Make The Holidays As Pain-Free As Possible With These Migraine Management Tips

The holidays are full of family, friends, and fun for many. However, because of the change in schedules, and the overwhelming number of engagements the holidays can involve, it can be very overwhelming as well. If you are a person who suffers from chronic migraines, you know how seemingly fun and exciting situations can be halted when you feel the beginnings of one creeping in. Migraines are always inconvenient, especially when you're trying to enjoy the magic that the holidays can hold. The Mayo Clinic says that while there is so much unknown about migraines, alcohol, changes in sleep patterns, and stress — such as that caused by unexpectedly being laid off – are all known triggers for this kind of head pain.


This season, consider getting ahead of your impending discomfort by taking some steps to prevent any migraines from ruining the fun. By being prepared and prioritizing your needs before the gatherings, the food, and the noise appears, you may just get to celebrate these holidays pain-free.

Stay hydrated

One of the most important steps to take when caring for your body is to stay hydrated. Salty foods and yummy holiday cocktails can really take a toll on the hydration required to stave off intense migraines. Track your water intake with an app (via The Nessie), set a goal for how much water you want to drink each day, and try to limit how much alcohol you drink to stay ahead of the hydration game (via Migraine Trust).


When you prioritize your water intake, you provide better balance for your brain, according to Migraine Canada. If the balance between water, ion, and osmole is disrupted, migraines can occur. Drinking water, eating hydrating foods like fresh vegetables and fruit, and even adding fruit to your water are all great ways to get the amount of H2O you need to stay healthy.

Take prescribed medication

It's vitally important to keep taking your medications when you travel and host guests this holiday season. Changes in your daily schedule will impact many parts of your daily routine, but make sure your pain management plan is not one of them. Texas Pain Experts recommend refilling your prescriptions very far in advance to make sure you have what you need. If you have prescription medications that help you work through migraines or any other medications, make sure your prescriptions are filled and up to date before you travel. A gap in medications will impact how much of the holiday celebration you can actually enjoy.


Stick closely to your routine

Although many of us are traveling and altering our schedules to accommodate for visitors, try to stick as closely as you can to the routine you've established that helps you stay healthy. Keep your scheduled workouts, try to get a good night's sleep, and eat well-balanced meals. If your dinners consist of a well-balanced serving and your body is taken care of, your migraines will have less of a chance to make an appearance and ruin your fun. If there is no gym available to you on the road, bring along a yoga mat or pack some strength bands for an effective workout even when you're traveling (via Pledge Sports).


Stay away from known triggers

If you know what the triggers are that kickstart your migraines, steer clear of them as best you can. For example, if you know wine is one of the culprits for your headaches and others will be indulging in it, bring your own drink so you don't feel like you have to miss out on the fun (via Self)


Additionally, if strong smells irritate you and if you feel comfortable enough with the host, ask for them to leave the candles unlit during the celebration. Anticipating things that can get in the way of your enjoyment will really help you make the most of this special time with family in the long run.

Get a support system

Sometimes, even a time as fun as the holidays can intensify feelings of depression and anxiety. The same is true for migraines. It's important to check in with loved ones when the pain begins. If you feel supported, you're less likely to put pressure on yourself to power through something as painful as a migraine. Everyday Health recommends you seek professional help if you feel any symptoms beginning. 


Also, consider keeping a journal as you travel this winter. Writing down your stresses and successes can be a great way to navigate through anxiety that comes from the winter holiday time, according to The Migraine Trust.

There are many ways to prepare for a migraine-free holiday season. As long as you predict what needs you'll have, keep your schedule as close to routine as possible, and stay away from things that trigger your pain, you'll be more likely to be able to enjoy all of the festivities without the burden and pain of a migraine.