6 Tips to Avoid a Migraine: When Away From Home for the Holidays...

A few years ago, my husband and two kiddos went "home for the holidays". Which, depending on your circumstance is either good or bad, but for us it was a good thing. 

However, as a Migrainer (is that a thing?... well, today it is) I didn't do much in way of preventing or preparing myself for a possible migraine attack. And, like most headache attacks, one came at the most horrendous time, the night of Christmas Eve, when we were at my in-laws having a huge party. Of course I was in total agony, but didn't do a great job of letting anyone know, and it resulted in hurt feelings, frustration and a huge headache for me. 

So, I decided to make a list of things I needed to do differently "next time"... 

1. Avoid Food Triggers 

The more I learn the more I feel food is at the root of so many medical issues. As time has gone on, I have realized many of my headaches are probably caused by food triggers. 

A couple of my triggers seem to be eggs (more than 2 a day) and too much chocolate (amount undetermined at this point). So of course I would have thirds on the egg nog and go crazy eating the chocolate Christmas candy. 
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2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I am really bad at drinking enough water anyway, but with the holidays and all the other yummy drinks (like egg nog), I just totally forget about it. Not good! 

Recently, I have been hearing that sipping water all day is very effective in keeping headache attacks at bay. 

3. Pack All Medication/Therapies... ALL of it! 

At that time, I was taking both a daily preventive medication (the antidepressant Wellburtin) and Imitrex for when an attack was coming on. I also rubbed peppermint oil (with a carrier oil) on my temples and put lavender oil on my neck. 

Well, I managed to remember my "every day" medication, but totally forgot to pack my "back up" (Imitrex) and oils.  
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So, lesson learned... pack it ALL

4. Attempt To Stay On A Regular Schedule

This one is hard, especially when travelling, having multiple families to visit and parties/functions to attend. 

We flew all night (and I cannot sleep on airplanes) and had to drive another two hours to get "home". Needless to say, by the time we got there my sleep was totally off and we just "hit the ground running". 

My main mistake with this was I should have allowed myself a chance to take a few naps during our trip, especially once we arrived where we would be staying. It was only a two hour time difference, but for me, adequate sleep is super important.

5. Carve Out Quiet Time/Get Away From the Festivities 

Even if you have to "miss" something, this is super important. I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes even the Christmas tree lights (especially the ones that "dance" or "chase" can really bug my eyes out). 

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The trick is to explain the situation and let everyone know what is going on. I should have done this before I had the attack come on, not when I was feeling cruddy and snippy and just needed to lay down.  

6. Take Your Comfort Items 

This may be because I am still secretly 2 years old, but I have a "blankie". I bought it in 2001 when my Mom and I were going all over to watch my brother play soccer. It is my comfort item. I sleep with it most every night, it comes with me on most trips, and it has accompanied me to the hospital to give birth four times. It helps me feel better when I am sick. So, of course, I also forgot to take it with me and boy, oh boy, what I would have given to have my "blankie" with me.  

There are several other ways to prevent a migraine attack during the holidays... let me know some I've missed in the comments below! 

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