Stress Awareness Month

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Stress and Social Distancing: 4 Strategies From Stress Awareness Month for April 2020

2 minute read

April is Stress Awareness Month. And for 2020, it’s going to look a little different than previous years as the United States and the world deal with the stress and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, you may have found yourself asking: How can I protect my family? Will I lose my job? When will my kids get to go back to school? Will I be able to feed my family? Will I be able to get treatment if I get sick? When will we be able to socialize with friends and family again? When will this all end? How can I help?

These times are stressful, there’s no way around it. And while it’s natural to feel that stress, it’s also important to find a healthy, manageable way to approach your anxiety and uncertainty.

For Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together a few methods for combating stress and focusing on the things that truly matter.

4 Ways To Manage Stress

1. Stay active. You may think that with gyms closing and orders to stay home you have the perfect excuse to binge-watch Netflix shows for the next month. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, you could get a huge benefit from trading an hour or two on the couch for some physical activity.

Exercise is one of the best ways to get endorphins pumping through your brain, which helps relieve all the stress that’s piling up. And, thanks to fitness experts who know the importance of staying active, here is a list of several services offering free workouts during this time of isolation.

2. This will look different for everyone, but learning to incorporate some relaxation techniques into your daily rhythm can go a long way in reducing stress hormones.

Here are some ideas:

  • Meditate – There are lots of free resources online, or you can try an app like Calm or Headspace
  • Create – Draw, bake, start a DIY project
  • Diffuse some essential oils – Take the time to slow down and breathe deeply with essential oils like lavender or bergamot
  • Put your phone down/turn off all devices for an hour to quiet outside noise and the stress of the 24/7 news cycle

3. There are very few silver linings to what is happening around the world at this time. But if we can take a moment to find a bright side, it would be the age of connectivity that we’re living in. With Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Snapchat, Instagram, etc, there are lot of ways to connect with family and friends.

Try scheduling a family Hangout/Zoom every week to check in with each other; let your kids teach you a new TikTok dance; call an old friend that you’ve been meaning to catch up with. The point is, we as humans are made for relationships, and this time of social distancing doesn’t mean we have to be lonely.

4. That’s right. Just breathe. It’s easy to forget how important this is when you’re stressed out, but it’s the perfect, free way to take a break from the world.

At Aprilaire, we’ve identified decreased stress levels as one of the benefits of having healthy air in your home. This is more critical than ever, given the “safer at home” orders asking us to leave the house as little as possible. So when you make healthy air a priority at home, you can enjoy: better health for your family, better sleeping environments, increased energy efficiency, and less need for dusting and cleaning.

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mental health

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Mental Health and Poor Indoor Air Quality – Tips For Staying Healthy And Happy

3 minute read

We know that the air we breathe has an impact on the health of our lungs, but what about its effect on other areas of health? A 2017 study from the University of Washington found that living in areas with poor air quality increases your risk for psychological distress impacting your mental health.

Researchers found this to be true across socioeconomic and demographic lines, which can vary greatly in cities where the air is most often polluted. (Here’s a list of the most polluted cities in the U.S.)

When you add in the stress of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, (in which the common advice is to spend more time outdoors), it can be tough to feel at ease anywhere. And in areas with increasingly extreme wildfire seasons, the problem is compounded even more.

We know that poor air quality can lead to mental health issues, so what are some solutions that work towards better air quality and less stress?

How To Improve Air Quality Where You Live

Many cities in the western part of the United States are experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, with weeks of smoke-filled skies that can feel inescapable. And some factors indicate that the problem will only get worse in the years to come.

Poor air quality is also a common problem in places that experience smog, traffic fumes, and dust storms.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, here are some ways to improve the quality of the air inside despite what’s going on outside.

Keep The Windows Closed
This can be difficult to do as the temperatures go up, but keeping the windows closed is one of the best ones to avoid exposure to outdoor air. Most modern constructions are sealed well enough to let very little outdoor air inside, and even older builds will offer good protection.

Avoid Cooking And Cleaning
Try not to add more heat and particulates to the air in your space. Cooking and cleaning introduce humidity and VOCs, and when you can’t open the windows it can be difficult to ventilate properly during these activities. Go with takeout or delivery meals if those are options in your area, or try a recipe that doesn’t require an oven.

Use An Air Purifier
If you live in an area with recurring poor air quality, consider an Aprilaire whole-home purifier that actively filters the air in your home throughout the year. For occasional poor air quality, you can try out an Aprilaire portable air purifier that you can move to whatever area of your home you’re spending time in.

Reducing Stress When Stuck Inside

Poor air quality often makes it unsafe to leave your home. Add to that the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying inside day after day can be a stressful experience.

Here are some tips for relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mental health at home:

Accept that your environment is more stressful than usual and that it’s alright to not feel at your best or most productive.

Set boundaries between your work, play, and home activities. When all the areas are mixed into one, it can be difficult to ever truly “turn off” or concentrate on what’s in front of you.

If you’re in a stretch of poor air quality, take it easy until it’s safe to resume exercise and other outdoor activities. Here’s a chart showing the impact of exercising in wildfire smoke. Have a list of things you can do to pass the time safely indoors like reading, playing a game, or listening to music.

Create a routine that you can comfortably accomplish each day. This can involve wakeup time, meals, exercise (if it can be safely done), and reading or watching a favorite show.

Reach out to others for mutual support. It’s likely that your friends and family are feeling some of the same anxieties, and knowing that you’re not alone can help center your mindset.

air fryer recipes

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes: Fall Edition!

< 1 minute read

Bring on the delicious, decadent flavors of fall with some healthy air fryer recipes on your all-time favorites!

Whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, cooking with an air fryer can give you the crunch and flavor without all the oil of deep-frying or pan-frying.

Plus, frying with lots of oil can have a negative impact on the air quality in your home. Home-building expert Corbett Lunsford stresses the importance of proper ventilation in the kitchen to remove harmful volatile organic compounds that result from cooking.

To get your fall menu started, below are some of our favorite seasonal recipes to cook in an air fryer. And if you’re new to air frying, here’s a useful air fryer cooking chart with temperatures and times for preparing anything from fresh vegetables, to meat and seafood, to frozen foods.

Fall Air Fryer Main Dishes

Don’t sell your air fryer short when it comes to making a whole meal. It’s capable of a lot more than a crispy batch of fries.

Fall Air Fryer Sides

Take your side dishes to the next level with these healthy air fryer recipes that are the perfect complement to any fall meal.

Fall Air Fryer Desserts

Last but certainly not least, an air fryer can satisfy any sweet tooth with these crispy treats.

experiments

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs

 

 

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

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