Most of you who get headaches know exactly why you get them. As adults, you have tracked it and know. If you haven't tracked it, then your friends and family have, believe me, and they know!
Sometimes headaches can be debilitating, and at other times they are just an annoyance. Either way, having a headache steals your time and productivity.
To keep from consuming aspirin as a food group, start dealing with your headaches. Here are some areas you can proactively attend to:
1. Lighting. Get an excellent desk lamp for your primary workspace. Use enough light (and the right kind of light) when you're trying to read and work. What you might have been able to do when you were 14 (reading with a flashlight under the covers or writing poetry to the love of your life by flickering candles) is not as wise as you mature! Also be aware of glare, both inside and outside. Invest in good sunglasses and get the right shades/blinds for windows near your workspace.
2. Foods. If you think there's any pattern to the foods you eat and your headaches, keep a food diary until you determine the culprit(s).
3. Varying weather. While this is a tough one to avoid, it's possible that a sinus pill just as the weather is changing might be helpful to you.
4. Certain people. You know who your "headache people" are. Be truthful. Maybe you have one in your school--avoid that person whenever possible or at least minimize your interactions. If you have one in your house...ouch! See about getting that person out of your house (your 28-year old son really should have a place of his own and a job. Just a thought).
5. Particular situations. Sometimes you get headaches during the "lead-up" to a situation or maybe it's the "decompression" period after a particular event. What can you do to get a handle on your responses to these situations? Be aware and be proactive.
6. Sleep. This one has varying issues for some headache-prone folks. For you, it may be lack of sleep. Or, maybe you are someone who needs to follow the advice that you should sleep the same hours every night, rather than getting your 6 or 7 or 8 hours at varying times each night. Do what you can to get the sleep (and the right kind of sleep) that will support a headache-free life.
7. Head in the sand behavior. Sometimes, you give yourself headaches by *not* dealing with what needs to be addressed. Susan Scott, in her incredible book Fierce Conversations, uses this question with her clients: "What are you pretending not to know?" Answer that and see if taking the appropriate action will make a difference.
8. Toxic work environment. Feel free to take this one both ways, i.e., literally working in an environment that is chemically toxic (air, ceiling, walls, etc.), or in the figurative sense of toxicity of the people and unhealthy energy in the environment. Life is too short. Make a change.
9. Health. Do you need to take a vitamin, see the doctor, or get some exercise? There are organic reasons that you get headaches sometimes...and a simple diagnosis and action can stop the headache time thieves.
10. Smells & scents. My previous assistant's daughter was trained to say "Hold your breath, Mom!" when they passed the perfume counter in certain stores. If you are one of the people who is deeply affected by certain scents, do what you can to avoid being in the environment where those scents waft about.
Admittedly, some of the physical environments of the campus are difficult to change. However, also consider the environment in which your students are being asked to learn. I encourage you to research problematic learning environments and document when possible. Take this information to the leaders of your campus for support.
As mentioned above, if you don't know what your "triggers" are, ask those who have been around you for any length of time. They will tell you if you ask. Your students and your loved ones don't want your time, energy, and productivity stolen by headaches.
Time thieves are part of modern life (sad by true ). You have the power to prevent this pilfering of your productivity. Join others around the world who increase their peaceful, predictable productivity by receiving Meggin's weekly emails.
(c) 2008 by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., "The Ph.D. of Productivity"(tm). Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh changes what people know, feel, dream, and do. Sound interesting? It is!