A headache is more than just physical discomfort. It can distract you from work, relationships, and living the life you want. When you set your mind to a task or take on a new challenge, you want a clear mind that works in your favor, not against you.
If you’re someone who always seems to get a headache at the worst possible moment, it’s time to take control of the situation with some proven techniques to alleviate the condition.
Here are 8 tips you can keep in your toolbox to combat headaches and maximize your output, whether it’s at work, the gym, or any other area of life.
1. Hydrate (The Right Way)
It can’t be overstated: dehydration is the root cause of so many ailments in the modern world, headaches included. We are lucky enough to have access to abundant fresh water, so use it.
Keep that water bottle filled throughout the day, especially if you work an intensely physical job or endure long hours at a desk.
If you can filter that water for extra cleanliness, even better.
Sometimes we get so caught up in work and life that we forget to keep the water flowing. It happens. If a headache starts creeping up, chug at least five ounces of clean water immediately rather than waiting for it to get worse.
Get ahead of the problem ASAP.
Headaches also happen due to a lack of electrolytes – essential minerals vital to key functions in the body. Instead of turning to sugary sports drinks, keep some low-calorie electrolyte tablets nearby. Drop them in your bottle, let them dissolve, and replenish wisely.
2. Relax and Meditate
Too many of us walk through life as a bundle of stress and strain. That’s no way to live.
No wonder so many people combat chronic headaches.
Sometimes, relaxation is all you need to eliminate those tension headaches and get back into action.
How you choose to handle stress is up to you – just make sure it’s with healthy habits rather than junk food or questionable substances.
Instead of a sugar-bomb coffee and nicotine, try a green smoothie or outdoor stroll. Instead of pizza and beer, think herbal tea and bubble bath. You may also want to try Complete Calm Destress from ASYSTEM to minimize stress levels and help calm your mind. Letting loose once in a while is all good, but most habits should be restorative, and wellness-focused.
Meditation and yoga are massively popular for a reason: they work. If headaches are getting the best of you, carve out an hour each day to chill out, stretch, and relax the mind and body in full.
3. Fix Your Sleep
If you can’t remember the last time you got a full night’s sleep, don’t be surprised if you find yourself suffering from headaches during your waking hours.
Sleep is a pillar of complete health, and you can’t expect to operate at 100% without it. Figure out what’s holding you back from deep sleep and address it directly. It will have a powerful effect on your overall quality of life.
As a starting point, limit the use of phones and laptops before bed, reduce alcohol intake, and avoid sugary foods late at night. Additionally, taking natural supplements like melatonin or Complete Calm Sleep can assist in giving you a deeper and more refreshing night’s rest. You might think you have a relaxing evening routine, but these common comforts are likely holding you back from quality sleep.
When you finally find that ideal sleep regimen, you’ll feel like a whole new person – with far fewer headaches getting in your way.
4. Monitor Caffeine Intake
Speaking of sleep, too much caffeine late in the day can definitely throw off your sleep cycles.
On the other hand, the occasional cup of coffee or tea can actually help us overcome headaches, so use it sparingly to find your perfect balance.
Once again, the key is to not overdo it on the caffeine. We’re not meant to have more than 200 or 300 milligrams each day. More than that, and headaches might come screaming back.
Learn how much caffeine is in each drink and pace yourself in the morning, then remove it from the equation in the early afternoon. Headaches won’t stand a chance.
5. Get Physical
You probably saw this one coming: regular exercise is one of the best natural ways to reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches.
When you hit the weights, the cardio machines, or the great outdoors, your body not only gets the physical benefits of calorie burning and strength building, but you also let your mind take a break from the madness of daily life.
Plus, there’s that unparalleled rush of endorphins from exercise that feels fantastic and keeps you coming back for more. The runner’s high is very real.
Become that person who simply needs to exercise each day and you’ll see so many benefits. Headaches just won’t be a worthy adversary anymore.
6. Check Your Diet
You already know the importance of a clean diet, but it’s worth repeating.
Headaches are often caused by excess sugar, fat, and processed carbohydrates. Limit those things and maintain a clear mind throughout your day.
If you still like to snack, stick with veggies and healthy dips like hummus or Greek yogurt. These will satisfy your munch and keep you full until it’s time for dinner.
7. Address Inflammation
Swelling, bloating, scratching, sneezing – these are all signals of chronic inflammation that are definitely linked to headaches.
Yes, a little inflammation is fine now and then to heal scratches and fight off colds, but too much of a good thing can backfire, compromising our comfort and health.
We already touched on hydration, diet, and exercise, but if you need a bit more help fighting ongoing inflammation, it may be time to introduce some smart supplementation.
This doesn’t mean popping aspirin or ibuprofen all day long. That’s only going to make the problems worse in the long run.
Instead, find an all-natural anti-inflammatory solution that provides long-lasting relief from pain. Look for key ingredients like turmeric and full-spectrum CBD to do the job, tackling inflammation from two fronts to provide relief when you need it most.
8. Adjust Your Environment
We may not have a device that manipulates the intensity of the sun and weather patterns, but you have more control over your immediate environment than you may think.
Look around your personal living areas and workspace to see what you can change to clean and cleanse air and surfaces – your headache may be caused by things like dry air, allergens, or chemicals from household products.
Get yourself a diffuser, humidifier, or dehumidifier, depending on the level of moisture in the air. Drop in some essential oils so the vapor smells good and relaxes the mind.
You can also find inexpensive little combination thermometer/hygrometer devices that measure temperature and humidity. Keep an eye on those numbers – you want the percentage to hover somewhere around 40% moisture in most cases.
It’s also smart to visit an allergist to see if you’re reacting adversely to environmental factors like pollen or animal fur.
When your environment is pristine, you are way less likely to get a headache, so take control.
See a pattern here? Overcoming headaches is all about being conscious and practicing vigilant self-care, even when it seems less convenient.
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert
Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.