Migraines, Headaches, and Holiday Stress
There are two schools of thought about stress as a Migraine trigger. Some people think that stress itself is a trigger. Others think that stress is an exacerbating factor that makes us more susceptible to our triggers.
Why bring this up now? I bring this up now because I'm seeing a wave of news articles about holiday stress. In a way, it doesn't matter if stress is a trigger or an exacerbating factor -- until you think about it this way. If stress is an exacerbating factor, not a trigger, how can we reduce the Migraines we get during stressful times, including the holidays? We can reduce those Migraines by identifying our triggers.
At one time, I thought stress was a major trigger for me. Then, a colleague challenged me to keep a very detailed Migraine diary during stressful times. I accepted that challenge, and I'm glad I did because I found that stress itself is not a trigger for me. However, there are several things I tend to do when stressed that ARE Migraine triggers for me:
- not drinking enough and getting dehydrated
- skipping meals
- consuming more caffeine than usual
- not sleeping well
In the end, I don't really care if it's stress itself that's a trigger or if it's things we do when stressed that are the triggers -- as long as we identify the true triggers and work to avoid those we can.
If you need a Migraine diary, you can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary.
Here's to pain-free holidays!