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8 Tips for Giving Thanks Despite Migraines
Sep 28, 2012 (updated Oct 15, 2014)
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Manage your food triggers
Eating certain foods can trigger a Migraine. If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner, prepare some foods that you can eat without triggering a Migraine. If you're attending a dinner hosted by someone else, take something with you that you know you can eat without triggering a Migraine. To learn more, download a free trigger food work book from Managing Migraine – Migraine Trigger Foods.
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Many foods can be prepared in advance and frozen. Some you'll want to cook, then freeze; others, you can prepare then freeze to be cooked on Thanksgiving Day. If you don't have enough freezer space, check with a friend, neighbor, or family member to see if they can store some frozen foods for you.
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Do you have a list of things that need to be done before Thanksgiving? You don't have to do it all yourself. Let family and friends help. Assign tasks to those best suited to them. Make it a BYOB party. Ask everyone to bring a dish to share. Your guests will enjoy it just as much. You'll enjoy it more!
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Are fragrances a Migraine trigger for you? If so, it's NOT rude to ask people not to wear them around you, especially if the celebration is in your home. If you're hosting, think about written or emailed invitations. This gives you the opportunity to ask that people not wear colognes, perfumes, or other scented products that will trigger a Migraine and make you ill.
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Sleep issues can be huge Migraine triggers. If staying up too late or getting up earlier are Migraine triggers, don't stay up late the night before or get up early on Thanksgiving morning to do things. Think about tip #2. Even your turkey can be cooked in advance, carved, and reheated. It may not be ideal, but if messing up your schedule is going to trigger a Migraine, which is more important?
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Meal schedules can get really erratic, especially during busy holiday periods. This can be a trigger. Make a special effort to have balanced meals on a regular schedule. Try to schedule Thanksgiving dinner at your regular meal time. If that's not possible, keep healthy snacks handy if you need to avoid a Migraine. Look out for fast food snacks though. They can do as much harm as good.
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Many people have found that it's not stress itself that's a trigger, but things they do or don't do during stressful times that are the true triggers. Missed meals, getting dehydrated, messed up sleep, and other triggers are often encountered during stressful times. See Is Stress a Migraine Trigger?
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Surround yourself with family and friends who truly care about you, and they won't care if every detail is perfect. Do what you can do - no more - then relax. Treat yourself to a bubble bath and dress in comfortable clothes. Don't rush the day. If things get a bit off-schedule, so what?