I’ve had migraines since I was 15. But as I’ve gotten older they seem to be less and less frequent. With the dry, cold weather, lack of sleep, homemade wine and strong cheeses and processed meats, I’m extra careful with my migraine triggers at this time of year.
But some triggers you may not even notice, according to the Canadian Headache Society. They also list artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, fresh yeast foods straight from the oven, whole milk and sour cream as additional problems, which are often at holiday parties. Smells too can set off a migraine, like cigarettes, perfumes, cleaning products, and scented candles. Another holiday trigger: the lights. Flickering or glaring lights can even spark a launch a painful attack.
But who wants to stay home and not put up a tree? Not me, and I’m betting you’re the same. Here are some of my holiday party tricks.
‘ I’ll have a half pint of lager or a soda water instead of a glass of wine, especially if I don’t know what kind of wine the party hosts are offering.
‘ I never eat just cheese. I’ll always have veggies (without the dip) too. And I’m not one for pastries, anyway.
‘ I try to get between six and eight hours of sleep each night. It can be tough sometimes, especially during the holidays, but I’m much better off if I do.
‘ I turn my back to flickering lights. And when I’m shopping and a store has a dying florescent light bulb, I leave.
‘ If too many scents, such as perfume or candles, become overwhelming, I’ll have a coffee and take a big sniff. Perfume stores often use coffee beans to cleanse the “scent palette.’
I would be interested in hearing your tips. Got any?
Also if you get migraines and can’t figure out your triggers, go to headachenetwork.ca and download a headache diary.