Are your work days long and stressful? Do you deal with tension headaches on a daily or weekly basis? Well, you’re not alone.
“Tension headaches are common, affecting up to 78% of people,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
These headaches typically start in the back of the head, and they can feel like a tight band around the forehead. Although popping pills and drinking caffeinated drinks can provide quick relief, these remedies only mask the real issue.
Rather than accept headaches as an unpleasant aspect of your job, here are four ways to deal with tension headaches at work.
Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day
Headaches are often associated with fatigue and stress, but dehydration can be an underlying cause of tension headaches.
Drinking coffee and soda throughout the day might keep you alert. But these beverages contain caffeine – a diuretic. And the more caffeine you drink throughout the day, the greater your risk for dehydration.
To avoid dehydration – and hopefully avert a tension headache – drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water during the day.
Improve Your Posture
The way you sit at your desk or computer can play a role in tension headaches. Poor posture is a common cause of chronic headaches. However, you can reduce the severity and frequency of headaches by sitting in a chair that fully supports your back.
Both of your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees at right angles. It’s also important to keep your shoulders back and your chest out. The top of your computer monitor should be eye-level, and you should position your keyboard as close to your body as possible.
Give Your Eyes a Break
Looking at the computer screen for eight hours a day can cause eyestrain, and this condition is another underlying cause of chronic tension headaches.
Understandably, you might not be able to change this aspect of your job. However, taking small breaks throughout the day can make a big difference.
For example, take a 10-minute break from the computer every hour to rest your eyes. During this period, move to a task that doesn’t involve staring at the computer. And if possible, sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes.
You can also reduce eyestrain and tension headaches by wearing slightly tinted glasses while working at the computer, or placing an anti-glare screen over your monitor. Turning off your overhead lights and using a desk lamp might also alleviate chronic headaches.
Stress and tension headaches go hand-in-hand. Granted, some jobs are more stressful than others, and it’s often impossible to eliminate stress completely. However, you can take steps to minimize your stress levels at work.
To start, know your limitations and pace yourself. If your workload is too much and you’re constantly overwhelmed, have a discussion with your boss. Maybe he or she can spread some of your assignments among other workers.
Likewise, don’t procrastinate and maintain healthy eating habits during the day. Also, it helps to drink herbal tea throughout the workday, such as peppermint and chamomile tea. These calming herbs can clear your mind and reduce anxiety.
Getting through the workday is hard enough, and the last thing you need to deal with is a chronic tension headache. But with the aforementioned tips, you can stop a headache before it starts and get through the day with ease.