Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays – that’s what your migraines and headaches think anyway. You can enjoy your holiday season and all the festive activities without dealing with frequent migraines and headaches. You wouldn’t want to spend your evenings baking cookies or enjoying a home-cooked meal with your family while fighting a headache. To help you make the most of your holiday season this year, we’ve compiled a list of tips to prevent holiday headaches.
Don’t Skip Meals
In the midst of working, helping your kids with school work, running errands, decorating, and shopping for the holidays, you might skip a meal without even realizing it until a headache or migraine hits. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holiday season and to forget a meal. However, if you skip a meal it might cause you to get a headache or migraine. To avoid hunger headaches, keep snacks like protein bars, and fruit with you when you’re on the go so you can eat a snack between errands.
Just like forgetting to eat, you might also forget to drink water throughout the day if you’re having an extra busy day. Dehydration causes your brain to shrink and move away from the skull and cause pain in the head. Don’t worry, as soon as you replenish your electrolytes, your brain will swell back up to its normal size and your headache will subside. Along with the snacks you carry around, you should also carry around a large water bottle to sip on throughout the day. If it helps, put little markers with times on your bottle so you know how much to drink by a certain time of the day. Staying hydrated will help you prevent dehydration headaches this holiday season.
Maintain a Normal Caffeine Intake
With all the different holiday coffee drinks, you might feel inclined to drink one after another to add a little festivity to your life, but if you drink too much caffeine, it might lead to a serious caffeine headache. Then, if you decide to cut your caffeine intake after many days of overconsumption, you might experience a coffee withdrawal headache. Try to keep your caffeine intake normal throughout the holiday season. If you’re feeling a lack of energy, consider going to bed earlier. If you’re sleeping your regular amount and still lacking energy throughout the day, you might have a sleep disorder. In this case, we recommend getting a sleep disorder evaluation and treatment if needed.
With so much going on during the holiday season, it might feel easiest to kick your regular workouts out of your schedule in order to free up more time. However, not exercising regularly can prevent you from working off your stress. Too much stress can result in tension headaches. Make sure to keep regular exercise in your schedule to not only help relieve stress, but to prevent weight gain, and to maintain good overall health. Try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise three to four times per week.
Get Enough Sleep
You might feel the urge to stay up late to get everything done in the day, but not getting your recommended amount of sleep can lead to headaches and migraines during the day. Try to stick with a consistent sleep schedule during the holiday season. If you’re attending a holiday event, at least give yourself extra time to sleep in so you’re not sleep-deprived. Lastly, if you’re sleeping the same amount you always do, but still waking up with headaches, it might be an underlying problem.
Plan Ahead and Stay Organized to Reduce Stress
One of the top causes of headaches and migraines during the holiday season is stress. To prevent yourself from becoming too stressed, stay organized during the holiday season. Do all of your shopping online ahead of time so you don’t have to travel from store to store to find the perfect gift. You can also buy your groceries for big meals and prep the food ahead of time. The more organized you can stay, the less stress you will experience. Remember that it’s okay to ask your loved ones for help during the hectic holiday season.
Avoid Known Headache and Migraine Triggers
A lot of things during the holiday season can trigger headaches and migraines including flashing lights, strong smells like festive candles or air fresheners, cheese, and wine. Know what your migraine and headache triggers are ahead of the holiday season so you can avoid them as much as possible. It’s okay to ask your grandma to blow out her cinnamon candle if you know it’s going to give you a migraine.
Get Headache Treatment in Lee’s Summit, MO
If you suffer from frequent headaches and migraines throughout the year and not just during the holiday season, it might be a TMJ disorder causing them. Some common symptoms of TMJ include jaw pain, clenching and grinding your teeth, frequent headaches and migraines, ear pain or stuffiness, and tinnitus.
If you have any of these symptoms, we highly recommend that you visit the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit, MO for a consultation with Dr. Pribyl or Dr. Kleoppel. If we do diagnose you with a TMJ disorder, we will create a custom TMJ treatment plan to help reduce the number of headaches and migraines you experience. Contact us at (816) 795-1000 today to schedule an appointment. A pain-free holiday season and year is just around the corner with our help!