Can the Holidays Trigger Migraines?
5 Tips to Combat Holiday Headaches
December 4, 2017
Most of us love this time of year – we get to spend time with loved ones, indulge a bit in delicious food, and see some pretty amazing light displays. While holiday traditions are what make this time of year so special, they can sometimes be bittersweet for migraine sufferers.
Travel, bright lights, and a poor diet are just a few of the seemingly unavoidable components of the holidays that are classic migraine triggers. On top of that, people can become stressed, their sleep can be affected, and exercise routines tend to get interrupted. It’s all a perfect storm for migraines.
So, what can you do? You can’t exactly tell the in-laws that their pull-out bed is disrupting your sleep. It’s true, some triggers are less avoidable than others. But there are a few precautions you can take to help set yourself up for success.
- Plan Ahead Take a minute (or 10) and plan out what you need to get done. Make shopping lists so you know what to get for who, before you hit the mall. When you do go shopping, if it’s possible, avoid peak days and times. When traveling, allow as much buffer time as you can so there’s no running through airports or speeding on the highway.
- Stick to Your Routine It’s easier said than done, but as much as you can maintain your regular routine, the better you’re likely to feel. Go to bed at your usual time and set an alarm to wake up at the same time each day; this should help even when you’re not in the comfort of your own bed.Keep your diet as on-track as possible and don’t skip on the exercise. It’s very tempting to waver when it comes to these two, but doing so will raise your chances of triggering a migraine.
- Avoid Lights and Strong Scents The decorations during this time of year can get a bit intense. The balsam candles may smell great, but strong fragrances are a known to cause migraines for many people. The same goes for bright lights. If your family likes to tour the town in search of the best light displays, maybe stay home and enjoy some quiet time.
- Drink in Moderation If you’re a drinker, do so in moderation. Certain types of alcohol can cause headaches, like red wine. Not to mention, overdoing it can cause intense headaches the morning after.Take it easy by having a glass of water after each alcoholic drink. And try just drinking water an hour or so before bed to help combat any dehydration.
- Listen to Your Body It’s all too easy to spread yourself thin this time of year. From office parties to family get-togethers, we’re expected to be in a hundred different places at once. Just remember that it’s okay to say no from time to time. You don’t have attend every party that you’re invited to. And if you’re too stressed out, you won’t have fun at the party anyway.Make quiet time for yourself so you can recharge. However, if you like to relax, don’t let holiday obligations take priority over that. It’s better to turn down an invite than go and give yourself a tension headache.
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American Migraine Foundation. (2015, December 1). Tis the Season for Holiday Headaches. Retrieved from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/tis-the-season-for-holiday-headaches/
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