Essential Migraine Tips to Get Ready for Holidays: Part II
Following our tips from Part 1 of the Holiday Essentials series? If yes, here are the last actions you would want to take during the season to ensure you enjoy it at its most. Otherwise, it’s still not too late to check it out and get ready for the holiday season!
The holidays can be a migraine-filled time. Typical triggers include but are not limited to stress, excessive noise, alcohol, and festive food. Everything occurs simultaneously and for several consecutive days; this can only add to the problem. ?
In Part 2 of our Holiday Essentials series, we’ll be diving into the specifics and sharing tips to tackle mainly dietary and stress-related migraine triggers.
Start your day with a big glass of water
Dehydration is one of the most common migraine triggers. 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 miss it!
As you go about your day’s preparations, bring a bottle of water with you so that you can remain hydrated throughout. When the night feast comes, try your best to stay away (as much as possible) from alcohol. Alcohol promotes dehydration in your body and some components (e.g. sulfites in red wine) can increase the risk of a migraine. We’re aware that many festive celebrations call for a drink or two, so if you still choose to have some alcoholic drinks, space them with non-alcoholic ones, and drink in moderation!
Monitor your food consumption
Probably the most difficult part of Christmas is to stick to your healthy, migraine-friendly diet. If you’ve been following our Food and Migraine webinars, you would be familiar with the importance of identifying your food triggers.
Certainly, a lot of what will be on the dining table are common triggers such as alcohol (red wine and beer), MSG, aged cheese, sauerkraut, processed meat (pepperoni, ham, salami) and sweets treats (chocolate, cakes, and biscuits). Try to resist all temptations until the big feast! Have a good breakfast on a big day and take a healthy snack with you in case there is a delay in serving the festive meal.
Christmas is also 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.
In fact, if you need a migraine-friendly recipe to cook up for the holidays, we’ve actually just released a video on that! It’s a Turkey and Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie that is both delicious AND made with migraine-friendly ingredients! Perhaps you can consider taking a shot at making it this Christmas? ?
Get support from family
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.
Not hosting the big family Christmas dinner would be best of course, but if it’s not ideal, plan ahead as much as possible and delegate on D-Day! Communicate with your family members and let them know how everyone has a part to play in making the Christmas dinner as successful as possible. Delegate tasks to those whom you have confidence will not create more stress for you, otherwise, that would defeat the purpose of getting your family’s help!
Be kind to yourself
We may have already mentioned this, but again we wish to emphasize it is extremely important to be kind to yourself. Not many people can understand the type of pain that we experience and sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.
Knowing the best ways to relieve your stress would come in handy during times like this. Some people enjoy meditation, while others enjoy regular exercise. Take some time to relax before the big events – play crossword puzzles or a simple game on your phone, practice deep breathing, do something that shuts your mind down to focus on the present moment, and relieve anxiety.
At times, it also helps to read kind and encouraging words to feel less alone in this arduous migraine journey. As part of our celebrations for Christmas, we have launched a virtual initiative to promote positivity through an exchange of letters among the community.
If you would like to participate in this project and join us in spreading good vibes, you may learn more here.
At the end of it all, give yourself a big high five! Being prepared to enjoy events with contingency plans in place and a lovely holiday season should be something you look forward to! Knowing how to cope and being aware means that you are far more in control of your migraine than the other way around! ?
This year’s holiday celebrations will have to take a different turn for many of us. We hope that this mini blog series has been useful to help you get ready for the season and we would like to wish everyone in advance a stress-free jolly Christmas! ?