Travel and Headaches! Hmmm, let’s be honest, for a lot of people these two go hand in hand. Whether it be from losing that very expensive face cream you just got from your Aunt Norma to that nasty security guard or whether you had to drag your kids through the airport whilst navigating a variety of trunkies that leaves you stressed. No matter what it is, travel can be very challenging and stressful at times to say the least, even for a “normal” person! Now add a migraineur into the equation and you’re asking for trouble. Dehydration, time zone changes, lack of sleep, weather fluctuations, long queues and aeroplane food are just a few of the culprits.
With this in mind, I thought I would run through a few things that I have recently found helpful when travelling. I’ll be honest, this isn’t fullproof and sometimes I still get migraines when I fly, but I find that the more I preventative measures I take the better chance I have of staying headache free. So, let’s prepare for takeoff then shall we…
Time Zone Adjusting
Now I know when I have too much sleep or too little sleep this can be a trigger and when attempting a big time zone change, no matter what, you are going to struggle with jet lag. It’s just fact! Jet lag equals lack of sleep and lack of sleep equals migraines! So the way in which I combat this is that a week before my flight I start to adjust to the new time zone I am going to be travelling to. For example, we flew to Thailand which is three hours ahead of Dubai, so I started to go to bed gradually earlier and earlier each night. This then meant that when we arrived in Thailand I had the best chance of a getting a proper nights sleep as I was pretty much on their time already, which for me is key in keeping those pesky migraines at bay.
Chicken Or Beef?
Actually I think I’ll pass on both thank you very much. I’ve bought my own food with me. As much as I am partial to a plane meal now and again, you have probably guessed that those pre-made meals are packed with preservatives, salt and MSG to make them taste better. This is not a combination that your head will thank you for. For this reason, I try my best to take my own food with me on flights now as much as possible, this way I know exactly whats in my food and there is no risk of it causing a headache for me. Sure, this involves some preparation but it’s totally worth it.
Exit Row Yoga
I think anyone would find that being packed in a metal tube for a long period of time stuck in the same position would leave you feeling a little stiff in places. I find that neck and shoulder tension can trigger migraines and so I try to keep my body moving during a flight as much as possible. A couple of times a flight I normally go to the back of the plane by the exit where you have a little room to move and do some simple stretches. Touch my toes, roll my shoulders, stretch my neck, that sort of thing. Do this at a time though when most passengers are in their seats. Do not attempt this after the meal service during the mad rush for the toilet. Time it right and no one will spot your fancy yoga moves.
Water, Water, Water!
I cannot reiterate this one enough! Staying hydrated is a huge factor in preventing a
migraine. So at 40,000 feet where your mouth feels as dry as the desert, it is so important to drink water and by this I don’t mean the odd cup that the air hostess whizzes round with hoping that you don’t stop her (I admit, that used to be me!), I mean litres of water obviously depending on how long your flight is. A tip from me is to buy a bottle of water in the departure lounge (after security) to keep with you during the flight. That way you don’t have to feel bad keep asking the air hostess for a small cup every time you feel thirsty as the small cup won’t even touch the sides!
Avoiding The Miniatures
As much as I am partial to a cheeky G & T or a spicy Bloody Mary or two, I find it’s best to stay away from those naughty little miniatures altogether and save them for your actually holiday. Alcohol unfortunately will dehydrate you even more so for me it’s a recipe for disaster. Add in a few nitrates from that delicious Merlot alongside your MSG filled beef bourguignon and BAM you have yourself a first class migraine.
Now we all know that flying can be unpredictable and that delays are common. We have all been there when you are stuck in the Departure lounge and all you have to choose between is Burger King and Pizza Hut. It’s catch 22 as you have to eat something otherwise you will get a migraine from not eating but if you eat the fast food will it give you a migraine. Arrrgh! So to prevent this the best answer is to be prepared and bring with you plenty of snacks. I tend to bring fruit, some homemade chia and quinoa bread and my little date and nut energy balls with me. This way I avoid eating something I shouldn’t.
In Seat Zen
After laughing out loud at the latest rom-com and you have taken a snooze during a nature documentary or two, you are probably wondering how else you are going to kill the rest of the time. Well I always find that a spot of mid-flight meditation does me the world of good. I ask for an eye mask and plug my headphones in and I am away. It’s the perfect time to get in some you time. I always make sure I have some meditation music on my phone to listen to, either some calming yoga music or my Dr Joe Dispenza’s guided meditations. This is a must for me.
Now I’m not sure about you but I do love my pillow. And no matter how fancy the hotel is you travel to, it’s never quite as good as your own. So if I have space I will always pack my pillow to ensure a good night’s sleep at my destination. Waking up with a stiff neck is never going to set you up for a great day on your holiday so this is just a little something I find helps me.
Leave Yourself Plenty Of Time
There is nothing worse than running late and stressing about potentially missing your flight. Plus the security line and check-in queue’s at the airport are totally out of your control. Instead, make life as easy as possible by allowing plenty of time to catch your flight. The airline will recommend two hours before but I always give myself a little extra than that. Then you can leisurely wander through security and find somewhere nice and quiet to have a nice cup of tea (herbal of course) and relax before your flight.
So there we have it. A few handy tips that might make your next flight a little more comfortable.
Happy flying friends!
#Healing #Travel #Health #Migraine #Recovery #Holiday #MyJourney