Avoid Getting a Headache by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

By meggin@meggin.com
In Women
Sep 22nd, 2013

Woman with headacheMost of us who get headaches know exactly why we get them. As adults, we’ve tracked it and know.  If we haven’t tracked it, then our friends and family have, and they know!

Sometimes headaches can be debilitating, and at other times they are just an annoyance.  If you don’t want to consume aspirin as a food group, consider dealing with your headaches.  Here are some areas you can attend to so that you are proactive about avoiding headaches.

  1. Lighting.  Get an excellent desk lamp for your primary workspace.  Use enough light when you’re trying to read.  What you might have been able to do when you were 14 (reading with a flashlight under the covers or writing poetry to the love of your life by flickering candles) is not as wise as you mature!  Also be aware of glare, both inside and outside.  Invest in excellent sunglasses and get the right shades/blinds for windows near your workspace.
  2. Foods.  Keep a food diary until you figure this out.  Just because chocolate gives someone else a migraine doesn’t mean that it’s your culprit.  See what it is that seems to set you off because there may very well be a pattern.
  3. Varying weather.  This one is tough to avoid, but a sinus pill just as the weather is changing might be wonderful.
  4. Certain people.  I’ll leave this one to you.  You know who your “headache people” are.  (Note:  in the series, “I Want to Be ‘Just Whelmed’,” I do write about these folks if you want more information:  JustWhelmed.com)
  5. Particular situations.  This can be the “lead-up” to a situation or the “decompression” period after a particular event.
  6. Sleep.  This one has varying issues for some headache-prone folks.  For you, it may be lack of sleep.  Or, maybe you are someone who needs to follow the advice that you should sleep the same hours every night, rather than getting your 6 or 7 or 8 hours at varying times each night.
  7. Head in the sand behavior.  What I mean by this is sometimes we give ourselves headaches by *not* dealing with what needs to be addressed.  Susan Scott, in her incredible book, Fierce Conversations, uses this question with her clients: “What are you pretending not to know?”
  8. Toxic work environment.  Feel free to take this one both ways, i.e., literally harmful in terms of chemical toxins in the air, ceiling, walls, etc., but also toxic in terms of the people and unhealthy energy in the environment.  Note:  I’m getting ready to teach a class, which will be recorded, on the latter type of toxicity, so if you’re interested, check it out:  Antioxidants for Toxic Work Environments.
  9. Health.  Do you need to take a vitamin, see the doctor, or get some exercise?
  10. Smells & scents.  (One of my former assistant’s daughter was trained to say “Hold your breath, Mom!” when they passed the perfume counter in certain stores.)

As I mentioned above, if you don’t know what your “triggers” are, ask those who have been around you for any length of time.  They’ll tell you if you ask.

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