Surviving New Year’s Eve With Migraine

Written by Ben Ruditsky | December 27, 2023

If you’re one of the 42 million people in the United States who struggle with migraine then you likely know how difficult planning around major holidays can be. Debilitating migraine attacks can often get in the way of enjoying time spent with friends and family. This issue can become even more prevalent if you’re part of the smaller percentage of Americans who like to go out and party on New Year’s Eve.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to get lively with friends at home or elsewhere, the presence of migraine triggers at these events such as loud noises, flashing lights, or alcohol can make this difficult, if not impossible! As a young adult in my early 20s living with migraine who likes to spend time outside the house with friends, I often find myself in this position, especially around holidays. To make these events as bearable and fun as I can, I have a set of ground rules and tricks to maximize my enjoyment. I prioritize self-care and keep track of any migraine attack symptoms that might rear their head. Here are a few tips for surviving New Year’s Eve with migraine.

Stay Stocked Up!

This point may seem obvious to those of us who have suffered from migraine attacks for quite a while but preparing yourself to go out anywhere in case a migraine arises is a must. When I’m looking to go out on a night like New Year’s Eve, here are some of the essentials I bring with me so I can be ready in case of a migraine:

  • Rescue Medication – Keeping medication in your purse or bag can help combat migraine symptoms as they arise! If you’re bringing a smaller mini-bag or handbag, investing in a tiny pill organizer helps keep all your migraine treatments on you so that it’s easily accessible. Take your rescue medicine(s) at the first sign of symptoms, possibly even in the prodrome phase.
  • Water – Staying hydrated, especially if you’re planning on drinking alcohol (like red wine) or using other substances, is extremely important. (Even if your migraine attacks aren’t heavily impacted by dehydration!) Make sure to hydrate plenty before heading to whatever function you’re going to. Either keep a small refillable container for water on your person or find a place where you know you can access water. Drink plenty of water throughout the night.
  • Earplugs/Hood or Hat – New Year’s parties are full of migraine triggers; bright lights, lots of movement, loud music, and many other noises. Having the ability to destimulate yourself to prevent an oncoming migraine attack can make all the difference! If noise is a common migraine trigger for you, bring some noise-canceling earplugs. They can help nullify some of the sounds around you. These can come in a variety of different cancellation levels to fit either your needs or the needs of the party. Bringing a hat or hoodie to reduce some of the incoming light can also be helpful. These can help you avoid retreating to a dimmer or quieter area while still enjoying yourself with others.

Designate a Quiet Space

Unfortunately, people with migraine may find using destimulating techniques isn’t enough to prevent an oncoming migraine attack. Having a space you can retreat to while you’re at a party can help take you away from some of the triggers that make migraine attacks worse. Good spots for this are often your vehicle or someone else’s, side rooms like kitchens or bedrooms, or even bathrooms.

Use the Buddy System

Assuming you’re going to an event with friends or family, one of the safest and smartest things you can do is communicate your needs to them beforehand. Be sure to keep them in the loop as the party progresses in case you need to step away for a moment. Or if you need their help with something such as administering medicine. Ask them to take you somewhere to destimulate if you feel unsafe going alone. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or those around you for help or space. Especially if you feel like you need to leave when you feel a migraine attack getting to an unmanageable point. There’s no shame in setting boundaries for yourself. Take the steps you need to stay happy and in good health, especially around the holidays!

Let Us Know!

Do you have more tips for managing migraine during holiday parties or just for a weekend romp? Do you have trouble knowing when to go to an event? Or when to say no due to an oncoming migraine attack? What tips can you share to get through the holidays?

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