5 Tips for Managing Migraines During the Holiday Season
A Seasonal Spike
With visiting family, travel, office parties, and everything else, for as exciting as the holiday season is, it can be very difficult for migraineurs. This period of time is one of increased stress; it’s when there’s pressure to attend social events, when diets can go out the window, and when sleep quality and quantity often takes a hit. In essence, it’s a minefield as missteps can lead to migraine attacks.
So what can you do to ensure migraine doesn’t hold you back during the holiday season? Here are five must-see tips:
1. Stay Consistent with Sleep
Whether it’s because you spend more time planning and hosting meals, are doing more shopping in person or online, or you have to keep to a busier social schedule, sleep often takes a hit during the holidays. According to Dr. David W. Dodick, Chair of the American Migraine Foundation, ensuring quality sleep can really help reduce frequency and severity of attacks.  He suggests migraineurs try the following:
- Keep the same bedtime and waking time as much as possible, even on days off of work.
- Make your bed a screen, TV, snacking, and studying-free zone.
- If you’re unable to fall asleep in bed after 20-30 minutes, try getting up and going into another room to do something relaxing until you feel tired again.
- If you nap, try to still ensure you’re keeping to a normal sleeping schedule.
2. Plan Ahead
Logistics during the holiday season can be complicated; there may be shopping to do, relatives to visit, and parties to plan. The key is to be organized and smart; forestall stress by avoiding shopping during busy hours and starting early (rather than trying to do it all in one day), and ensuring you’re breaking down bigger tasks into smaller ones. If you have travel plans, give yourself extra time to get to the airport or do the drive.
3. Skip the Drinks
Alcohol consumption is elevated during the holiday season, whether it’s pumpkin ales during Thanksgiving, eggnog at Christmas dinner, or champagne to ring in the new year. If you’re a drinker, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re alternating water with your drink of choice. If possible, avoid red wine altogether, and do your best to remain moderate despite social pressures. There’s certainly a great benefit to avoiding alcohol altogether.
4. Keep a Consistent Diet
This can be hard to do during the season, but it’s worth the effort. Be mindful of what you’re eating and do the best you can to avoid your triggers. No matter what time of year, it’s a good idea to track what foods and drinks are bringing on attacks. For many, these may include cured meats, processed cheeses, and chocolates, so be mindful of ingredients and what you’re picking up for the party. Don’t skip meals trying to get everything done, and make sure you’re drinking enough water.
5. Schedule Personal Time
Be realistic about your own needs; sometimes, it’s better to skip a party or dinner, especially if you’re feeling pressure or anxiety because of it. It’s perfectly alright to say no when needed. Another good idea is to schedule at least a couple hours of week for downtime; this helps reduce stress levels. Even just a little break from other people and a hectic schedule will work wonders.
A Holiday Season to Remember
At the end of the day, what’s important is that you don’t let your migraine keep you from taking part in the fun and excitement of the season. There’s little worse than an attack that’s preventing you from enjoying the company of friends and family during this special time. Luckily, patients can actively take on their condition, and, especially with the help of dedicated medical staff, effectively manage it. From the run up to Thanksgiving, to the frenzy of the holidays themselves, there’s no reason for migraineurs to feel helpless.
If you’re suffering with chronic migraine, the team at Migraine Treatment Centers of America can help. Employing the groundbreaking Omega Device, the experts here have helped countless migraineurs effectively manage their condition. Learn more about treatment at these outpatient clinics by calling 469-638-0207 today!
- “Migraines, Holiday Sleep And Stress”. 2016. American Migraine Foundation. Accessed November 1 2018. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/2016/07/07/migraines-holiday-sleep-stress/.