We have Migraines and headaches. We’re “regular” people who have a disease or headache disorder. That doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy a celebration as much as the next person. Right?
For many of us, having Migraines or headaches does mean that we have to plan ahead and make some concessions when we join that New Year’s Eve celebration. To help you enjoy that New Year’s Eve celebration without paying for it the next day, here are some things to take a look at, some tips for that holiday celebration:
1. Manage Your Food Triggers
Do you know that eating certain foods will trigger a Migraine? If you’re hosting a party, be sure to prepare some foods that you can eat without triggering a Migraine. If you’re attending a party 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. Keep yourself properly hydrated
Dehydration can be a very strong trigger for Migraines and some headaches. When trying to stay hydrated, remember that caffeine and alcohol can both be dehydrating. For more on this one, see [Dehydration - an Avoidable Migraine Trigger](file:///C:/Users/John%20Robert/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Word/%E2%80%A2http:/www.healthcentral.com/migraine/triggers-39683-5.html).
3. Watch Your Schedule, and Don’t Mess Up Your Sleep
Sleep issues can be very strong Migraine triggers. There are various sleep problems that can be triggers:
- too much sleep
- too little sleep
- disrupted sleep
- poor quality sleep
- irregular sleep schedule
It’s recommended that Migraineurs go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends, holidays, and vacations. Do you wake with a Migraine? That’s often a sign that they’re triggered by food issues. For more information, watch our video Migraines, Headaches, and Sleep.
4. Watch the Stress
As for stress being a Migraine trigger, there’s still some controversy, but I hate to see anyone accept that stress is a trigger without at least trying to see if they encounter triggers during stressful times that they either don’t encounter at other times or they’re only triggers when the body is stressed. The International Headache Society has removed stress from their list of Migraine triggers and put it on their list of exacerbating factors – things that make us more susceptible to our triggers. I’d have sworn stress was a trigger for me until I kept a very detailed diary for a few months. More information in Is Stress a Migraine Trigger?. I hope you’ll thoroughly investigate this as I think we do ourselves a real disservice by thinking stress is a trigger for us and not looking closely for other triggers during stressful times.
5. Remember your daily medications
It’s easy to forget to take our medications when we’re busy. Don’t do it. For some of us, keeping our preventive medications steady is so important that skipping meds even one day can result in days or weeks of increased Migraines and headaches. Put your medications or a reminder not in a place where you’ll see it. If you carry a cell phone, see if it has an alarm feature. If so, you might do well to set a daily alarm on your phone to remind you to take your meds. See Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications - What’s the Difference?
6. Keep Acute Medications with You
Whatever you take when you get a Migraine – abortives or pain medications – be sure to keep doses of them with you. This might help you keep from having to leave a celebration, and there’s evidence that taking abortive medications as early in a Migraine attack as possible is best.
7. Regular meal times, healthy snacks
Meal schedules can get really erratic at times, especially during busy holiday periods. We often don’t even think of this in relationship to Migraines, but it can be a huge trigger. Make a special effort to have balanced meals on a regular schedule. Even those of us with the most hectic schedules or on vacations can work with this one by keeping healthy snacks handy. Look out for fast food snacks though. They can do as much harm as good.
8. Choose your party wear well
This is something many of us might not think about, but it can be important. If getting too hot or too cold is a trigger for you, think about that when you choose what you’re going to wear. It tends to get quite warm at parties with lots of people. Dress in layers so you can remove a layer if you get too warm, or wear cooler clothing to begin with.
9. Plan ahead and delegate what you can
Do you have a list of things that need to be done before the party? 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!
10. Learn to let it go, and enjoy yourself.
You’ve done all the prep for hosting a party or planned and gotten ready for a party someone else is hosting. Now, let things go, and enjoy yourself. We simply can’t let little things bother us. We have to learn to prioritize and do what we’re able to do each day.
Happy New Year!
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.