to many and we can all relate!
I came up with my own scale of stress based on this twitch criteria:
Under one eye… level 1 – get some sleep tonight!
Over and under one eye… level 2 – plan to get sleep for at least the next week!
Both eyes… level 3 – you didn’t sleep like you were supposed to. Now you have to shut the world down too!
Both eyes and migrating to cheek or nose area… level 4 – Now you really did it. This is going to take months to reverse!
(If you combine the above with kinked muscles, you are close to a level of internal combustion, registering a 10 on the Richter Scale of Stress.)
Ways to combat a twitchy eye:
If this sounds like you, I have some tips that helped me (or are worth trying) to get rid of that twitchy eye sooner. (Some of these are no-brainers and it’s not meant to insult your intelligence. Since these are easier said than done I am giving links to what I did to fix it in my own life.)
- Get better sleep. I use the Sleep Cycle app to track my sleep patterns. I then showed the data to my doctor who was duly impressed with how little sleep I get (and what poor quality of sleep I get). He prescribed a sleep aid for me to use temporarily. I also use the Relax Melodies app to infuse relaxing white noise to help me get … and stay… asleep.
- Relax more. Ah, this is even harder to do than getting better sleep! I found that creating my own Pampering Kit helped me carve out time to relax and do better about self care. I even put my relaxing time on my calendar so I won’t overlook it.
- Reduce your obligations. The hardest word for me to use is the word “no”, but it’s essential. Delegating your obligations is a good start. Here I give you tips on doing both with my post “10 tips to get you out of a crisis mode: how to infuse simplicity and self care on an emergency basis.“
- Focus on your health. Aside from some basics like staying hydrated and taking your vitamins, you have to look at your long-term plan to stay healthy. In this post I share tips on how to “Organize and pay attention to your health.“
- Be kinder to yourself on bad days. The old me used to go into a meltdown when nothing was going right. Now I’ve learned to ease up on my internal expectations and identify the very stress that’s causing my frustrations. I have learned to shift gears and regroup. Here are two links that may help: “10 Easy Steps to Take Stress Out of Your Day” and “If you are having a bad day, read this…“
So, join the discussion! Do you have experience with a twitchy eye too? What’s the longest you’ve had one? Do you have any extra tips to share that may help? Add your feedback in the comments below!