It’s true – the majority of us look forward to the holidays. Sometimes though, as a migraine sufferer, the holidays can be a time of stress and headaches….often leading to an increase in migraines. So in a way, does that sometimes make you dread the holidays – the added pressure, the stress, the running from here to there to get everything done – and the resulting migraines?
Don’t give up on the holidays – you can look forward to this time of year without the dread and anxiety often involved. There are many things we can do for ourselves to reduce or avoid episodes of stress; not only reducing migraine pain, but also giving us some control over our migraine patterns, restoring some control over our lives – control which we are often robbed of due to migraine patterns.
Let’ talk about a few ways we can kick pain to the curb this holiday season!
This equals less stress + fewer migraines and headaches.
Make lists, delegate, plan ahead! Repeat after me – “Lists are our friends.”
In your word processor or on a sheet of paper, put down a list of things that need to be done. Then delegate – split up what needs to be done and engage everyone’s help. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. Stress can bring on nasty tension-type headaches which, in turn, can trigger a migraine. Instead, give stress the boot by planning ahead!
Get Enough Sleep
Too much, too little, poor quality, or disrupted sleep is a very common migraine trigger. As I have said before, it is best to have a specific time to go to bed and get up every day. Stick to those times even on weekends, holidays and during vacation.
It’s also important to get some quality sleep. If this isn’t happening for you, there are some things you can do that can improve your sleep. We have discussed some ways in previous blogs, but I also have a chapter that goes into more detail in my new book: “Conquering Migraines.”
For many, even mild dehydration can trigger head pain, so drinking lots of fluids is essential. Proper hydration is essential to good health in general, so you’ll be working on more than head pain prevention!
When you’re dehydrated, the tiny capillaries in the brain become smaller, which makes it painful for the blood to pass through and circulate around the brain.So, as a migraine sufferer, keeping hydrated and opening up those blood vessels is extremely important.
Good Diet is Essential
Meal schedules can get really erratic at times, especially at this time of year. Very often you may not even think of their being a correlation between this and the migraines you might experience – but it can be a huge trigger.
Make a special effort to have balanced meals on a regular schedule. Even those of us with the most hectic schedules can be successful with this by keeping healthy snacks handy. Beware of fast food snacks though. They can do as much harm as good.
Let Go and Enjoy Yourself
In reality, does it really matter if your house isn’t perfect, the gifts aren’t all perfectly wrapped, or the turkey is a bit dry? These aren’t the things you should be worrying about. Your family, friends and loved ones are more interested in you than the house, gifts, or a turkey. If everything isn’t quite perfect, rest assured, the house isn’t going to fall down around you.
You really can’t afford to let these little things bother you. Stress can trigger tension headaches which more often than not as a migraine suffer, escalates to a migraine. It’s important to learn to prioritize and do what you are able to do each day. Take it a day at a time, and live every moment to the fullest.
The holidays should be a time for family and friend – and joy and peace. What will you do to make sure you have plenty of fun without all the stress this holiday season?