You've been dreaming about your summer vacation all year. This is your time to finally relax. No meetings, no emails, no alarm clock... but sadly you can't say the same for your migraines.
No sooner are you securing your overhead luggage, fastening your seatbelt and settling in with your favorite magazine than you are feeling the onset of your next migraine coming on.
You + Summer Vacation = Migraine?
How exactly does that equation work?
There's never a convenient time for a migraine, but vacation is the absolute least desirable. Seriously, why now?
It's no secret that stress is the biggest migraine trigger. Yet, what most migraine sufferers don't realize is that it's after the stress passes that the migraine strikes.
"Let down headaches" occur after you've sustained a period of stress and your body begins to relax, e.g., weekends and/or vacations.
So what's your ticket to avoiding them?
Don't cancel your plans just yet. Simply follow these tips to prevent a migraine tagging along on your next vacation.
1. Plan Ahead
Make a list of what you need for vacation. Sunscreen. Bathing Suits. Passport. Begin setting these items aside a week before you leave. There's nothing like a last minute scramble to increase your stress, tension and odds of getting a migraine.
2. Be Consistent
Consistency is key for migraine prevention. Be consistent with your sleep and eating schedule. A missed meal or a delayed bedtime to cram more into your day will only set you back in your prevention planning.
3. Release the Triggers
You may be more sensitive to migraine food triggers during a time of stress. The week leading up to vacation avoid as many triggers as possible. Chocolate, nitrates and gluten are some of the most common food triggers for migraine sufferers. So skip the chocolate and swap your lunchmeat sandwich for a fresh salad and your pasta dinner for a grilled fish and veggies.
4. Don't Be Shallow
When we're stressed, we're more likely to take shallow breaths which keeps the body in a state of stress. Instead take deep belly breaths, which evoke a state of relaxation in the body. Make this essential on the days leading up to your vacation.
5. Stretch It Out
Take a few minutes on your yoga mat to stretch out and release tension that may be building in your neck and shoulders. This can also be practiced throughout your travels if you're carrying luggage. Do your best to pack light and take opportunities to set down your bags and do a couple neck rolls when you're waiting in line at security or baggage claim.
6. Be Prepared
Be sure to pack your go-to migraine remedy. Whether it's a prescribed medication, homeopathic option or essential oils, tuck them in your carry-on bag so you can counteract a migraine if and when the moment it strikes.
7. Stay Present
Don't stress about the possibility of a migraine. Stay in the moment and enjoy the fact that you're enjoying some well-deserved time off. Maybe you'll even learn some great self-care practices on vacation that you can bring home with you too.
Alene Brennan works closely with clients to identify their migraine triggers - one of the greatest challenges for migraine sufferers - and creates a personalized plan to eliminate them. She holds three certifications: Certified Health Coach, Natural Food Chef and Yoga Instructor. Alene uses food as a form of medicine, incorporates easy and effective stress management techniques and creates a recipe for a happy, delicious migraine-free life. Receive a free copy of Alene's Top 10 Overlooked Migraine Triggers.