What It’s Like During the Holidays With Migraines
Riddle me this: What is your least favorite holiday season song? Personally, I despise Migraines for Christmas. Let's be real, trying to enjoy the holiday season while dealing with migraines can be incredibly painful. To maintain my health and handle the stress, I have some recommendations.
First, be mindful of sensory overload. The combination of bright lights, loud music, rowdy children, food-induced drowsiness, last-minute shopping, and late nights can easily go wrong. I remember as a child feeling unwell after my dad brought in a real Christmas tree. It started with sniffles and ended with flu-like symptoms and body aches. We soon realized that the pine needles were the culprit. Thankfully, we switched to fake trees, which miraculously helped with my migraines in later years.
Secondly, don't procrastinate. I still struggle with taking advantage of Black Friday deals or sending holiday cards on time. However, I've learned not to beat myself up over it. I create a plan for errands and gift shopping, and I do what I can when I can. The return on investment for my health is invaluable.
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Next, stay at peace. Don't underestimate the power of finding calm amidst chaos. I set reminders on my phone to remember to breathe and stay calm. If meditation is your thing, go for it. Don't stress over minor things and give yourself time to unwind after family gatherings and holiday events.
Keeping a migraine diary is another useful practice. As a writer, I prefer tracking my migraine triggers, intensity, and frequency in a journal beside my bed. Alternatively, you can use sticky notes to document your episodes. Initially, I was skeptical, but visualizing your migraines in a diary is an excellent way for professionals to understand your symptoms and treatment plan.
Furthermore, practice mindfulness. Avoid comparing yourself to others and getting caught up in an emotional roller coaster. Though the holidays can bring joy, they can also remind us of those we've lost. Train yourself to be mindful and positive. Negative thoughts can lead to danger.
Try to maintain consistent sleep patterns. As a proud night owl, I'm not a fan of regular sleep schedules, but I can't deny that I feel better and manage my migraines more effectively when well-rested. Giving yourself downtime is just as crucial as finding the perfect stocking stuffer.
Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake. I eliminated red wine from my diet years ago due to the pain it caused me. However, the thought of living without coffee sends shivers down my spine. I'm one of those rare individuals who rely on a cup of joe to wake up and doze off. Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol and caffeine. And don't knock a festive mocktail until you've tried it!
Exercise and get some fresh air. I live in Florida, the place where people escape to relax. While I don't consider myself an avid exerciser, I find that being more active gives me more energy to tackle the never-ending holiday to-do list.
Remember, you don't have to do it all, and no one expects you to. No is a complete sentence. You don't have to accept every holiday party invitation. Prioritize your mental health and migraines by choosing wisely.
So, there you have it, some tips that should help you stay sane during the upcoming weeks, though I can't guarantee it. Remember, it's the thought that counts. Light some unscented candles, play festive music, and cheers to a wonderful, hopefully migraine-free, holiday season!
If you're looking for support, consider joining a Facebook community of fellow migraine sufferers. Learn, share, and connect in our Migraine Support Community.