Headaches can totally be triggered by stress, especially if there are sudden increases in your stress levels. One way to manage stress is to practice self-care.
Self-Care: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress (as defined by the Oxford Dictionary)
Don't like that term? Think about it as awareness. Understanding what causes you to feel stressed out and overwhelmed creates awareness that you can use to mitigate stressful times and/or improve your resiliency during those times. Here are 3 ways to practice self-care today.
If your posture or muscle tension triggers headaches:
Practice a morning tune-in at your desk, parked in your car, or at the breakfast table. All three things will take you 30-45 seconds.
- Sit comfortably and notice your posture. Do you need to reach the crown of your head up towards the sky? Do you need to shift your shoulders back over your hips? Is your pelvis tilted forward or back? Find neutrality in your spine and sit tall. Try to practice this throughout the day so you don't feel crunched up in your neck and shoulders or strained in your low back.
- Notice your breathing. Is it shallow or deep? Are your inhales and exhales even? Are you using your full chest and belly to breathe? Practicing slow, deep breathing helps calm your nervous system and bring you to the present.
- Think of 3 things you're grateful for and say them aloud, to yourself, or write them in a journal. Practicing gratitude helps you from feeling the stresses so intensely. When you stress, your muscles clench. We want your muscles nice and relaxed!
If a stressful schedule triggers headaches:
Take an inventory of your schedule. Are there things you can delegate or get rid of altogether? Can you clump certain tasks together to be more efficient? Is there space before or after stressful meetings or events for prep time or downtime that will make you feel more at ease? Try to schedule a personal day or a couple of hours off around weeks that will stress you out more than others. Thinking about this before you're overwhelmed and at your breaking point will make your life so much better. Everyone around you will appreciate it too!
If an unruly environment stresses you out and triggers headaches:
Cultivate a zen space at home or work. Surrounding yourself with soothing smells, colors, and textures can really make a difference. Place a gorgeous gemstone on your window sill or by your laptop. Feeling ungrounded? Spruce up your space with a red mousepad or picture frame to nourish your root chakra. Balance out your colleague's perfume with a peppermint or lavendar essential oil (or get a blend of both in a mini roll on). Look around your space right now and think of one thing you can do to make it more nurturing to your spirit - then do it!
Self-Care Isn't a Dirty Word
Try one or all of them out and notice how you feel. Bring awareness to your daily life and never feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You cannot truly share your greatness with the world if you're tapped out. Take an active role in your own happiness and spread that into the world!
Hey! I'm Tiffany Lord, Yoga for Headaches guru and Founder of Love & Asana. My passion is helping people just like you learn easy ways to integrate yoga into your daily life to manage headaches and stress. Want help adding yoga to your lifestyle? Schedule a free 20-minute call to see if one of my programs is a good fit for you!