Woman sitting and enjoying the holiday season with a mug, cookies, a fire place and Christmas tree.

Managing Holiday Pressure and Expectations

Last updated: December 2021

The holidays are filled with commitments – family gatherings, social get-togethers, community events, and of course, holiday shopping.

The unpredictability of migraine

It can be a joyful time, especially as we start to be able to meet in person again, but where do migraines fit into this hustle and bustle? The honest answer is, they don't.

The reality is, however, they come in whenever they feel like it, often at the most inconvenient times. They can hijack our plans and, with it, our holiday cheer.

Placing a focus on our health

What if this year, we took a different approach? What if we intentionally created a schedule that supported our health instead of feeling like we're just victims of the stress of the season. There's no guarantee that it will reduce the number of migraines or their intensity, but it sure can feel good to put something into place that is moving towards that effort – and feels good in the process.

Let's look at what it could look like.

Prioritize healthy habits

The first thing I'm going to do is identify the habits that support my health and make sure that they become non-negotiable in my schedule.

My morning routine

For me, my morning routineSix Tips for Showering During a Migraine Attack is essential. I wake up, have some quiet prayer/journal time, and then do some form of movement – typically either a walk or home workout – then I shower and have a healthy breakfast. It helps me feel that I've set the tone for the day in the best way possible. There are certainly days that I'm not feeling well, and the routine must be adjusted, but in general, it's become my daily morning routine.

So, I know that I need to prioritize maintaining this morning routine to support my health during the holiday season.

Say “yes” selectively

This next step can be harder, if I'm being honest. But let's be honest here, we don't need to say "yes" to every invitation we receive. It feels wonderful to receive an invitation to a gathering, so we certainly want to be gracious for the invite, but if it feels like it's going to compromise your health, it may be better to decline.

Declining an invitation doesn't need to be justified

And the second and equally important aspect of this process is not feeling like you have to justify not going. Again, be gracious for the invite, but a simple "thank you, but I can't attend" is completely sufficient.

Prioritizing the most meaningful events

Being more selective and managing both your schedule and your stress can position you to say yes to the events that are most meaningful to you. It ideally reduces your chances of having a migraine during those meaningful events, too, because you've been intentional with protecting your health.

Create your own joy

Lastly, give yourself the gift of creating your own holiday joy in a way that feels best for you.

Personally, I love dedicating a day of no commitments for my husband and me to decorate the tree, watch a Christmas movie, and make the first bake of holiday cookies. It's honestly one of the few days in a year that I don't run errands, check emails, or feel pressure from outside commitments. And I absolutely love it!

What does that tradition look like for you?

If you don't already have one, now could be the perfect time to create one.

We are all doing our best

In either case, I hope this helps to remind us that we are part of a much bigger migraine community, all doing our best to manage our health during the holiday season.

What do you find to be most helpful in managing the holidays? Please share below so we can learn from you too!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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