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Holiday Stress – Tis the Season for Migraines

Under: Holidays, Migraine & Headache, Stress

Winter holidays are the most festive occasions of the year, providing an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. They can also lead to an onslaught of responsibilities and chores; shopping, gift wrapping, baking, cooking and cleaning are just a few things that might overwhelm us this time of year. With holiday joy comes holiday stress and for migraine sufferers, stress can easily trigger bad headaches or migraines that can interfere with finishing holiday errands, let alone enjoying the season.

So, let’s look at what makes the holidays so stressful and how you can combat it.

Why Are Holidays So Stressful?

  • Winter Blues: The cold weather does not make it any easier. Sometimes, the dull and gloomy weather outside starts to project on your mood as well. The lack of sunshine can get you a little depressed and the festive season doesn’t seem so jolly anymore. Feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December.  For some people, holidays can be a period of painful reflection, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
  • Financial Strains: Holidays can also get expensive. If you have a big family, you’re probably buying a lot of gifts and your savings are taking a huge hit, which can lead to stress.
  • Unhappy Memories: Most of the time, reminiscing with your family is great. It feels good to relive childhood memories. However, not all memories are happy. You might be missing the presence of a loved one who has passed away or maybe your children were not able to join you for Christmas this year.
  • Nosy Relatives: You have to spend your holidays socializing with people that you were dodging all year. Questions regarding your career and love life may come up and if you’re not in a good place, it will most likely stress you out.
  • Workplace: So, your boss has decided to make you work right up until Christmas Eve. This means you have not had much time to finish all your errands and you’re probably loaded on caffeine to keep yourself going.
  • Cold & Flu Season: The warm holiday traditions you cherish may still be upended by illnesses due to viruses lingering about but your family’s safety comes first.  Take extra precautions when appropriate and practice basic safety hygiene.

You may be experiencing some of the above stresses, maybe all or maybe more, but despair not!
You can effectively cope with the holiday madness with the tips below.

headaches during holiday

Tips for Combating Holiday Stress & Migraines

While it can be frustrating, recognize that some unforeseen circumstances are out of your control. Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, focus on what you can.

  • Embrace Winter: Don’t let winter ruin your holiday celebration. Instead, enjoy what winter has to offer. Take your kids out to the front yard and build a snowman. Go ice skating, enjoy the festive music in the mall while you shop, and grab a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Plan Ahead and Ask for Help: Make a to-do list and keep things simple.  Don’t take everything on yourself – don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate when you can. Plan out all you need to do so you don’t fall behind on your errands and then get stressed about it.  Avoid putting off your shopping until the last minute.  Noisy, bright-lighted shopping malls filled with strong scents and long lines are the last place you want to be if you are prone to migraines.
  • Take Time Out to Relax and Remember to Breathe: When we are stressed our breathing pattern changes. The primary role of breathing is to absorb oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide through the movement of the lungs. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of gases in the body and can prolong feelings of stress and anxiety by worsening the physical symptoms of stress. So, remember to control your breathing and take a few deep breaths to stay relaxed.
  •  Exercise:  Even if it’s only taking a short walk get a little exercise daily.
  • Avoid Migraine Triggers: Some triggers can’t be avoided, changes in barometric pressure, holiday noise, bright lights, and scents. However, some triggers you can avoid…
    • Nitrate-rich foods (cheese, processed meats, ham, etc.)
    • Chocolate
    • Caffeinated beverages
    • Alcohol (red wine & beer)
    • Lack of Sleep
  • If you drink, do so in moderation: “Does alcohol trigger migraines?” is a question as old as time itself. The truth is that the relationship between alcohol and migraines is not fully understood, and while some migraineurs seem to tolerate most kinds of alcohol just fine, others can get a raging migraine after a couple of sips. These holidays, avoid migraines by erring on the side of caution and drinking in moderation if you are going to drink at all. Avoid red wine, which has substances known to trigger migraines, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

As you run around shopping, attending to last-minute details, and staying out a little too late at that office party, you may find yourself getting less sleep than usual. This can be a huge trigger for migraines.  Though sometimes it is unavoidable, do your best to get 6-8 hours of sleep nightly.  If you have an occasion where that isn’t possible, at least try to squeeze in an afternoon nap the next day. If your occasional sleeplessness is ongoing, consider taking an effective natural sleep supplement.

Seasonal parties and alcohol seem to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, alcohol and migraines also go hand in hand.  Hydration is your best line of defense. Make sure, before, during, and after consuming alcohol, you make sure to consume water.  Healthy snacks every hour or so can prevent drops in blood sugar which can also trigger migraines and headaches.

Despite all the stress, many consider the holidays their favorite time of year, and you can too! Don’t let the fear of stress or migraines ruin your seasonal festivities. As long as you are aware and prepared, you will decrease your risk of holiday migraines.

If do you feel a migraine coming on take fast-acting MigreLief-NOW as early as possible to provide nutritional support that can be very helpful.

If stress is something that’s part of your daily life consider using AKESO’s Calm and Clever unique formulation for reducing stress and anxiety while enhancing focus, memory, and recall.  If you are prone to mood issues, consider Akeso’s new Resilient Mood nutritional supplement that supports feel-good neurotransmitters and helps balance mood and positive outlook.

Have the happiest and safest of holidays.

Best wishes from all of us at Akeso Health Sciences.