ORIGINALLY POSTED: Jul 30, 2016 10:56 AM
I am prone to headaches on the regular. I get debilitating headaches that are painful like migraines. I feel nauseated and I keep pushing through because I can't take a nap while at work. I execute so many different coping skills to help reduce this pain in my life: guided meditation, taking breaks between sessions, exercise, massages, etc. and I STILL get frequent headaches. As a therapist, I know my body is trying to tell me something and I can't "kill the messenger" and get rid of the pain without listening to my body, but in moments of desperation, I have a few 'go-to's' that I resort to, especially at work:
1. Tapping. This is can be an EMDR self-soothing technique. I slowly tap on alternating sides while taking deep breaths (This is something you should discuss with your EMDR therapist before trying on your own...).
2. Essential oils. Breathe is my favorite for everything, especially headaches. I am like the dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding with the Windex when it comes to breathe. (See my previous post).
3. I take something like Motrin or Excedrin. These are at your own risk, but sometimes works for me.
And I drink LOTS of water as I live in Arizona and often wonder if I am dehydrated.
Okay, so back to this message my body is trying to tell me by giving me a headache... I recently went on a vacation where I realized I did not have a headache the ENTIRE time I was gone. I was reflecting on my activities; I drank water, not sure if it was enough but did not feel dehydrated... I didn't eat the healthiest, I tend to cut myself some slack while I am on vaca... and I did not exercise as much as I usually do. All of this being said, my hypothesis is my headaches are stress related. #duh. You don't have to be a doctor to tell me this "new" information. But this revelation has caused some deeper reflection which I am often guilty of, "I NEED MORE SELF-CARE." I know this, but here is the evidence in black and white.
My mission is take more days off and DO NOTHING. I work a 6 day work week, I have for the past few years. I enjoy what I do and can't get enough of it, but my body is tired and telling me I need a break. I returned to work after my 4 day "long" vacation and did not have a headache on my first day back! This is something. I also plan to not work on those days off, I will take off of one job and work at the other - NO MORE OF THIS. A trusted colleague suggested I take a "mental health day" at least once a month. It's happening. I think this will help with any possible burnout because I want to be able to do this type of work for a very long time and do not want to tap out. I plan to post a follow up to this as I want to keep myself accountable.
I challenge you to take better care of yourself and make more time for you.