National Migraine Centre
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Christmas and migraine

I have just emerged from 4 days of migraine post hosting Christmas lunch and having house full of guests. Had to cancel various social activities at very short notice and still feel washed out. My partner has fibromyalgia and he is pottery and shaky. I am the obvious person in our family to host Christmas lunch but the whole festive season is proving too much for both of us. Does anyone have any tips for surviving Christmas and for saying nicely but firmly no to people. At the moment hibernation seems the only possible option.

4 Replies

Hi Katya, I know absolutely nothing about migraine because I've only just suffered from what I think (courtesy of Google) is an ocular migraine, which I'd never heard of. Just posted a question asking about what happened to me and what to do.

But I'm an expert on Christmas stress :-) . I know everybody is supposed to say how wonderful it is, and it is, but for a lot of people, like me, it's very stressful. I have a heart arrhythmia which I didn't even know about till Christmas Eve 2003 when I ended up on the floor of a shop waiting for an ambulance, followed by 8 days in a coronary ward! There's good stress and bad stress, but it's all stress IMO. Since then, I have never been Christmas shopping except on Amazon. But I cheat because my wife does everything bless her, and she keeps it quiet for me.

If the whole thing affects you healthwise then I think you've got to just make it clear to friends and family that it's all just too much. So what, it's no big deal. They will understand. Half of them probably think the same deep down.

We now keep our Christmas dinners small. We try and avoid going out too much and to parties etc although I usually get dragged to one. And this year, we bought a whole Christmas dinner package from Marks & Sparks, it was really good and even I could cook it, which is quite something. Next year, we're going out to a restaurant if we can afford it.

We don't have kids by the way and are in our 60's.

Anyhow, don't know whether that helps or not, but believe me you are not alone and I hope you have a happy and quiet Christmas 2014.

Kind regards



Feel for you! Had an attack myself boxing day that lasted 2 days. Think its difficult to avoid triggers this time of year. Eating patterns and sleeping patterns change as well as having lots of flourescent lighting around.


Thanks all for kind thoughts and sensible suggestions. We have a family conference booked for Sunday to discuss how to make Christmas less hassle next year. I shall certainly be taking up the idea of one social event only, which is about the limit of what I can tolerate. I also like the idea of distancing myself from the hype rather than trying to take part in it.

I realise now that one thing that added to the pressure was that we have a major deadline at work and a group of us were trying to combine work and Christmas. Not a good idea. I normally enjoy a bit of blue skies thinking in the period between Christmas and New Year but that is a very different thing from trying to meet a deadline. Definitely wont let myself get into that position again.

It was really good to hear from fellow migraineurs who understand how it feels to have a migraine at this time of year. Thank you.


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