Take a Migraine Break
Last updated: January 2023
We know that spending long hours at a desk isn’t helpful or productive for our health. Yet, in the reality of our daily lives, it’s easy to get lost in work, and before we know it, the workday is over, and we barely got up to go to the bathroom.
This is not helpful for our health, and certainly not if we’re looking to manage migraine effectively. But what if we were to actually get up and give ourselves even a five- or ten-minute break throughout our day? It’s something that I recently started trying.
What did I notice about my body?
What surprised me at first was noticing how much tension I was holding in my neck, shoulders, and jaw as I was working at the desk. Stepping away from the computer brought my attention to it, so I was able to break that tension and invite my muscles to relax a bit.
How has it helped me stay hydrated?
I also noticed that it encouraged me to fill up my water bottle more frequently. If I was truly only taking a five- or ten-minute break, I couldn’t go far. However, walking to the kitchen to refill my water bottle was a perfect trip. It became a double benefit – moving my body on the short walk to the kitchen and staying better hydrated, which slight dehydration can often make me more susceptible to a migraine.
What else have I done during my break?
Some other activities that I can do during a short break are yoga stretches – I can even do these at my desk while on a call – apply some essential oils and certainly if I have the time, my favorite activity is to walk outside. I’ve come to view these as a “migraine break” – or maybe better said, as a migraine-prevention break.
How have my breaks helped with migraine?
These short breaks from my desk, the computer, and work have become helpful in managing migraines. They’re certainly not the only practice that I can rely on for migraine management, but there is no one magic pill or practice. It’s an accumulation of practices throughout our days that add up to support our health.
How do I stay accountable?
To help keep me accountable for this practice, I will do one of two or three.
I will schedule it on my calendar. This blocks out the time from another commitment, but it also will send me a calendar reminder when it’s time to take my break.
I also can put a post-it note on my computer monitor that reminds me to take a break or reminds me why I’m taking the break. For example, it might say, “healthy mom” because I want to be a healthy mom and always feel my best to be active with my daughter. Or I might write “Girl's Night Out” reminding me that I have plans with my girlfriends that I want to feel good for.
And lastly, if I really need some accountability, I might schedule a time to talk with a friend during my break. So, I know that person is expecting me to call them or meet them at a specific time that I’ve set aside for walking.
How will you take a break?
The motivation and the activities will be different for each of us, but certainly, allowing ourselves to take a break throughout the day can be a helpful practice for managing our health and reducing our chances of a future migraine.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?