5 Common Reasons for Work from Home Headaches
Another day of working from home; another headache. Do you feel like they're getting more frequent? You're definitely not imagining it and instead of popping another painkiller, let's tackle the most common reasons why they happen in the first place and find the best possible solutions to prevent them.
Are you paying attention to your water intake throughout the day? Sometimes, no matter how much we "swear we refilled that water bottle," we actually haven't because we were too busy responding to emails and getting deeply immersed in work.
Being in a dehydrated state is one of the main causes of headaches, when there's just not enough fluid and electrolytes in the body to keep all systems running smoothly. This causes the brain to literally shrink and pull away from the skull, causing pain and tension which turn into a nasty headache.In order to prevent that from happening while you're working from home, set alarm reminders on your phone every hour to drink a glass of water, and always keep a drink near your working station. That way, even when you cannot physically get up to get a glass of water, you'll always have a backup plan.
In terms of which fluids are good for proper hydration, water is the best and easiest choice, but herbal teas, medicinal mushroom cacao, and homemade juices are also a great option. You'd want to stay away from coffee and other caffeine-boosted energy drinks, as well as sugary juices and smoothies, as they're only bound to dehydrate you even more and cause your headaches to worsen.
If you're reading this slouched behind your desk, let this be a gentle reminder to sit up straight and relieve the tension from your poor, crooked spine. When working from home, there are two most common positions we tend to be in: hunched over our monitors or "comfortably" sunk into our sofa. Neither of which is good for us.
Slouching puts a lot of pressure on our neck and shoulders, causing poor circulation and reduced flow of oxygen to the brain, which in turn, causes pain, tightness, and too much pressure. The same goes for getting all nice and cozy in your living room sofa. Sure, it might be comfy at first, but after a while, your blood circulation will decrease and you'll start feeling pain everywhere, from your low back to your head.
Paying attention to your posture is crucial, as it's always better to prevent a problem from happening than deal with the painful consequences later. First and foremost, avoid working from your sofa and invest in a really good, ergonomic chair. When you're spending most of your day in a seated position behind your desk, having a good chair to support your spine is probably the most important piece of furniture to own, so make sure you got that covered.
Second, take frequent breaks to get up and move your body. Do some stretching and mobility exercises, a quick workout session, or take a walk around the neighborhood if you can, and feel your blood flow improve, focus sharpen, and overall mood lighten up.
Headaches can occur when the air quality in your home is low, which is bound to happen when you're stuck in the same space hour after hour after hour. Indoor air pollution is caused by all of the possible emissions you might have in your home, like stoves and ovens, fireplaces, cleaning products, cigarettes, and other chemicals. Although frequently "airing it out" by opening your windows is a good idea to get the air to circulate and new, fresh oxygen to enter your lungs, depending on where you live, you could potentially be inviting even more outside pollutants to come inside, worsening the problem.
Other than paying attention to the chemicals and products you're using which contribute to indoor air pollution, investing in a good air purifier is a great way to help improve your air quality and filter out all the little particles lingering around your workspace.
Screen Time Overdose
Almost everyone could do with a little less screen time in their lives, and when you're working from home, it's easy to have one in front of you from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you go to sleep. Between our phones, tablets, laptops, and TV, there's at least one gadget we're focused on at all times, if not more at once.
Screens emit a special type of light also known as "blue light" which is proven to cause high discomfort and severe eye strain, negatively impact sleep hormone production, and cause and worsen headaches through specific eye-brain neural pathways.
The best way to solve this issue is to limit the time you spend in front of your screen(s), especially after you've already started to feel pain and tension behind your eyes and temples. Reduce your overall screen time by deciding to turn off your TV two hours before bedtime, stopping yourself from grabbing your phone first thing in the morning, and taking frequent breaks to do anything else that isn't connected to technology like reading books, journaling, cooking, organizing, exercising, taking a walk, etc...
Another great way to limit the blue light effect is by getting a pair of blue light blocking glasses that are made with specially tinted lenses and lightweight frame material so they comfortably sit on your head and protect your eyes from overstraining.
Lack Of Sleep
By now, we should all be aware of how much lack of sleep affects us, and yet, the majority of us deal with sleeping problems. Some, because they're not implementing good sleeping routines, and some because they don't know why theirs isn't working.
Studies have shown the connection between headaches and sleep deprivation, and how stress and inadequate recovery time can create long-term consequences, which are then hard to fix and put under control.If you're one of those people who like to burn the midnight oil, rearrange your schedule to sleep longer in the morning; and if you're more of a morning person, make sure to get in bed before 10 pm. Your new routine will definitely take some time adjusting to, so be patient with yourself.
Additionally, there are other tools that can help improve your sleep duration and quality, from mediation apps and breathing techniques to white noise machines and diffusing calming essential oils. Try them out and stick with the ones that work for you.
These are the most common reasons headaches occur when you're working from home, hunched over your desk, replying to emails until the early hours. Turn your attention to changing your lifestyle habits and get the much-needed relief, without reaching for the pill.