Tomorrow many of us in the United States are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving and having a big feast with friends and family. This year is going to be different because of the pandemic social gatherings won’t be as large and for some, you may not even be able to see your family. Thanksgiving is probably my least favorite holiday not because I don’t want to see my family because I do like to hang out with them but large quantities of food have a very negative impact on me and I am not talking about weight gain. Obviously weight gain can be a concern if you eat too much too often but for many migraineurs weight gain at large meals is the last thing we are thinking about and all that is on our minds is how are we going to get out of this meal without triggering an attack? I have a lot of anxiety when having a large meal but you wouldn’t know it since I am still positive throughout the whole meal because there is no need to be a Debby Downer and ruin it for everyone else. If you get headaches and migraine attacks frequently or just occasionally it can be annoying when pain strikes at a family event so in this post I am going to give my best tips on what you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Drink water instead of wine- If you get severe migraine attacks you know that alcohol is a common migraine trigger and some people can’t even drink or even smell it without triggering an attack. I gave up alcohol sometime last year because I was getting severe migraine attacks too frequently that was disrupting my life so I decided to cut out all the things I didn’t absolutely need to survive. Some people don’t understand this and try to pressure me to have an occasional drink because they think one drink won’t kill me and it won’t but what it probably will do is give me a severe migraine where I can barely function that lasts up to a week. Sometimes I do miss having an occasional drink with friends but the pain isn’t worth an occasional indulge so what I do sometimes to feel like I am not missing out is have a soda or sparkling water if its’ available.
I don’t overstuff myself- On Thankgiving day a lot of people eat way more food than they probably but for me, I can’t do that without having serious consequences. I have a lot of food triggers which sometimes can be okay to indulge a little but overindulging in foods you know that trigger you can be bad news and trigger a really bad migraine attack that will last hours to weeks. I also get constipated when I eat too which also can be a serious problem if I don’t know when to stop because when I get too constipated sometimes I unable to go to the bathroom and if any of you have ever experienced that you would know it’s horrible. The last overstuffed myself at a Thanksgiving meal I was probably a child because I don’t allow myself to do that anymore. I don’t leave Thanksgiving dinner hungry but I don’t eat my weight in mash potatoes so I am overstuffed either which has helped me sleep better when we have large meals because I can’t sleep when I am bloated!
Drink tons of water- If you only get headaches and migraines occasionally it’s probably okay to have a glass of wine without worrying about triggering an attack but I would still keep track of how much you’re consuming and if one does start to strike put down that wine and start chugging water! Never just drink alcoholic beverages because alcohol dehydrates and will trigger headaches and migraines so if you want to avoid that always have some water with it. You can get rid of headaches easily by taking Tylenol but migraines not so much and the only way to control a migraine attack is to prevent it because after they strike it’s game over and you just have to wait until it passes hoping it doesn’t last that long which I would assume is not something you want to deal with at a social event.
Have your back-ups in your purse- When you get frequent migraines you can never expect when one will strike because you can be doing everything right to prevent one and out of nowhere it will hit you. I take prescription medications to help prevention attacks which have helped but it doesn’t fully prevent all attacks and often when I am out I have more trouble because I am exposed to more triggers. What do you do? Put backups your purse for when your medication isn’t working and you need a little bit of a boost so you can at least function. I use Excedrin for migraine which doesn’t work all the great so what I also do is carry peppermint oil that also doesn’t completely get rid of a migraine attack but can relieve some tension and lessen the pain.
I don’t do high-intensity exercise before or after eating- People always say that they are going to do three hundred squats, five hundred situps and go on a five-mile run after their big meal to burn off all those calories but even if I could do all those things I wouldn’t because high-intensity exercise triggers migraine attacks and is terrible for your digestion if you do after a big meal. Ever wonder why you feel nauseous after exercising after a large meal? It’s because you’re not giving your body enough time to digest your food. There is nothing wrong with exercising on Thanksgiving day because I know I do but it’s nothing super high intensity and usually just a simple low-intensity Pilates routine before I eat. I try to avoid doing exercise afterward to allow my body to properly digest my food but if I am feeling super bloated that I can’t stand it I either put peppermint oil on my stomach or do a very light Pilates routine which usually gives me some relief. If you want to exercise the day of a feast then fine I see no probably with because I do it too but afterward just enjoy it and don’t torchure yourself with all this exercise because three helpings of pie will not kill you one time just don’t make a daily habit of it.
Control your stress– I get a lot of migraine and headaches when I am stressed and I know that I have to go to a social event where I know I will be uncomfortable and anxious. High stress levels can trigger migraine attacks so if you have high stress before an event why not try doing some meditation or yoga that will lower your stress levels. Unless it’s too early and I don’t have time before I go anywhere I doing some Pilates and it helps control my anxiety when I am feeling anxious about going out. It doesn’t have to be exercise and it can be whatever you would like that makes you feel calm and at ease when going to social events because that is the most important thing.
When I go to social events and have a large it makes me very nervous because there are so many potential migraine triggers. Some things I know for sure will trigger my migraines and I should just avoid them at all costs while others things like dairy sometimes trigger attacks while other times it does not so I just don’t eat a lot of those things. Social events are not the same for me anymore because I am super sensitive to loud noises even more so than I ever used to be and have so many potential triggers but what helps is knowing your triggers. When you know your triggers and aren’t just winging it you will know what it okay to indulge in and won’t trigger a migraine attack and what is not. There is nothing worse than to have a severe migraine attack at family event and your friends worry that something is wrong with you because they never witnessed one. How do you get ahead of migraine attacks at social events? If you are a migraine or chronic pain sufferer and celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow I hope you enjoy the time with your families with minimal pain.
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