8 Tips for Giving Thanks Despite Migraines

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

For those of us with problem Migraines and headaches, the prospect of Thanksgiving Day can leave us wondering how we're supposed to be thankful when our heads are attacking us. You've probably had that thought or one similar to it. Right?

So, let's take a look at what we can do to make Thanksgiving easier, what we can do to make it a day on which we really feel like giving thanks...

1. Manage Your Food Triggers

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day centers around a feast. Do you know that eating certain foods will trigger a Migraine? If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to 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.

Is alcohol a trigger for you? Some people can drink certain alcoholic beverages safely, but others trigger a Migraine. If that's you, plan ahead, and take your own drink with you -- one that doesn't trigger a Migraine. If all alcoholic beverages are a trigger for you, take something else you enjoy drinking.

You can learn more about food and drink triggers and download a free trigger food work book from Managing Migraine – Migraine Trigger Foods.

2. Plan ahead and do what you can early

Keep in mind that many foods can be prepared in advance and frozen. Some, you'll want to cook, then freeze; others, you may well want to get ready to cook, 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.

For foods that won't spoil, and non-food items, shop in advance, on a day when you feel well.

3. Delegate what you can

Do you have a list of things that need to be done before Thanksgiving? There can be many tasks that have to be done and checked off, especially if you're hosting the celebration. 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 their own drinks and a dish to share. Your guests will enjoy it just as much as they would if you take on all the food and drink preparation. You'll enjoy it more!

4. Issue some requests with your invitation

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 the celebration, think about written or emailed invitations, even for close family. 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. With the invitation in writing or email, your request may well be seen more than once if people refer back to it for details.

This is quite a difficult issue for those of us with fragrance triggers. It may mean that you don't go to celebrations in the homes of others unless you know them well enough to ask them to make the celebration fragrance-free and go into it in detail. People who don't have this problem may well not fully understand that even things such as scented candles can be a problem.

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