7 Migraine Mastery Tips While on Vacation

It’s summertime, which means you might be heading somewhere for vacation to spend some time with family, friends, and to get away from the busyness of work and the daily routine. Hopefully the covid situation doesn’t keep you restricted. Last week I went on vacation with my wife and daughter to Lisbon, Portugal, and it was amazing.

If you struggle with migraines, you will know that going on vacation during the summer can actually be tough. This is because you are traveling from where you are to a new place, and the changes in the new environment can actually trigger a lot of migraines, especially if your triggers are environmental. Triggers could be changes in temperature, in the pressure and in the humidity. If there are rains or strong air pollutants, things like that could also trigger your migraines. The change in foods could also be a trigger because when we go on vacation, we tend to eat very differently.

We often want to try the local cuisine and all of  that, and you may not be aware that this could actually trigger your migraines. So what are some ways to actually keep you migraines  under check or to have mastery over them during your vacation period? Here are 7 tips:

1. Avoid your triggers if you can

If you’re going from a colder climate to a very warm climate and you know that it’s going to be tough, then it may make more sense for you to have your vacation in a similar climate condition. also if you’re going from North America, for example, where the air is cleaner, and you’re travelling  into Asia, where the pollution is a bit higher, you may struggle a lot more. I, for one, whenever I travel to Africa or Asia from Europe, I really struggle because the air pollutants is just way too much and the change in temperature is just very drastic.

So if you can avoid that altogether, then do that. Avoid going to places you know will trigger you. But sometimes we can’t avoid it. I’ve got family in Asia and Africa, therefore I need to travel quite regularly and I cannot avoid it. It’s more about managing it, and gaining mastery for me, and it’s probably going to be the same thing for you as well. So, if you can avoid it, try to avoid it, and if you can’t, then the next tips would also work for you.

2. Plan around the weather

Check the weather where you are going to for vacation and plan around it. If you know it’s going to be very rainy one day or it’s going to be very sunny, you may decide to stay indoors, that day and do more indoor activities or go to a place like a zoo or an oceanarium or more indoor tourist attractions where you are shielded from the weather. On nicer days, you could go out to the beach then and you enjoy more outdoorsy things.

Depending on your triggers, you should plan around the weather of where you are going for vacation, and that could really, really help you. During my last trip to Portugal, I did this. On one of the days, we went to the oceanarium because the sun was just way too much and that was just not good for me. Staying outdoors in such bright sun, could give me bad migraine as sun light is one of my triggers. So, we spent more time indoors where it was cooler with the air conditioning and all of that, and it was very nice.

On other days, we went to the beach, but earlier in the day when the weather was cool and nice. By doing this, you can still enjoy your vacation and get the most out of it without feeling like your vacation was ruined by migraines.

3. Stay hydrated

Check your fluids because what you drink could really impact your health. Your brain needs hydration, and if you’re in a hotter temperature, you’d be more dehydrated than you are used to. You may not be aware of it in the beginning, and it may take a while before you realize how dehydrated you are. So, make a conscious choice to stay hydrated by always having a water bottle with you.

4. Watch your nutrition

 I know you want to enjoy the local cuisine. You want to try out different foods and spices but do keep an eye on it because some of these foods can get you triggered and create a tough time for you. So, try as much as possible to have more migraine-friendly foods that have less artificial flavors, coloring and sweeteners added to them, because this can really trigger migraines for lots of people. Just be more conscious about this and by doing that, you can have a better time.

5. Invest in good specs

If one of your triggers is bright lights like the sunlight, then you should look into investing in good sunglasses or specs. I personally use transition glasses which change based on the lighting, and this makes a huge difference. This means I don’t get triggered by sunlight anymore because they just automatically adjust. If I didn’t have them, I would not be able to survive outdoors in the bright sun.

6. Keep stress at a minimum

Vacation is all about de-stressing and enjoying beautiful views. But sometimes vacation can also be very stressful especially if you have kids. So, try as much as possible to keep stress to a minimum. Plan out your day in a way that you can allow you to be rested. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re not stressed. Have a conversation with your family so they are aware that your needs are different because you would have different needs from the rest of your family because of your migraines. Have a conversation with them so they help you to keep stress to a minimum.

7. Get a lot of quality sleep

Ideally, during vacation you should be getting a lot of sleep, but sometimes we forget to rest because we want to explore the beauty of our new surroundings. Stress can pile up without you knowing, and quite often you will not realize it until you get back from your vacation. You feel you should be rested, but discover you are exhausted. Well, it’s because you didn’t get a lot of rest.

So, during your vacation, try to rest as much as you can. You can split your days into chunks of time where you go out and then you come back to get some rest. That could make a huge difference for you. Therefore, while you want to enjoy everything, make sure that you are aware of your body and your specific needs.

By putting these tips into practice, you can have a restful vacation experience while keeping migraines at bay.

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