The holidays can be incredibly stressful–managing family dynamics, social expectations, financial pressures, irregular sleep and physical activity, and increased food and alcohol intake–all take their toll.
As a migraine sufferer, navigating the holiday season can feel like you’re doing a constant balancing act walking on a tightrope. But have you ever noticed that some of your worst migraine events strike after the holidays?
Post-Holiday Blues and Headaches:
You’re not alone. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of end-of-year work deadlines, holiday preparations and rushing from one social engagement to the next, our cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands (small glands that sit upon our kidneys) when we experience stress.
While it may seem counterintuitive, there is research that shows that a drop in cortisol levels – like what we experience during the holiday letdown, when our stress levels return to a normal level – may trigger a migraine event. For many people, the letdown after the excitement and/or the stress of the holidays can actually be an even bigger trigger for a migraine event.
So, what can you do to prevent a holiday-letdown migraine?
Post-Holiday Migraine Prevention Strategies:
- Find your routine: Return to your normal sleep and wake pattern as soon as possible and eat three healthy meals a day. Pay close attention to how much water you’re drinking and ensure you’re staying well hydrated.
- Take it slow: You may want to push through and get all of those holiday decorations taken down and put back into the attic, but as soon as you feel a potential migraine coming on, slow down and rest.
- Don’t jump straight back into work: If you can, try to schedule some time after the holidays to reflect and recuperate before jumping straight back into work and life.
- Get physical: Time spent in nature doing physical activity, like taking a long walk with your partner or family pet is a great way to boost endorphins and keep migraines at bay.
- Have a plan: Know what you need to avoid a migraine and how to cope should one strike. This may include medication, rest, meditation or breathwork, or chiropractic care. Share your plan with family and loved ones so they know how they can help.
Overall, the best way to avoid post-holiday migraines is to set expectations. The letdown after the intensity of the season can put you at risk for a migraine event–don’t expect to do too much. Plan to take it easy after the stress and excitement of it all, build in time to rest and reflect if you can and try to get back to your regular sleep and eating routine as soon as you can. Setting reasonable expectations can help you avoid migraines during your transition into the rest of the winter season.
Reach Out to Us
All of the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic are dedicated to helping you get to the root cause of your migraine or headache pain. Reach out today to book your appointment. Let’s get you back to feeling good again.