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Workday Headache Triggers


You spend many hours at your job. Make sure they’re as headache-free as possible.

Focusing at work can be tough enough sometimes between office chatter, the “ping” of your incoming emails and that latest cute cat video that’s gone viral. But add in head pain and focus can go completely out the window. Unfortunately, stressful, hectic days can work against those who struggle with headaches and migraines.

Try these simple steps throughout the day to help ward off possible headache triggers. And remember: Everyone’s triggers are different. A headache diary can help determine what’s a trigger for you

9:00 AM: Fill up your water bottle.

Regardless of your start time, you might be tempted to dive right into work when you arrive. But before you get caught up in meetings or e-mails, make sure you have water handy to help prevent a dehydration headache. Experts suggest women aim for nine cups of water a day while men should try to consume 13.

10:30 AM: Give progressive relaxation a try.

Whether your manager is in a testy mood or you're nervous about an upcoming presentation, you’ll want to ward off stress, a known headache trigger. Progressive relaxation involves flexing and relaxing different muscle groups while focusing on your breathing, and can be a great way to alleviate stress right at your desk.

12:00 PM: Carve out time for lunch.

Skipping your midday meal can set you up for head pain. Hunger has the ability to set off headaches, possibly because skipping meals can leave you with low blood sugar. If you’re really busy, consider making a daily calendar reminder for yourself for lunch so that the time gets automatically blocked off.

2:00 PM: Check in on your progress.

To avoid an end-of-day panic, look at your to-do list and evaluate items by importance and time restraints. There’s nothing wrong with creating a “procrastination list” of things you can get to later. It may help you relax and focus on the task at hand.

3:30 PM: Choose the right afternoon snack.

Taking a quick snack break can be a win-win. Staying satiated may ward off hunger headaches, and if you pick complex carbohydrates like whole-grain crackers, you may also maintain your energy. Try apples, peanut butter, or other healthy snacks to boost your energy and stave off hunger and headaches.

5:00 PM: Tidy up your desk.

As the day comes to a close, your desk may show how busy you've been. Take 2 minutes to do a desk purge. Rather than thinking of it as interrupting your workflow, try viewing it as a necessary step to maintain focus and avoid stressful clutter.

6:00 PM: Don't work too late.

While it may be necessary to pull a late-nighter every so often, do your best to keep it from becoming a habit. When work invades your sleep hours, you may be scheduling yourself for a headache. Getting less than the recommended amount of seven to nine hours per night can be a headache trigger, so try these tips that may help improve your sleep quality , and try to leave the office on time.

Even if you're diligent about reducing your hunger, fatigue and stress levels, you may experience other headache and migraine triggers. Talk to your medical care provider to discover ways to prevent and treat your head pain.

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