December’s here! which means that it’s almost time for the big holidays of the year! 🎉
But these occasions can be quite a nightmare to get through, even for someone without migraine. How can we then, as migraine affecting, prepare ourselves to take on the holiday season and tackle our migraine at the same time?
I will be sharing some tips to hopefully get you started on the preparations, minimize your pain, and maximize your treat! 💪
Shop early for your Christmas gifts
When you have a migraine, shopping centres are the last place you want to go, especially during Christmas time. It is crowded, with bright lights and Christmas decorations being an affront to your eyes, and repetitive Christmas songs constantly ringing in your ears. What’s more, we are still in a pandemic, so such crowded places are definitely not recommended!
With more retailers moving to the digital space, it is now much easier to order your Christmas presents online and have them delivered right to your doorstep! Save yourself the hassle of last-minute buying (which causes SO MUCH unnecessary stress) and order your gifts as early as today!
Pick alternatives for Christmas decorations
We know a real Christmas pine tree is key for an authentic Christmas atmosphere in your living room. However, strong smells are amongst the most common migraine triggers, so if you noticed the pine scent to be one of your triggers, opt for a realistic artificial tree or even a low-scent variety of tree.
Scented candles are also very popular during the holidays; but if you are sensitive to strong smells, such decorations could bring about a migraine real quick. Instead, use natural ambience scents and real spices! You can very easily slice oranges or lemons, boil them in a pan with a couple of cinnamon sticks to freshen the house beautifully without the added chemicals!
In my case, I have no problems with candles, I also use incense, however, the latter does sometimes affect me.
Don’t forget about the Christmas lights as well! Light sensitivity is a common symptom experienced before/during/after an attack so bright flickering lights are not really the most comfortable to look at. Always use the static mode and limit yourself to a couple of decorations in your house!
Don’t forget the noise pollution
Another factor that you cannot forget is noise pollution, as it can also trigger migraine attacks. Obviously, this is not new! Living in a big city has great advantages, but, as with everything in life, these benefits, on many occasions, also have certain disadvantages. Among these are noise or noise pollution, derived from the typical activity of a large city caused, for example, by different means of transport, commercial establishments, terraces, and coexistence in general with many people. Daily, we are exposed to excessive and annoying noise levels that can affect our quality of life and even affect our health. This is aggravated in people suffering from neurological diseases such as headache and, more specifically, migraine, which can have noise pollution as a trigger for migraine attacks, which is called sonophobia.
At Christmas, some cultures more than others, parties can be more or less noisy … I hope that your family will help you to maintain noise levels that do not bother you (for example: consciously limit the volume of the mobile phone, the radio and the television), and so you can feel comfortable and enjoy the parties like everyone else 🥰.
All of us who suffer from migraines know that diet is a trigger to consider.
In my case, my friends say that it is cheaper to dress me than to feed myself hahaha, I usually eat a lot, and this time is not the exception. However, you must take care of yourself because it is also combined with less sleep, alcohol, and the weather (depending on where you live).
The high concentration of histamines in the blood causes a large part of migraines, and there are products rich in histamines that we consume at Christmas, for example protein foods such as smoked ham, pepperoni, salami, aged cheeses, chocolate, sweets, and we already know all the panettone, nougat, and other typical delicacies of these dates.
Also, we have to be careful with alcohol, that is doubly harmful for those of us who suffer from headaches, since on the one hand, it is rich in histamines, and on the other it is hypoglycemic. So, your doctor would tell you that it is never recommended. In addition, dehydration is one of the most common migraine triggers. Alcohol promotes dehydration in your body and some components can increase the risk of a migraine. And we know it’s easy to forget to drink water when there is so much happening around. So, keep a glass of water on your bedside table and you won’t forget it!
It is a lie to say that we will not drink alcohol on holidays, but hey, let us have a moderate consumption of this (although this advice also applies whether or not you have a migraine 😊).
However, if you want to learn more about How it impacts what you eat in the migraine and it’s in your body? I invite you to read my post https://butterflyespirit.com/2020/07/15/how-it-impacts-what-you-eat-in-the-migraine-and-its-in-your-body/ .
Extreme heat or cold
In some people, weather changes can lead to imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin that can lead to migraines. Weather-related triggers can also make headache caused by other triggers worse.
If you feel like your migraines are caused by the weather, you may get frustrated, which is understandable. After all, you can’t change the weather. However, you can learn what are the climatic changes that cause a migraine (I invite you to read my post https://butterflyespirit.com/2020/07/13/are-your-migraine-attacks-triggered-by-weather-conditions-or-allergies/ ) and take measures to reduce the effects, so this Christmas do not forget to always carry a good coat, scarves, hats, gloves, and everything you need to protect yourself from the cold.
Stick to your regular routine
Migraine hates irregularities and loves routine. The sooner you start having a balanced lifestyle, the easier it will be to get through the Christmas season.
If you haven’t already, try to stick to regular sleeping times; everyone is different so finding the right number of hours for you to feel rested and energized is quite personal. You can even keep meditating 10 minutes before starting your routine. Get to know your triggers, take note of what impacts your condition and adapt your routine in accordance.
Set aside an emergency kit
All in all, despite these preparations, migraine can still take you by surprise especially if uncontrollable factors surface (like sudden weather changes). Your best bet now is to quickly get a hold of your most effective reliefs to treat the pain and symptoms.
If you are on the move, make sure to keep this emergency kit in the car so it follows you wherever you go. You will need water, little snacks, instant coffee or tea bags, ice packs, and also things to comfort your senses such as an eye mask. You can add extra medications, painkillers, anti-nausea medicine, and sickness bags!
I hope with this migraine preparation, you will minimize the risks of letting migraine ruin your holidays and maximize your chances to enjoy yourself with your family and friends—this is the atmosphere that makes this season so special! It is essential to be prepared but how you manage itself is also key. And of course, I wish you a Merry Christmas! 🎉
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