Rhonda’s Tension Headache Cure

December 4, 2012 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

Poor Rhonda! She came to me a few years ago, complaining of headaches and overwhelming anxiety. And no wonder — her husband, Ben, had passed away only a few months earlier. Despite that, her three children, their spouses, and their kids had decided Mom needed company for the holidays. So all eleven of them were going to descend on her and her small condo for a weeklong stay. Understandably, Rhonda was a wreck.

Rhonda wanted a remedy for her tension headaches and insomnia, which was easy compared to making recommendations for her sanity while her family was in town.

“Not only is the house going to be awfully crowded, but I’ll have to feed them, and Ben always did the cooking. He made the best pie crusts, and his roasts just melted in your mouth,” she told me, fighting to hold back the tears. “I can’t do any of that. I don’t know how I’ll get through this.”

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Over the years, I’ve found that the only way to enjoy get-togethers like this is to spread around the responsibilities. So I suggested Rhonda assign each of her children a couple days of kitchen duty, when they would be in charge of meals. On Rhonda’s days, I recommended she order meals from the local health-food store, where organic meats and side dishes were available. “You shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every day, Rhonda, and spend hours in the kitchen,” I told her. “Enjoy yourself, and let someone else do the work.”

A few weeks later, Rhonda gave me a glowing post-holiday report. “The health-food store saved my life,” she said. “I wasn’t so sure about farming out all the cooking, but it actually saved my life. I called ahead and planned everything with the deli manager, so there were no problems with their running out of anything. And they even delivered the food, which was delicious! But the best part was that I could spend time with my kids and grandchildren instead of in the kitchen. There was a time when I would have had a total meltdown over having eleven guests for a week. But not now. Life is short, and if taking shortcuts means I get to enjoy it more, then that’s just fine with me.”

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