The holiday season is a stressful time of year, especially if you suffer from migraines. Between battling crowds while shopping, trying to please family and friends, cooking or baking and traveling, our schedules drastically fluctuate and this change, in addition to stress, creates the perfect climate for migraine attacks. Unfortunately, there’s no hiding from holiday traditions, but there are several things you can do to find migraine relief during the holidays. Here’s where to start:
Travel With an Emergency Migraine Kit
Every migraine sufferer should have an emergency migraine relief kit at home and on the go, especially during the sporadic holiday season. Kits can include items like essential oils, anti-nausea medication, abortive and rescue medications, water and a snack to take with medication. Whether you are hosting a holiday event or attending, you’ll have the basic tools within reach to stop a migraine before it progresses to the point of no return.
Invest In The Right Tools
Consider investing in relief aids like the Cefaly Device or the Spoonk Mat. The Cefaly Device is a neurostimulator worn across the forehead to deliver micro-impulses that target and stop pain signals from traveling along the nerves associated with a migraine attack.
You may also be interested in this article about the Cefaly Device: Chronic Migraines & The Cefaly Device
The Spoonk Mat is an accupressure pad with 6,200 stimulation points that target specific accupoints believed to help reduce the experience of pain. Both tools can be included in an emergency migraine kit and used while at home or another location.
Caffeine, alcohol and junk food are all common migraine triggers and unfortunately, they are abundantly available during the holiday season. Practice self restraint and avoid triggers at all cost. This also includes getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. depriving your body of necessary things is just as bad as indulging. If you aren’t sure what your migraine triggers are, start keeping a migraine diary to track sleep, diet, activity and attacks. See if you notice a pattern and adjust your routine and habits to decrease the frequency of your attacks.
Learn more about common migraine triggers in this article: Avoiding Common Migraine Triggers
Ask for Help
Don’t try to be a hero during the holiday season — ask for help. Many people strive to make grand gestures during this time of year and in doing so, they exhaust themselves or become so stressed, they elicit a migraine attack. Being realistic about your goals for the season and asking for help along the way may help with migraine relief.
Try Relaxation Techniques
There are a number of relaxation techniques migraine sufferers can teach themselves and perform no matter where they are to curb the onset of an attack. Consider learning about reflexology which involves applying pressure to specific points to achieve migraine relief. Yoga and meditation are also excellent techniques to learn, as they improve flexibility to relieve stress and tension and encourage proper breathing. If you’re at a holiday gathering and feel the preliminary stages of a migraine, you can find a quiet place to administer your relaxation techniques in an attempt to stall an attack.
Aerobic exercise a few times per week has been proven to help reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of migraine attacks. That’s because exercise reduces stress and increases the body’s production of endorphins (a group of hormones that naturally act as painkillers). Start getting into an exercise routine as a way to prepare for stress combat. It’s a perfect excuse to get a head start on the coveted “get healthy” New Year’s resolution.
Just because you suffer from migraines doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly pain free holiday. Stick to your schedule, arm yourself with the necessary tools and techniques, avoid triggers and ask for help. If you are particularly prone to attacks during the holiday season, consult with your physician about extra ways to obtain migraine relief. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure a happy, safe holiday.
Image Source: Dafne Cholet