Written by Kristen Estep for Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc.

So it’s the holidays already. I don’t know about anyone else but this year it just doesn’t feel like it to me. I keep procrastinating on all things holiday. This year has been absolutely nuts! Covid has trashed so many of our plans and traditions that, I imagine, we are all alittle lost.

Now add migraine on top of holidays and Covid & mix. It makes for a terrible cocktail, doesn’t it? How much has Covid added to your stress and/or anxiety levels? God forbid, you or someone you care about contracts Covid, your stress goes through the roof. Knock, knock…it’s migraine calling…again.

The new stressor, Covid, is not just a stress over will I get sick. It encompasses all aspects of our lives & livelihood. It makes children stay home from school & parents either have to stay home from work or try to work from home & be their child’s teacher. It has taken so many jobs & people scrambling to get on assistance. It has taken our friends & relatives from us, either temporarily or permanently. We are full of anxiety 24/7 now, if not before. As we all know stress can be a major contributing factor to migraine.

The beast has been rearing its ugly head more often since the beginning of fall for me, but the last four weeks it has definenitly been worse. I can pretty much name all of the reasons for it too.

Weather – Transitions between seasons always are terrible for me. The fluctuations in the barometric pressure are crazy and greatly affect me. If you add in humidity, then all bets are off and I am down for the count. Being stuck in bed, missing days of work or my life in general is a stressor. I try not to beat myself up so bad, but sometimes the internal dialog is very hard to shut off.

Holidays – I seriously have done less and less every year since my migraine disease became chronic in July of 2016. I was always the one who got it all done early and enjoyed the preparations for the holidays. Now I do the minimum required to still pull it off. But this year, it is ridiculous! I have absolutely no motivation to do any of it. There is no hustle and bustle, running around the mall or stores. I have ordered everything online and that has been stressful too because the delivery services are running so far behind. I worry about packages arriving on time, and the porch pirates get worse every year around here. Holiday traditions are being broken and it is so sad.

Covid – Ahh, stupid Covid, what can I say about you? Oh, that’s right, I Hate You! Since I am employed by a hospital, I try very hard not to let it get to me while at work because if I did then I wouldn’t be able to go to work. But, I do rethink how I do and/or touch things. My elbows are my new hands for a lot of things. I am very hesitant to go to stores or restaurants. I know that probably almost all of you feel and do the same.

I have shared these stresssors with all of you because we all have commonality in them. Privately, I have many other stressors going on right now too. I hope that you all have found constructive ways to work out some of your stress and that you can enjoy whatever the holidays look like for you this year. Our family is planning on having a ‘drive thru’ Christmas. My mother still wants to cook our traditional Christmas dinner, so she will package up our dinners and we will drive to her, swap gifts and pick up our dinner. We are then going to Facetime while we open our gifts to each other. Not the same but as close as we can get to normal.

I hope that each of you can find ways to de stress and hopefully enjoy some of the holidays safely.

Happy Holidays!

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