Tag Archives: audiobooks

The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #71



The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #71 | Dr. Alexandria Szeman 19 March 2023


Want to Stop Emotional Eating? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions | Sixty and Me
Have you ever thought about the tiny number of things over which we have actual control? There are so many things in life that go on regardless of us actually ‘doing’ anything to make them happen. Trees get leaves and plants grow. It rains. The earth turns on its axis.


Migraines Not Going Away? How to Break Out of a Rut | Migraine Again
Maybe you’ve taken your meds, rested in a dark room, loaded up on water … and you’re still stuck with a migraine attack that’s not going away. It’s so frustrating! We’ve been there. Migraine is a finicky disease.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

6 Self-Care Tips for Sexual Assault Survivors | Teen Vogue
This method really helps me – I open the notes section of my phone and let out whatever I might be feeling on the screen. A trigger can come from seeing a person who looks like your abuser or even the same car they drove.
RAINN Online Hotline
Do you need help dealing with sexual assault, rape, or incest? Call @RAINN ‘s Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673) to talk to a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Don’t feel comfortable talking? Use chat/text instead.

Mental Health

A Gentle Practice to Wind Down Before Bed | Mindful
Hi, I’m Sara Ivanhoe-yoga director at the University of Southern California where I teach a five-week course on sleep. What I’m going to be teaching you now is a short sequence of gentle movements and breathing techniques to help you wind down at the end of the day and prepare for sleep.
How to Live as a Minimalist: A Beginner’s Guide | The Simplicity Habit
A guest post by Melanie Manard of The Conscious Insider The word minimalism first appeared in the art world of the 60s to describe the work of artist Donald Judd. Nowadays, it’s used to define both design concepts and lifestyle precepts. Minimalism is about recentering on what’s essential in our…


Valentine’s Day’s connection with love was probably invented by Chaucer and other 14th-century poets | The Conversation
As an undergraduate, on a tour of Europe, I happened to step into the church where Saint Valentine’s head was kept. The tour guide told us a (likely fictitious) story about Saint Valentine performing forbidden marriages for persecuted Christians under the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (possibly…
I used to hate audiobooks, and now I’m a diehard Audible user | Tom’s Guide
(Image credit: Shutterstock) Friends, readers, fellow book lovers – hear me out. I come not to bury books, but to praise them. As a lifelong reader, I’ve happily spent more than I should on books I’ll never get around to actually finishing. Creating stacks for shelf upon shelf of tomes I pretend…

Cooking and Baking

17 Tasty Meals You Can Make in One Pan | Food and Wine
These one-pan recipes include roast chicken with butternut squash and an easy sheet-pan pizza. Plus more one-pan meals.
Basic Sourdough Bread | King Arthur Baking
Recipes Bread Sandwich bread This tangy, soft sandwich loaf recipe was originally developed for the bread machine; we’ve tweaked it here for those of you without a machine. See our recipe for Bread Machine Sourdough Bread for the original, machine-baked version.

My Books

They lied when they said I killed my mother, but that didn’t stop Betty from leaving me and taking the kids. She even flipped me off after she slammed the car door. Yeah, like I believed they were my kids in the first place.
Books by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman
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More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

It might seem challenging to buy gifts for someone with migraine, neuropathic facial pain, or other chronic pain, but if you forget the word “cure” in your quest for the perfect gift and think of comforting the person instead, it will be much easier for you to get something that they’ll appreciate. Remember that “chronic” pain means “constant” pain: if it could be eliminated, most of us would have done anything necessary to rid ourselves of the debilitating, sometimes disabling, pain. Gifts for People with Migraine and Chronic Pain explains some of the products that I’ve come to rely on to reduce pain. Here are more of my favorite products that your family, friends, and colleagues with chronic pain might appreciate.

Ginger Root Tea

Migraine attacks and other chronic pain are sometimes accompanied by nausea. While prescription anti-emetics might help prevent vomiting, they don’t do anything to quell nausea. Ginger, whether crystallized, cut fresh from the root, or made into tea, is the best natural remedy I’ve ever found to quell nausea, whether it’s from migraine, medications, motion-sickness, flu, or holiday overindulgence. It has none of the side-effects of pharmaceutical anti-emetics (prescription or OTC) and can be added to liquids so you ensure that you remain hydrated. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, and I’ve found that when I drink ginger tea regularly, the neuropathic facial pain is reduced. Therefore, instead of saving the tea for hemiplegic migraine attacks, I have some regularly throughout the day (for Warnings about ginger consumption, see my Natural Nausea Relief).

