So, you were working half the night, you’re running late for an important meeting and that report still isn’t finished. No wonder you have a tension headache!
Hectic days coupled with lack of sleep can send stress levels soaring, which can be primary headache causes that have an impact on your performance at work, as well as throwing your body out of balance. To help keep your workplace a headache-free zone, try the following tips.
MAKE A DAILY GAME PLAN
Creating a daily ‘to-do’ list can help you to re-organise your thoughts and set priorities for the day ahead. Start by assessing when you are most productive – are you a morning or evening person? Plan your day so the most challenging tasks are tackled when you’re at your best.
SET SOME BOUNDARIES
When work starts to pervade your personal life, stress levels can increase and tension headaches can become more frequent. One way to maintain a healthy work-life balance is to set distinct boundaries. Easier said than done? Start by taking it one step at a time – keep your computer switched off at home, make time for your favourite hobby or organise catch-ups with friends and family.
CONNECT WITH PEOPLE
Building connections with people and forming good relationships, with family and friends, have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. If you’ve had a tough day or feel overwhelmed, get some fresh perspective by calling a good friend and talking it over. It’s also important to have a support network within the workplace, so grab a coffee and share a laugh with a colleague.
MOVE YOUR BODY
If you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, chances are you may not be getting enough exercise – a factor strongly associated with headaches. Physical activity can boost mood and energy, as well as help to reduce stress and tension. Taking a short walk during your lunch break or even simple exercises such as yoga or gardening can be enough to improve your fitness and help keep those tension headaches at bay.
DON’T SKIP MEALS
We all know that nutrition is a key to good health, but when you’re busy it can be hard to find time to choose the right foods or eat at all. The reality is that missing a meal reduces your blood sugar levels, which can sometimes act as a headache cause, or exacerbate a tension headache you already have. Get each day off to a good start by enjoying a healthy breakfast – which can help to reduce stress and improve work performance.
SLEEP AWAY STRESS
Feeling tired can be a common trigger of tension headaches. Getting more sleep can help reduce your risk of a tension headache. That’s because sleep helps to relax muscle in your head and neck.
Have trouble getting to sleep in the first place? Then try changing your routine. Going to bed at a regular time each night and avoiding caffeine in the evening can help. You could also try a new pillow or changing your sleeping position.
Check your posture to avoid headaches
Back pain is not the only result of poor posture – simply setting your desk and chair up properly can also help to reduce the risk of headaches. Using an ergonomic chair helps your spine to hold its natural curve, which can help relieve muscle tension in your neck, shoulders and back.
You can also adjust your computer monitor so it’s at eye level or slightly lower to help improve posture. Bright lights can also be a headache trigger, so try using an anti-glare screen on your computer monitor, and be sure to take regular screen breaks to give your eyes a rest.
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