Meet Byrdie columnist, Juhi. She’s a wellness and health guru, acupuncturist, Ayurvedic doctor, activist, CEO and founder of The Juhi-Ash Center in New York City’s Upper East Side. Each month, she’ll be answering your questions and sharing her tips on how to live a healthier, more centered life from a holistic perspective. Got questions? Follow her @juhi says and DM us @byrdiebeauty so she can answer them in her next column.
Oh, let’s just call it what it is... the working-from-home-tension-headache. Most likely working from home has proven not to be exactly the delightful fantasy you once imagined. Your kitchen table has not instantly morphed into your well-organized office and the household buzz is distinctly different than the water-cooler-chatter. Most likely you’re finding that working from home means you never leave the office or the computer screen. It glows at you to produce work, to share work, maybe even to seek more work. It glows to fill your cart for Amazon deliveries and to untangle the physics formula with your now home-schooled child. Hello, headache. I don’t want to add to the glare affect, so let’s keep this a short, sweet list of suggestions to address existing tension—or better yet, to develop habits to prevent the tension. Prevention is like climbing the success ladder: one rung at a time until you’re the boss.
Open your eyes and start your day off with a moment of gratitude counting. Number one, you’re working from home. That means you’re employed. Buddha, bless. Now continue the counting. The list will make you greet your day with a smile. Okay, now stretch out. Try to touch the ends of the mattress with your arms and legs. Move the dog or the mate first so your pleasure does not interfere with theirs. If you’re alone in a California King, which may not always seem like a blessing but in this case definitely is, good luck. Now slide down to one end, comfortably stretch out and hang your head off the side. That’ll get the blood pumping to your brain cells. I hope you’re sleeping on a grounding mat—I’d recommend the one from InnerSpace. Okay, now ready for your day?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Let me suggest you pour yourself a glass of H2O before we continue. In fact, make it the first thing you drink each morning. And make sure to drink two cups of H2O for every cup of caffeine throughout the day (though I do hope you’re not existing on caffeine—too much of it depletes your immune system). A weakened immune system is an inner-office memo between stress and infections. I know, you’re worried about withdrawal headaches. Not to worry—water will help with that too. Water is the simplest way to prevent a tension headache or ease one that’s already reared its ugly head. As long as you’re pouring water, take your supplements with it. I recommend my line, Pure Essentials—it's powerful immune-boosting combination of buffered vitamin C, quercetin, vitamin D3, oregano oil and zinc. Pure Essentials supplements are nutraceuticals—medical grade vitamins that are not heat-fused, without fillers and NON GMO. They have 96% bioavailability, versus the 6% in your average shelf brands.
Create a New "Commute"
Take the amount of time your commute use to take and put it to good use. Was it a 15 minute walk? Okay, now use that time for a nice long aromatherapy bath. 20 minute walk? Fantastic—it takes five extra minutes to peel back the sticky tape from a Tiger Balm patch and apply it to your neck after you towel off. 30 minute subway ride? That’s a half hour bike ride. Or perhaps you’re a golfer. I know, the greens are closed but you still have the golf balls, don’t you? Place one between your back and the wall and roll until every muscle sighs. Up, down, side-to-side or circular—there’s no wrong way to do this. You can add simultaneous squats and roll. Now you’re multitasking, just like being in the office. Were you blessed with a 45-minute drive? Now you do one of the above, plus fry your own eggs, doused or sprinkled with hot sauce to boost your immunity. (I’m a heavy-douser—love it.) Did you do an hour on the bus? Do yoga now instead—just don’t start with a headstand if you’re new to it. Maybe split the hour with a foam roller, a handheld massager or a meditation chair. Maybe just read a book with pages that don’t glare at you. Speaking of pages, maybe journaling? There’s a lot going on now you might want to get out.
I do know some people who’s commute was two-hours each way, door-to-door. What once seemed a burden is now like winning the office pool. Do you see how your perspective can shift? I call it, Mind Matters.
Schedule Your Stretches
Every hour spent on your computer earns you five minutes of stretching. Where? Where your body tells you to slowly. The quick prize-fighter-head-roll only gives you a momentary rush of adrenaline-confidence. That’s useful only if you’re entering the ring or I suppose clicking into a Zoom conference. Your shoulders instinctually tighten and raise towards your earlobes when stress hits. The tension headache occurs when they remain in that position. Use your body's warning signals to heal. Schedule the shrug. When you feel your shoulders practically at your temples, hold them there for two seconds longer, squeeze them like you’re a walnut cracker then drop 'em hard. Do it several more times. Raise, squeeze and drop hard. Repeat until you’re relaxed enough to ink this move into your daily routine.
Take a Break
Headaches feed on crashing blood sugar. Schedule a date with yourself for lunch. Or tuck into twenty-minute power nap.
In acupressure, there are three spots to concentrate on for stress reduction. Tai Yang is located in the temple hollows. Yin Tang is the point located just above the inner edges of the eyebrows. And LI 4 (contraindicated in pregnancy) is the flesh between your thumb and forefinger. Massaging each of these points with slight pressure for a few minutes throughout the day is one of the best stress preventative and easing measures.
Let Yourself Rest
Even if you have devoted this pause to strengthening yourself and your relationships, that tiny little muscle you didn’t even know existed will occasionally twitch and tighten. The subtle soreness at the base of your neck, without warning, will pierce your skull. Congratulations, you’re human. Please keep your self-care-schedule in indelible ink. Develop a nightly routine to prepare for sleep. You’ve earned it. I want you to be at your strongest when the office water cooler is once again an option. Be well.