Being part of the corporate world is like unofficially signing up for daily headaches. Many of my clients suffer from headaches due to prolonged hours at the computer screen due to work. Most times, it’s sufficient to just pop a couple of pain relief pills (maybe aspirin) and swallow to feel better; but all that pill-popping is known to cause side effects such as: insomnia, stomach pain, heartburn etc
However, this doesn’t mean we’re all doomed to headaches! There are natural ways to reduce and relieve the tension in your head without bothering about any boomerang effects. Here are 11 health hacks that’ll save you from headaches.
To Reduce Headaches:
- Drink plenty of water: This might sound obvious, but judging the number of people who get headaches because they are dehydrated, it isn’t obvious enough. It’s very important to ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day, ESPECIALLY when you’re swamped with work.
If you often get lost in the busy rhythms of the workday, try setting reminders on your device to ensure you stay hydrated.
I particularly like to start my day with freshly squeezed lemon juice and mineral water. But whatever your preference, avoid ice cold or boiling water – lukewarm is easier on the body, in accordance with Ayurvedic principles.
- Reduce sugar: It’s very tempting to grab that latest sugary treat to keep your energy up during the day; but unfortunately, such consumption of processed sugars could cause you withdrawal symptoms which include nasty headaches.
Sometimes, too little sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause headaches, this is why you may experience headaches between meals. However, consider reducing processed sugar intake in your diet dramatically and even bringing it to zero—no added sugar—if possible to free yourself of these kinds of headaches.
Try healthier snacks such as fruits and nuts, if you need an energy boost during the day.
- Catch those ZZZs: We can get headaches when experiencing physical or intellectual fatigue, so better sleep is a great way to reduce headaches naturally. Try to get plenty of sleep – at least 8 hours – and don’t hesitate to take a nap if possible. This might sound counterproductive when you have ‘so much work to do!’ but you’ll work better and with fewer headaches when you’re well-rested.
The quality of your sleep makes a difference too, so try some calming breath-work, meditation or reading before bed, to help you drift off more deeply.
- Breathe: A mini, conscious breathwork session can be all you need to help relieve those headaches quicker. Even when you’re on the move or working at your desk, just take a few minutes to inhale and exhale deeply and consciously—being aware of your breath. Focus on a smooth, long, deep exhale and take your time for a smooth, long inhale too.
- Stop multitasking! According to Dave Crenshaw, time management expert, Multitasking is a myth—you end up doing things half as well and in twice the time! It takes more energy than you realize, and this stress on the mind can cause headaches.
Hyper-productivity is an alluring temptation in corporate life, but be diligent with yourself and allow for only one task and one thought at a time. Once completed, move on to the next one. Trust me, you’d be grateful you did.
- Pause for creativity: Giving yourself the permission to pause whatever you’re doing for a creative release is a brilliant way to reduce stress on the mind—and you do not need to be either Picasso or Baudelaire for this to work!
Try doodling (even if you can’t draw), a quick dance, singing or whatever creative hobby you enjoy! If you’re at the office, you’d probably need to escape to the restroom for that dance but it’d be worth it.
- Get outside: Stepping out for a breath of fresh air is a great way to reduce headaches, especially if you can make some time to meditate out in nature as well. A little walk about the block and a bit of sunshine could also reboot your energy and help reduce the intensity of a headache.
- Reduce the screen time: You probably spend a lot of time staring at screens each day —mobile or laptop—your headache is your body’s signal that it’s time to switch off the artificial blue lights. So try to take a screen break every hour or so.
If you absolutely can not reduce your screen time (are you sure though?) then consider a pair of biohacking blue light filter glasses – I use mine from Red Light Rising consistently when working on a screen. Remember to visit my ‘Charlene Recommends‘ page for product discounts.
To Relieve Headaches:
- Herbal Teas: While caffeine can provide pain relief to some, it can trigger or worsen headaches in others so it’s better to avoid caffeine altogether when experiencing a headache; especially if it’s happening during the afternoon or late at night. Try a ginger or peppermint tea instead, but if you can’t give up that rich morning fix then a cup of cacao or a square of 80% dark chocolate is an amazing alternative.
- Cold Therapy: Applying a cold compress on your forehead while breathing is a great home remedy for headaches, because the cold constricts blood vessels and so reduces pressure on the nearby nerves. When possible, and if you feel brave enough, hop into a cold shower for 30 seconds to 3 minutes for quick relief.
- Use Essential Oils: Oils like Lavender, Peppermint and Eucalyptus have been proven scientifically as great ways to reduce headaches naturally, because they reduce tension and have a quick soothing effect.
You can massage or inhale (aroma therapy) these oils. I like to use a few drops to massage the side of my head with them for a couple of minutes, with my eyes closed. But, if you’re having a sinus headache, inhaling Eucalyptus oil is the most effective. You can use a diffuser or add a couple of drops into hot water and inhale the steam.
Less headaches mean more peace of mind, and you deserve that.
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Cheers to your health!