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Headache Tips for the New Year from the National Headache Foundation

Having just made it through the holiday season, you are now faced with getting back into the swing of the New Year and your regular routines. Here are some tips to help reduce stress, fight the winter blues, and prevent headaches before they happen:

Work

  1. Schedule a realistic day. Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments for a breathing spell.
  2. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments. This way, unexpected delays won’t make you late.
  3. Make sure your work space is ergonomically designed from your chair to your computer keyboard. Using a non-glare computer screen and proper lighting can also be helpful.
  4. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day; then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety.

Home

  1. Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.
  2. Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear, etc.
  3. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due, etc.  Crossing tasks off of your list gives a sense of accomplishment.
  4. Don’t put up with something that doesn’t work. If your toaster, alarm clock, windshield wipers or other item is a source of aggravation, get them fixed or replace them.

Play

  1. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles are knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths.
  2. Try a yoga technique.Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth for 16 counts, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times.
  3. Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If your work week is slow and patterned, build action and time for spontaneity into your weekends. If your work week is fast-paced and full of deadlines, seek peace and solitude during your days off.
  4. Allow yourself time —everyday—for privacy, quiet and introspection.

Tell us how you plan to reduce stress in the coming months.

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