Migraines, tension headaches or just some annoying pecking in your head are issues most of us experience from time to time. But if you've noticed that your headaches are becoming more common and that they tend to appear during the time you spend at work, keep reading. Maybe you'll find the reason described here.
Regularly skipping breakfast on workdays
Skipping meals disrupts your metabolism and has been connected to migraines. Your body has been starving all night – give it a boost of energy in the morning with a healthy breakfast. Lack of time in the morning is a poor excuse since breakfast doesn't have to be anything complicated: fruit, a protein shake, or oatmeal are made and consumed in minutes.
Sitting for long hours
Office jobs tend to require a lot of sitting - something our bodies weren't really designed to do for long stretches. Sitting is a problem for many reasons, let alone sitting for long hours and in the wrong position. The wrong posture causes a lot of strain on the neck and shoulders, causing tension headaches.
Try to keep the weight of your head directly above the neck. That means no slouching! Move your chair as close to your desk as possible to avoid leaning and reaching. Try to move as much as you can - walk while talking on the phone, if possible or take a walk to pick up lunch, park further away from the office and get off the bus a station before your usual one. Try to take walking meetings (they tend to also be shorter and more creative), walk up to your co-worker instead of calling him and lastly, skip the elevator.
Staying indoors for too long
Did you know the air in your office can be way dirtier than the air outside? Bacteria and mould in air conditioning, dust, chemicals or even certain typical office smells can trigger your headache. For example, sitting close to a photocopier or a laser printer can actually make your headaches worse due to smells and ozone, in case the filter isn't periodically changed.
Open the window if possible or spend some time outside every day. If the situation can't be changed, think about purchasing a portable air filter.
Staring at the screen
Straining your eyes when going through one report after another, hours upon hours every day? No wonder you might feel the tension behind your eyes. Blue light from the monitor can also interfere with your sleep, adding on to possible headache triggers.
Avoid eye strain by making sure that your monitor is not too close, it should be at least an arm’s length away. Take regular breaks and rest your eyes on the outside world. Place the monitor directly in front of you, with the top no higher than eye level. The keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor so you don’t have to turn your head and neck all the time.
Fast food is a regular choice for many office workers. Apart from gaining weight (which is in itself connected to more migraines), fast food can contain certain migraine triggers.
There's nothing wrong with treating yourself to a favourite meal from time to time. But on other days reward your body for its hard work with a healthy lunch. The best bet is a home-cooked meal, packed with vegetables, proteins and healthy grains. If that's not an option, try to choose a lighter, healthier option on the restaurant menu at least a few times per week.
Another trick is to keep healthy snacks on your desk – nuts, fruit, a small yoghurt or even some dark chocolate. That way you won't starve before lunch or have the urge to run to the communal fast food drawer or for that batch of chocolate chip cookies, your co-worker brings to work every week.
Deadlines, long hours, demanding bosses or even dealing with co-workers can be stressful and before you know it, a headache appears. It can often be connected to mental state and that's why it's important to keep your mental health in check.
Take regular breaks, try office yoga or short meditation sessions. Try to take time off work when you're on holidays or out of the office. There's really no need to be glued to your email 24/7.
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