As you well know, migraine attacks don’t usually happen at the most convenient times. They seem to only occur when you absolutely have to function. And it can be even more difficult when you have to go to work 5 days a week.
How do you deal with migraine and still have a positive work experience?
I know this may seem like a daunting task. As someone with migraine, I can truly relate. It’s hard enough to deal with my migraine symptoms at home, let alone holding down a job while dealing with my migraine symptoms!
Below you will find some of my straightforward suggestions on how to deal with your job, while being a person with migraine.
The most important advice I can give you is to speak openly and honestly with your boss and your colleagues about migraine.
Being upfront about your migraine can go a long way toward getting the support you need in the workplace. You may think that you won’t get migraine attacks often. But chances are, sooner or later, you’ll get one. Therefore, you will want to let your coworkers know that this is a condition that you are dealing with and will need their understanding and even their help at times.
I have found that when I snack and stay hydrated throughout the workday, it goes a long way to help me keep migraine attacks at bay.
Everybody needs fuel, such as water and nutrients to keep plugging along. It may seem like a no-brainer, but quite often this is one of the last things on my mind when I am working. Staying hydrated and having something in my belly can go a long way toward keeping me away from an awkward workday migraine attack.
I make sure to take scheduled breaks every couple hours just to break up my day and keep my eyes off my monitor.
Just as snacks and water can help those who have migraine, so can scheduling breaks. I work on my computer 6-8 hours every day. In addition to helping prevent a migraine attack, taking a break helps me stay focused.
I try to work on my laptop for no more than 2-3 hours before taking a break. It doesn’t have to even be a long break. Just 5-10 minutes can help. Take a walk. Go to the restroom. Even stand up and stretch at your desk.
This will break up your day, and may help prevent migraine and make you feel better overall.
It also makes sense that while working indoors, a person with migraine would want to make sure that the lighting is not too bright or too severe. That also goes for sunlight from an open window.
For me, too much light can be a migraine trigger. I learned this the hard way. Now, I always wear sunglasses when outdoors and I even wear shaded glasses when indoors.
If you have already discussed your migraine condition with people in your workplace, you might be able to request a seat where lighting is less of an issue.
If you often work in front of a computer monitor, ask your employer to invest in a screen protector to help minimize the glare.
What else might help?
Once you are comfortable communicating your migraine, you can begin to change even more aspects of your work environment. Ask your employer about setting up an ergonomic desk and chair.
Things like screen protectors and ergonomic furniture can help other workers in your office, so your employer may be willing to invest in them.
So, there you have it. 5 ways to make your work environment work better for you. You can’t predict if or when you will get a migraine attack. But, with better communication, a better workday plan, and more comfort, you can at least make your workplace more “migraine-friendly.” For some, this can make a difference.
Janine H. is a real migraine patient. She has been compensated for her time.