Tips for Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays
Here we are again, wrapping up another year with colorful festivities preparing us for the cold and dark of winter. The holidays are upon us, and for many, this is a time of incredible stress and intense migraine attacks. Between the shopping, cooking, scents, weather changes, and entertainment, it’s no wonder migraines increase during this time of year.
Following these few simple steps to take care of yourself, this holiday season will go a long way to helping rein in those migraine attacks.
Holidays are riddled with stress. Between family visits, travel plans, reservations, bulk cooking, gift giving, and shopping, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Now is the time to sit down and plan the next couple of months:
- List a few ways you will handle the stress levels, i.e., delegating some responsibilities, getting a few side orders from your favorite restaurants for the holiday dinner, and taking 5-10 minutes every few hours to sit in a quiet space and breathe deeply.
- Determine alternatives for your favorite foods that may trigger a migraine. For example, instead of sweet yams with marshmallows, try a wild rice and squash medley.
- Limit your alcohol intake, even when your uncle’s stories drive you to drink.
- Be a stickler for your sleep. Keep to your schedule and follow your routine.
Get Your Vitamin D
We’re in the dark part of year and sunlight is not the strongest. That means there’s a lot less vitamin D to absorb, and sadness often sets in with surprising force.
Even without a mile-long list of to-do’s, this time of year probably has you feeling some level of anxiety because of the general feeling of busy chaos that hovers throughout the season.
You could consider a vitamin D supplement or add a bit of extra vitamin D foods to your diet. Some examples include:
- Almond milk
- Egg yolk
- Lean meats
- Herring and Sardines
- Cod liver oil
Be Mindful of What You Eat
As you review the holiday buffet, remember the most common trigger foods for migraines. These include:
- Ham and foods high in nitrates
- Tyramine foods in some types of meats, cheeses, and nuts.
- Cow’s milk
- Artificial sweeteners
Keep A Regular Exercise Routine
Trust me, you won’t regret this. It’s tempting to take this time to play hard, but this could ultimately do you harm. Between splurging, stress, sleep disturbance, and the sensory overload of the season, you are already at risk of increased migraines.
Exercise is the best natural stress and pain reliever out there, and there are dozens of ways to do it. Some examples include:
- Dancing to your favorite holiday music
- Shoveling snow
- Swimming, if you’re lucky enough to be in warmer climates
- Putting up decorations
The bacteria in your gut (both good and bad) are essential to your health. The gut holds about 80% of your immune system.
The balance between the good and bad bacteria is of the utmost importance for migraineurs, so here are a couple of tips for finding a good OTC probiotic:
- Make sure it’s GMP certified
- Look for a clearly labeled expiration date
- Get one with a money-back guarantee
The key is in the beginning: Plan. That is the best way you can control your exposure to major migraine triggers. This is a wonderful time of year, full of joy and glittering lights that illuminate the sky. There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy it. Keep these tips handy, and modify them to meet your needs. Take that step and reduce the risk of being brought down by a migraine in this festive season.
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