Migraine-Free Holiday Season Mission: Possible! (Vol.1)

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Going gift shopping in noisy and crowded malls, temples of aggressive lightnings, coordinating the entire family coming over for a few days. Sounds familiar? Don’t forget writing and sending Christmas cards to your friends and relatives, organising the kids vacation activities, cooking hours for the big dinner,  realising at the last minute that you forgot to go to the hairdresser and to pick up your celebration outfit from the dry-cleaner’s, not to mention all the D-Day expected and unexpected mishaps… If you’re already as stressed out from reading this as we are, you’re not alone! 

Yes, an unforgettable season of ‘togetherness’ and joy comes at a price, but isn’t this celebration slightly overpriced? When a ‘normal’ person hardly makes it to New Year’s Eve and needs two-weeks to recover to get over this marathon, how can we help you, a migraine sufferer, minimize your pain and maximize your treat? Here are some common Christmas season triggers and tips you could use to have a stress-free jolly Christmas: 

  • When you have a migraine, shopping centers are the last place you want to go, especially at Christmas time. It is crowded, bright lights and Christmas decorations are an affront to your eyes and repetitive Christmas songs constantly ringing in your ears. You definitely want to start writing your gift list earlier in the year and if possible, search online to have most of it home-delivered to steer away from all the hustle and bustle! 

  • Family reunions can be a nightmare of an organization and because you don’t get to choose your family, it can be for some of you, hard to ensure everyone’s understanding of your condition. Make sure you find an “ally” amongst them so that you can rely on him/her when you feel overwhelmed.  Be gentle with yourself and it’s okay to let others take the responsibility of preparation once in a while.

  • Christmas is the time to celebrate food in its most diverse and complex forms. If you are the one hosting at your place, try to advocate for a potluck so that the burden of cooking is shared between all guests and make sure you are the one providing migraine-friendly treats. If the initiative fails and you end up cooking for everyone, get someone to support you and start cooking earlier in the month, you’ll just have to keep your preparation in the freezer until the time comes to defrost. Whether the dinner is at your place or you are asked to bring food to your relatives’ table, don’t worry if you have to get a store-made starter or desert. Make sure you try the product beforehand and have it in mind if you end up having a headache the day before the celebration.

  • 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. Also make sure the candles you buy are not scented candles, some smells could be considered “aggressive” for migraineurs.

  • Let’s now get into your lifestyle habits. Migraine hates irregularities and loves routine. The sooner you start having a balanced lifestyle, the easier it will be to go through Christmas season. First of all, 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 start meditating 10 days before if it is not already part of your routine. Get to know your triggers, take note of what impacts your condition and adapt your routine in accordance. 

  • Watch your diet, some foods are really bad for you when some are beneficial. Prioritise whole grains, veggies, seafood, high-magnesium products and soda water over processed food and meat, high salt or sugar products, aged cheese, chocolate or alcohol. Again, notice how these changes impact your migraine and adapt in accordance. Check your triggers in Migraine Buddy.

    Finally, stay hydrated and exercise moderately and regularly, headaches are often due to de-hydration and exercising changes the level of a wide range of your body’s chemicals which helps decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine (check out the study). To help you find your own routine, the use of Migraine Buddy is very helpful. None of us have a great memory and recording all of these changes can make a difference when you sum it up. Our Migraine Buddy Community record their attacks, register their daily habits, track their sleep, find out about their triggers and share with the community so we are all always learning together.

With this migraine warrior preparation you will minimize your risks of letting your migraine ruin your holidays and maximize your chances to enjoy your family and friends and THAT is the atmosphere that makes this season so special. It is essential to be prepared but how you will manage the marathon itself is also key. Don’t worry we will share more of our tips in the next article, “Migraine-Free Holiday Season Mission: Possible! Vol.2.

The more people we can help the more visible Migraine becomes in the world. let’s include others in our community!

Fill in your name and Migraine Buddy email address in the form down below and you can start inviting people now and it will go towards you being included in the draw. Good luck!

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Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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