In observance of National
Headache Awareness Week, the
National Headache Foundation offers us 12 tips for a headache free year...
Tips #1 and
#2: Scheduling a Realistic Day
|Schedule a realistic day
(tip #1). Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments.
Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments (tip
#2). This way, unexpected delays won’t make you late and you can
give yourself a breathing spell. Being kind to yourself in this
fashion will also result in your appointments being more productive.
Ergonomic Work Space
|Wherever you work, make sure
your work space is ergonomically designed from your chair to
your computer keyboard. Using a non-glare computer screen and proper
lighting can also be helpful. Need some help with this?
Check out Head Pain at Work? Check the Lighting!
Tip #4: Get
unpleasant tasks out of the way!
|Whether your job is in the outside
work force or taking care of your home and children, there will be
unpleasant tasks. They may be just boring, messy, or situations that
involve other people. Whatever the situation, if an especially
unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day; then the
rest of your day will be free of anxiety.
Tips #5 and
#6: Oh, those mornings!
|Mornings... well, mornings aren't
my cup of tea. Unfortunately, the morning often sets the tone for
the rest of the day. A bit of planning can take some of the sting
out of mornings and make the rest of the day easier. Get up
fifteen minutes earlier (tip #5) in the morning. The inevitable
morning mishaps will be less stressful. Prepare for the morning
the evening before (tip #6). Set the breakfast table, make
lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear, etc.
Write it down.
|We often talk about writing down
the questions we have for our doctors since we always forget at
least some of them by the time we get to the office. I'm living
proof that anything that needs to be remembered should be written
down. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointment
times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due, etc.
Crossing tasks off of your list gives a sense of accomplishment.
Tip #8: If it's broken,
do something about it!
|We have enough aggravations without putting up
with unnecessary annoyances and inconveniences. Don’t put up with
something that doesn’t work. If your toaster, alarm clock,
windshield wipers-or other item-is a source of aggravation, get them
fixed or replace them. Don't forget that you can also delegate
some of these tasks. We are not superheroes; we do not have to do
Tip #9: Check your
|Check your breathing throughout
the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations.
If you find your stomach muscles are knotted and your breathing is
shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths.
A good practice is to always take nice deep breaths from your
diaphragm. One way to practice diaphragmatic breathing is to lie on
the floor with a large book on your diaphragm. If you're breathing
correctly, your diaphragm should be moving the book as you breathe;
shoulder movement should be minimal. Ladies, your mother may have
told you to practice walking with a book on your head. Now you can
practice breathing with it on your diaphragm. :-)
Tip #10: Try a Yoga
|You don't have to sit in this
position. Just sit up straight so you can breath deeply, but be
comfortable. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of
eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your
mouth for 16 counts, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the
long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times.
This breathing technique can also help deal with pain at times. Give
it a try whenever you're trying to deal with pain, destress,
refocus, or even fighting nausea. You'll find a great many uses for
Tip #11: Use your
|Use your weekend time for a
change of pace. If your work week is slow and patterned, build
action and time for spontaneity into your weekends. If your work
week is fast-paced and full of deadlines, seek peace and solitude
during your days off. However, in changing your pace, take
care not to alter sleep and meal patterns. Those patterns should
remain consistent as altering them can actually trigger headaches
and Migraines. For example: sleeping in on weekends can actually be
a bad thing when you're trying to avoid headaches and Migraine
Tip #12: "You" time...
|Allow yourself time – every
day – for privacy, quiet, and introspection. It's often considered
good or noble to put our families or jobs first, but how much good
can we really do them if we're not at our best? One way to be sure
we're at our best is to remember that we all deserve time to
ourselves. However you prefer to spend that time, you deserve it.
© Teri Robert, 2006