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Blog > Battle with Migraines? 7 Healthy Habits That Can Help

Battle with Migraines? 7 Healthy Habits That Can Help

Fewer migraines, greater productivity
Woman experiencing migraine

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If you’ve suffered from migraines in the past, you know how disruptive they can be to your work and personal life. Whether a migraine leaves you entirely out of commission or you manage to soldier on, your work and personal life inevitably suffer. Regardless of the severity, each occurrence of a migraine undoubtedly impacts your efficiency and output.

The Mayo Clinic describes a migraine as much more than a mere headache. It’s a type of headache characterized by intense pain. It is frequently accompanied by other distressing symptoms like severe nausea and heightened sensitivity to light and sound, which can persist for several days.

Studies have shown that migraines can have a substantial adverse effect on a business’s financial health, costing upwards of $19 billion. This is due to employees taking sick leave because of migraines or experiencing a decline in productivity even when they don’t take time off.

Considering all that has been said, you might feel powerless against migraines’ strong grip on your life. Yet, if you’re a high achiever eager to minimize the influence of migraines to maintain your edge professionally, there are proactive measures you can adopt.

By integrating stress management strategies, ensuring proper hydration, and cultivating healthy routines, you can reduce both the frequency and intensity of migraines. Interested in learning how? Below are seven strategies endorsed by Arootah health coaches for managing migraines effectively.

1. Go to Bed and Wake Up at Consistent Times

Proper sleep can do wonders for your health and can make a difference in keeping your migraines in check. Invest in your sleep hygiene and craft a relaxing nighttime routine that will help you wind down and get seven to eight hours of sleep, every night. It will take persistence, but you’ll notice the benefits in your health, mood, productivity, and more.

2. Practice Stress Management Techniques

Are you aware that stress often precedes the onset of migraines? To prevent these painful episodes, it’s crucial to cultivate effective stress management techniques.

Try integrating meditation into your daily schedule before you start your workday or as a brief interlude during it. It’s also beneficial to weave yoga into your midday break or evening regimen. Ensure that you’re not glued to your desk for eight uninterrupted hours; set periodic reminders to stand up, take your eyes off the computer screen, and, if possible, step outdoors for a breath of fresh air.

3. Learn Your Triggers

Various lifestyle elements can act as catalysts for migraines. Maintaining a detailed journal that tracks the occurrence and severity of your migraines, along with potential triggers like dietary habits, stress levels, and shifts in weather, can be immensely helpful. This record-keeping will enable you to discern patterns and identify the specific triggers unique to you.

“I suffer from migraines and keeping a log of triggers was a game changer. For me, severe weather changes are a trigger. The weather isn’t something I have control over, but I can take measures to lessen the severity of a migraine, such as using peppermint essential oils and making sure I’m well hydrated,” said Shayla Kelly, Arootah’s content manager.

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4. Drink Enough Water

Maintaining proper hydration can play a significant role in controlling the severity of your migraines. It’s advisable to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. After establishing this baseline, monitor your hydration status to determine if an increased intake is necessary.

If you find it challenging to keep up with your water intake during the day, consider placing a pitcher of water in your workspace and carrying a water bottle with you as you travel, run errands, or perform household tasks. You can also up your intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables.

5. Get Sufficient Exercise

Research has shown that exercise can reduce the frequency, severity and duration of migraine attacks. Aim to get 30 to 50 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, three to five days per week.

This might look like a quick jog before work or during your lunch break, attending a workout class after work several times per week, and/or going on a strenuous hike on the weekend. Mixing and matching your aerobic workout will ensure you get the exercise you need, without getting bored.

6. Limit Migraine-Triggering Foods

Some individuals may experience migraines as a result of ingesting specific compounds found in certain foods. Ingredients such as tyramine, nitrate, yeast, or dairy might be the culprits.

Foods rich in tyramine, such as aged cheeses (think blue cheese and Parmesan), smoked fish, and certain wines, could potentially trigger migraines. Similarly, nitrates are often present in processed meats including luncheon meats, hot dogs, pepperoni, and bacon. Yeast is commonly found in gluten-containing products ranging from bread and pasta to canned soups. Additionally, cultured dairy products like yogurt are examples of fermented dairy that might also provoke migraine symptoms.

7. Rub Your “Hegu” Pressure Point

Need a bit of a quicker fix than switching up your diet or exercising multiple times per week? Try rubbing a pressure point in your hand called the “hegu” pressure point, or the LI-4. This pressure point is located at the base of the thumb and index finger, and massaging it can provide some relief from migraines.

The Bottom Line

Ensuring that your migraines don’t control you and your career often starts with living a healthy lifestyle. With the right healthy habits, you can benefit not just your productivity and lessen your migraine days, but also increase your overall well-being and mental health.

Need help getting started? Track your healthy habits and keep yourself accountable, with the Arootah Habit Coach app.

Get actionable tips to help you energize and reprioritize self-care. Sign up for The Wellness Return newsletter today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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