The best ginger I’ve ever gotten for homemade tea is Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root. I realize that tossing a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger into a cup of boiling water will give a faint ginger taste, but Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root makes a wonderful tea that I can have without sugar. It provides all the stomach-calming and nausea-quelling properties of the crystallized ginger without any of the sugar. Also, since Tea Spot’s ginger root is dried and chopped, I don’t have to store it in the refrigerator or freezer as I do with fresh or crystallized ginger, which makes it very convenient.

You can get Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root for tea in several sizes: $4 sample (2 servings), $13.50 (¼ lb), $46.50 (1 lb). The Tea Spot has a large variety of black, green, and herbal teas, all of excellent quality and flavor (but then, I’ve been a tea-drinker all my life, preferring it to coffee). They also have tea samplers, tumblers, mugs, teapots, and more. Tea Spot gift cards ($25, $50, $100, $200) are available if you are unsure about which teas your recipients might prefer.


I’ve always been a huge lover of books so even when I have a migraine attack, I need to read. Books have always been an integral part of my self-care routine even before I understood the meaning of taking care of myself. Sometimes, migraine or other pain is so debilitating that the person cannot read. Other times, as when migraine becomes chronic (more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months) or intractable (never-ending), the pain, though quite severe, allows some reading. Some people with migraine have told me they cannot read e-books during a migraine but can manage traditional paper books. At times, I can read on my tablet, but I need to put it on Night (Dark) mode. When I have a hemiplegic migraine and cannot read or even lift my head from the pillow, I listen to audiobooks, which was a lifesaver in April 2018 when this intractable migraine began. There are several ways to provide books as gifts to recipients: paper books, e-books, and audiobooks.

Paper Books

So many books, so little time. I get most of my books from Amazon these days, if only because living up here on Big Rock Candy Mountain with the nearest bookstore about 2 hours away doesn’t allow much wandering the aisles and spending the day as if you were in a library (no libraries around here either). Also, as someone with intractable migraine for over 19 months and with neuropathic facial pain (formerly, atypical trigeminal neuralgia), I am mostly house-bound. I love being able to browse any category of books I wish without leaving home.

If you know the categories, authors, or specific titles your recipients might like, it’ll make your job easier when looking for books they might enjoy. If you don’t have specifics on authors or titles, you can always get them Amazon gift certificates: available as a physical card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000, several designs), a card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000, 3-5 designs), a card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000, several designs), or as an e-gift card ($25-$2,000).


10 years ago, if you’d asked me about e-books, I never would have imagined that they could have existed, let alone that I would like them. When we moved up here on the mountain in 2009, however, all my boxes of books had to stay in the barn: the house was simply too small to hold them all, and it took me years to save enough money to have some bookshelves built in my office. In the meantime, when I was desperate for something to read, I began to look at the classics, which were inaccessibly stored in the barn, in electronic book form. At that time, most of the classics were free in e-book form. Now virtually all books are available in both paper and e-book formats, and though I love paper books most, I love the convenience of e-books.

Your recipient can use an Amazon gift card for either paper or e-books, but you can also buy someone a subscription to Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month) and they can read any book enrolled in the KU program. If you really want someone to gush with gratitude, you could buy them a Kindle ($69-249) — Amazon’s tablet — but that’s not necessary for them to enjoy e-books or to be in Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Reading Apps are free for any device: iOS, Android, Mac, PC. (It’s what I’ve used since about 2010, on my iPad, Mac, and iPhone).

Any Amazon gift cards can be used for e-books: card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000), card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000), card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000), or e-gift card ($25-$2,000).


Just as I never would have guessed that I would love e-books, I really never would have known that I would love audiobooks. And I never even listened to an audiobook before June of 2018, by which time I’d had an intractable migraine since April of that year and was bored witless. I couldn’t read — neither paper nor electronic books — so I tried the Audible 30-day free trial. I got a couple of my favorite classic books, each read by one of my favorite actors. While I lay on the couch (tired of lying in bed), I listened to the audiobooks. Before the end of the first couple chapters of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I was hooked. Now I have a huge audiobook library, mostly classics, but some bestsellers and memoirs, too.

You can purchase gift cards for audiobooks directly from Audible (1, 3, 6, or 12 months for $15, $45, $90, or $150, respectively) or Audible via Amazon (same months and prices as at Audible). (Please note that Amazon gift cards are not eligible for use at Audible, and vice versa.)

