Holiday Headache

Anticipating a holiday headache? So much stress! Sooo little time! It is holiday headache time again. (sigh you say)
Just about now, if you live in the United States, the holiday rush is gearing up. Lines are impossibly long at airports, tempers are frayed and every relative in town wants to come to your house for Thanksgiving, or Christmas...or both!

So how do you cope? How do you avoid a headache? Let's face it..stress of the holidays will increase your headache profile. If you live in an area with changing weather, then that is a factor too. And as I have heard over and over in my clinic, recent financial stressors of 2008 are playing a big role in stress right now.

Don't forget how lifestyle changes can improve your headaches.

holiday headache One of the most important things to remember about the holidays is that you don't have to be perfect!

Too many times we all get caught up in the holiday madness and tend to forget that it IS about family, friends and good times together. The gifts are not really that important now are they?

If someone in your life is demanding perfection (by the way, perfection is not on my resume), then perhaps this relationship needs to be examined.

10 Tips To Reduce Holiday Headache

1. Take time out for yourself! Do this several times a week. Try to find a quiet place and relax. Read a book, listen to relaxation CD's, or go for a quiet walk. Better yet, ask for relaxation CD's for Christmas!

2. Avoid the stressors as best you can. If you have a supervisor putting pressure on to get things done by the end of the year, recognize again that you do not have to be perfect! Do your best, an if it is overwhelming, ask for help.

3. Be reasonable in spending at this time of the year. Overspending at the holidays is tempting as you try to make everyone happy. But it is not very good if you have to take months to pay back the bills, or even worse, sacrifice the mortgage to buy gifts.

Financial pressures and self imposed stress can greatly increase your frequency and severity of headaches.

4. Carry a dose of your medication with you. You would be surprised how many people forget to do this. Most studies have shown that the faster you get the medication in you, the quicker you can abort the headache.

5. Stay hydrated. In the rush, rush, rush, did you forget to drink water? A dull diffuse headache results, which could precipitate a migraine.

6. Stay away from foods that trigger migraines. Many people are aware of the fact that red wine triggers migraines. But did you know that alcohol in general can do the same thing?

Some patients have told me that onions will cause headaches, as does blue cheese.

Boxed and frozen food dinners that contain chemicals and preservatives will also trigger headaches. The list can be long for food triggers, so try to keep an eye on what you are eating.

7. Maintain regular sleep patterns. Oh it is sooo tempting to go to all the holiday parties and stay up late and drink and etc etc etc. Face it..you might get away with it once or twice but several times a week will disrupt sleep and cause headaches to worsen.

8. Exercise! Now this one is not just to work off the extra eating, but also to reduce the stress, and the number of headaches you have.

9. Make a resolution. What? Now? Yes, you can make plans now to cut down on smoking and maintain exercise. If you can cut your smoking by 1/3 over the holidays (when it is more tempting to smoke), you will have a better chance of stopping for a New Year's resolution.

Nicotine irritates nerves and over time increases your headache frequency and/or makes them more painful.

10. Finally, be kind to yourself. If you got this far in the reading, please don't take this list and try to be perfect with all the suggestions. Take it easy,and to avoid a holiday headache, let go of a few things that are stressing you out and above all..

Have A Headache Free Holiday!

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