I’ve had headaches as long as I can remember, and nothing I tried seemed to quell them. I tried it all: new glasses prescription, yoga, regular massage therapy. But last spring, they got so bad that I called out of work two days in a row, which is decidedly not my style. I knew I had to make a change, and after a few subtle tweaks, I’ve all but solved my headache issue. I don’t know what strange magic was at work, but something clicked and I rarely suffer from the monsters I used to face. Do you have headaches? Here’s what’s working for me.
The quick fix: Aveda Blue Oil – I’m not entirely sure what’s in this magical little vial – OK, that’s not true. The tension relief it imparts is due to peppermint and blue chamomile. Whenever I feel a tension-based headache creeping up in my shoulders, I roll a little on each shoulder and the back of my neck for cooling, soothing relief. It’s so good I got one for my dad, who also suffers frequent headaches. I keep one at my desk and one in my bag.
Drink twice the water- I’m a big water drinker as is, but when I doubled my intake I noticed better energy, better skin and fewer headaches. I drink about 120 oz. of water per day, which sounds crazy but isn’t hard when you add lemon, mint, or apple cider vinegar and drink from a large Mason jar like I do. People always say drinking more water increases your overall health and though I once thought that was hooey, I believe it now.
Limiting my coffee (and sugar) intake- When my headaches were at their worst, I was also drinking an average of two Starbucks venti sweetened iced coffees a day, one in the AM and one around 4 PM. I put a stop to that and now drink one medium cup of hot coffee with just a splash of almond milk a day. If I want caffeine later in the day, I choose tea. I really think the insane sweetener in the Starbucks drinks was what was making my headaches so persistent. Once I eliminated most of the unnecessary sugar from my diet, my headaches improved. No more 4 PM M&M runs for me.
Focusing on posture- Now that I don’t work retail and stand all day, I have to remind my sitting self to sit up straight, with my shoulders back and head lifted. Slouching gives me headaches, as does scrunching up my shoulders, which I’m prone to doing.
Eating as little gluten as possible- It sucks a lot – I am not going to claim that going mostly gluten-free is easy or fun! – but cutting it from my diet as much as I possibly can really helped with my headaches. That means no bread, no noodles, no morning croissants … it sucks, but it worked for me. The headaches all but disappeared.
Relaxing before bed- One small tweak I made to my routine is focusing on relaxation before bed. This means trying super hard to put the phone away and turn it to silent, face down on the edge of my nightstand. It also means I use lavender essential oil for a subtle relaxing aromatherapy experience. Sometimes (when I haven’t been out drinking), I do a few relaxing stretches to get me in the mood to sleep without falling asleep all stressed-out and scrunched up.