Guided Meditation Apps to Reduce Pain

Surf City Apps and Relax Melodies

I’ve written several articles on the many free self-hypnosis meditation apps that successfully reduce migraine and chronic pain, and the links in this paragraph will take to those more detailed articles. I use Surf City Apps’ Migraine and Headache Relief, Chronic Pain Relief, and Sleep Well: Insomnia Relief (since both migraine and other types of chronic pain can cause painsomnia: pain-induced insomnia). I also use Relax Melodies, a guided meditation app which has a “background” feature which allows you to play its sounds “behind” other apps and which I use for the relief of both pain and insomnia.

Both Surf City Apps and Relax Melodies are available for iOS and Android devices. All these apps can be used for free, for an unlimited time. Download Sleep Well Insomnia Relief from Surf City Apps, from the App store for all iOS devices, from Amazon for Kindles, and from GooglePlay for Android devices. You can check out all Surf City’s free apps on its website. Their apps have been downloaded over 5 million times and average 4+ stars out of 5 for Sleep Well Insomnia Relief. Ipnos’ Relax Melodies app, available in 10 languages, has a 4.5 out of 5* rating (with 700,000 reviews).

Migraine & Headache Relief is free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, or from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Chronic Pain Relief is free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, and from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Sleep Well Insomnia Relief is free from Surf City Apps, from the App store for all iOS devices, from Amazon for Kindles, and from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Relax Melodies is free from Ipnos after selecting your type of smartphone, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, and from Google Play for Android devices.

The Difference Between the Free and Premium Versions

Although all of these apps are available free, they’re worth purchasing the premium version. The difference between the free and the paid versions of these apps is the ability to change background noises and to Loop the meditation so that it repeats as often as the listener wishes (Surf City Apps) and to include additional guided meditations to reduce the stress and anxiety (Relax Melodies) that are often common in people with migraine and other chronic pain. The premium versions of Surf City Apps’ self-hypnosis guided meditations are $1.99-$4.99 depending on the meditation. Relax Melodies premium version is $4.99 for one month access to all its features or $27.99 for lifetime access.

If you know of a specific app that someone uses to reduce pain, anxiety, or insomnia, you could always purchase gift cards so they can buy the premium versions of these apps. For people with an iPad or an iPhone, you could get them an Apple App Store or iTunes gift card via Amazon (physical gift card in $25, $50, $100, $200 amounts; e-gift card for $25, $50, $100, $200). You can purchase a Google Play gift card via Amazon (physical gift card $50; e-gift card for $25, $50, $100, $200) for anyone with Android phones or tablets.

Additionally, all of these guided meditation apps to reduce pain and insomnia are also available via Amazon for its Kindles: any Amazon gift cards can be used for the premium version of these apps: card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000), card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000), card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000), or e-gift card ($25-$2,000).

Health Journeys App, CDs, MP3s

Health Journeys, founded by holistic medicine advocate Belleruth Naparstek, sponsors a large library of guided meditations, with many of them devoted to pain relief and healing. I regularly use Naparstek’s Meditation to Ease Pain and Meditation to Help Relieve Headaches, the latter of which features a guided meditation for relief of headache pain as well as a meditation designed to help prevent future head pain. I list several of Health Journeys other pain relief apps in my Gifts article.

These audio guided meditations are available in MP3 or CD format ($11.98 or $17.98, respectively) and are also available to stream from Health Journeys app for Android and iOS, which features a 7-day free trial. Health Journeys also has other items for pain relief and healing, including guided meditations by Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the leaders in holistic medicine (CDs only), essential oils, books, pillows, lotions, etc. They also have gift cards ($15-$100) so that recipients can choose their own gifts. Health Journey’s catalogue is available online or by mail.

Remember to think “comfort” instead of “cure” when considering gifts for people with chronic pain and it’ll be easier for you to please people. Don’t have anyone to buy gifts for you? Then take care of yourself by getting at least one of these gifts, or those in my Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain (portable aromatherapy roll-ons and balms; all cotton heating/cold pads; and more details and meditations from Health Journeys, which  I’ve used almost 30 years, back when cassettes were the way to have portable audio). Whether you buy these gifts for others or for yourself, they’ll help reduce pain and comfort anyone suffering from migraine attacks or other chronic pain.

Related Posts on Migraine & Chronic Pain

For more of my articles on migraine or chronic pain,
see my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

Related Posts on Migraine,
Chronic Pain, and Insomnia Relief

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Filed under Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, Audiobooks, Books, Caregivers, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, E-books, healing, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Neuropathic Facial Pain, PTSD, Self-Hypnosis Apps, Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy