When you get a migraine at home, you can turn off the lights, crawl under the covers and close your eyes until it goes away. But at work, you often have to deal with the pain until it’s time to go if you’re not able to leave the office early.
More than 90 percent of migraine sufferers say they cannot function well enough during a migraine attack. Still, it can be hard to explain to your boss why you can’t do anything. Migraine is an invisible disease that makes it impossible for anyone around you to see how much you are in pain.
Do you need to manage your work with a migraine? Try these nine tricks to make your days at the office bearable.
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Come clean with your boss
A migraine is not like a broken leg or the flu. Its symptoms are invisible.
One of the reasons migraines are so stigmatized is that no one can see your pain. It’s easy for others to write off migraine as a headache that isn’t a problem, which can make it a sticky topic to discuss at work.
Be honest with Human Resources (HR) and your manager so you don’t have to make excuses when you have a headache. If they don’t understand why the migraine is interfering with your work, ask your doctor to write a note explaining the migraine and how it can affect your performance.
A migraine can make it impossible to concentrate on your work. That’s why Americans lose 113 million workdays every year them.
Because migraines can be so disabling, you may qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Ask your HR representative if you can adjust your duties, shift your work hours, or occasionally work from home.
Have a plan
Be prepared in case you experience a migraine attack in the middle of the work day. Have someone on board to take over your workload. Also plan to get a ride home (perhaps by taxi or Uber) if you’re too sick to drive.
Stress is a major migraine trigger, and nothing can stress you out like a hectic day at work. Take a difficult boss and throw in some impossible deadlines and you have a recipe for a monster migraine.
Implement a stress relief system at work. Follow these tips:
- Hold for five minutes
- Breaks during the day for meditation, deep breathing, or a walk
- outside in the fresh air.
- Cut big projects
- into smaller pieces to make them more manageable.
- Don’t let grievances to boil. Discuss any issues you have with your manager, HR,or a support associate.
- If stress comes overwhelming, see a therapist or counselor for advice.
Control other launchers
Bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells can trigger a blinding migraine. If possible, minimize all launchers in your work environment.
- Dim the lights. Turn it down
- brightness on the computer monitor, install an anti-glare screen, and dim
- ceiling lights in your cubicle or office. If dimming is not possible
- If the lights are too bright, ask your office manager if you can switch
- to bulbs with a lower output.
- Turn down the volume. if you have
- an office, muting outside noises just by closing the door. For soundproofing and
- cubicle, ask your company if they can extend the walls up. Or add
- pieces of carpet for the walls. If all else fails, wear earplugs or use a
- white noise machine that drowns out loud sounds.
- Eliminate strong odors. Ask any co-workers
- who go heavy on perfume or cologne to get relief from the smells. Also,
- explain your sensitivity to the office manager so he can ask
- the cleaning crew to avoid using strong-smelling chemicals.
- Get more ergonomics. Place your
- computer monitor and chair to maximize your comfort and minimize
- eye strain. Poor posture can cause tension in your body and trigger migraine.
Find the escape room
- Find an open conference room or an unused office where you can lie down in the dark until your symptoms subside. Bring a blanket and pillow from home to make yourself more comfortable.
Get a support associate to help you when you have a migraine attack. Find someone you trust who will have your back. They can make sure your work gets done when you have to go home early.
8. Stock your office
Keep a migraine kit at work. Keep a drawer full of pain relievers, anti-nausea meds, cold packs, and anything else to help manage migraines.
Also, keep water and snacks handy to avoid dehydration and hunger, two big migraine triggers. Stock up on high-protein snacks to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
Take time off
If your migraines are so severe that you miss a lot of work, you may be eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Many people with conditions like migraine can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without losing their job or health insurance.
Migraine attacks can be debilitating, making it difficult to concentrate or accomplish anything at work. In many cases, you may need to pack up and go home to rest until it goes away. Or you can make the best of your environment and find ways to prepare for the worst. Doing so will make it easier to get through your migraine and your work day.