Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making the Holidays Special Despite Everything

The Question: How can we make the holidays special despite the need to limit our migraine triggers?

The Answer: very carefully. I’ve had some pretty bad holidays over the years, and I’ve learned to pay attention to the smallest details. I start my Christmas shopping in January, and just gradually buy gifts as I see them instead of waiting until the last month and then trying to cram everything in. That doesn't work, I’ve tried it.

As for all the holiday food, moderation is best. I have to be careful of what I eat as many of my favorite cookies and holiday foods are now have ingredients that trigger migraines for me. It was very hard to learn to say “no” to those foods, but in the end, it was better to deny myself the short-term pleasure than suffer the long-term, painful consequences.

Then comes my family. It is always stressful for me to be around a lot of people for a long period of time. I’m an introvert, and am used to having many hours during each day all to myself while my mom is at work. Then to suddenly be forced to deal with up to 12 people and three dogs in my house for the better part of the day is just totally overwhelming. I usually end up taking Xanax on a fairly regular basis, or crashing and hiding in my room.

This Christmas, however, it’s going to be a little different. Back in mid-September, I agreed to house and dog sit for a family friend while she goes back East. This means that I’ll have a completely separate place, all to myself to retreat to.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but they’re much more high energy than I am, and I burn through spoons quite quickly when I’m with them. I think that my spending the night away from my house, and then coming back to it during the day will make me appreciate the time I do spend with my family all the more.

So basically, moderation in all things is the way for me to have the best holidays that I can.

Quantum in me fuit



  1. Gretchen - these are sure words to live by :) Thank you for reminding us all that overdoing anything is usually not good, but overdoing anything when you're a Migraineur can be especially important to avoid... even the family that loves us.

  2. I've spent several holidays all drugged up because of those sneaky migraines that come at inopportune times...like a family dinner gathering, miles from home, of course. At this point, I'd rather try to be with family than avoid the events altogether. It's the cross-that-bridge-when-I get-there plan. Don't get me wrong; I do take precautions with foods and activities that I KNOW will send me into the migraine from hell.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts about this. I am going to keep up on your posts.



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