While many may have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, the endless cheese platters and the bottomless glasses of red wine send others’ heads in a tizzy. In fact, a Christmas without migraines is all they want for Christmas.
The holiday migraine triggers
With the dry, cold weather, lack of sleep, homemade wine and flavourful cheeses and charcuterie platter, those susceptive to migraines are extra careful around triggers this time of year.
There are so many possible migraine triggers, you might not even even know exactly what is causing your headache, according to the Canadian Headache Society. They list – in addition to the above – 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 painful migraine attack. A Christmas without migraines seems almost impossible! (If you get migraines and can’t figure out your triggers, go to headachenetwork.ca and download a headache diary.)
The party hacks that will keep you in the holiday spirit
- To raise a glass of cheer, avoid the wine, especially if you don’t know the type of wine your hosts are serving. Instead have a beer or soda water.
- Still indulge at the food table, but avoid the cheese and meat platters. Instead enjoy the veggies. (Or, bring this seacuterie seafood platter! Your host will love it!)
- Make sure you sleep enough over the holidays (and any time of the year, frankly).
- Avoid getting close to the flickering lights. Head to the kitchen or another room that doesn’t have a tree or a window with lights. No deal? If you are close friends with your host, maybe ask them to turn off the flickering lights.
- Have a cup of Jo if too many scents are bothering you. The way to reset your scent sense after an onslaught of guests’ perfumes or candles burning at the party is to take a big sniff of coffee. That’s why perfume stores often offer coffee beans to customers to cleanse their scent palette.
Now that you know the migraine triggers to watch out for during the holidays, next find out how one woman learned to have a happier Christmas and enjoy herself.