How to Avoid a Migraine Over the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but not when you’ve got a migraine.

The holiday season is meant to be a special time of year. But a migraine can ruin the merriment. Here are some stress management tips on how to avoid getting a migraine during the holiday season.

Think Ahead

For many people, just the phrase “the holidays” is enough to trigger a full-blown stress attack. The planning, the traveling, the cooking, the gift-giving — it can be a nerve-wracking time of year. Because stress is common migraine trigger, it’s not a bad idea to try and minimize stress as much as possible, even during this busy time. Plan events ahead, don’t wait until the last minute to shop for gifts and try your best to find time to relax. Easier said than done, but it’s worth it to avoid a migraine.

Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

It’s fine for kids to stay up all night waiting for Santa. But for migraine sufferers, changes in sleep patterns brought about by holiday traveling or time off can be a major lump of coal in the stocking. Maintaining a steady sleep schedule can help reduce your chance of developing a migraine. Also resist the urge to sleep in too late as that can trigger a migraine, too.

What’s That Smell?

From the aroma of the traditional meal in the oven to the fresh pine smell of a new Christmas tree or wreath, the holidays are filled odors that immediately bring to mind memories of holidays past. But these smells can also bring on migraines for some, as certain strong may be a trigger. Before you stock up on those special candles or use that new perfume Aunt Sally gave you, first consider what odors may be triggers for you.

Choose Carefully at the Buffet

…and we don’t just mean avoiding Uncle Bob’s weird figgy pudding. Some traditional holiday foods may also pose as possible triggers for migraine sufferers. That holiday ham, for instance, may contain nitrates, which are a migraine trigger for some. Another possible trigger? Tyramine, found in aged cheeses and meats, nuts, among other things.

Decorate With Care

For some people, bright or flashing lights can worsen or even trigger migraines. If lights are a trigger for you, consider using some old-fashioned decorations this holiday season, such as strings of popcorn or glass ornaments.

 

See a doctor for a migraine diagnosis and migraine relief options.

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