self-care

Healthy Clean Air |

Take a Deep Breath: Stress, Air, and Self-Care

3 minute read

2020 had us breathing through masks, standing at a distance, and worrying about the states of our environments. Overcoming all of these new stressors is a daunting task, and it might seem too overwhelming. But starting fresh is easy when you take it one step at a time! Self-care, including mindful breathing techniques, can greatly reduce stress and help us feel grounded and in control after a year of uncertainty.

Self-Care and Stress

Experiencing stress is very common for most people; it probably happens multiple times a day. While this is normal, letting stress go unchecked for too long can have an impact on mental and physical health, affecting virtually every system in the body.

One of the easiest ways to combat stress at any time of the day is by practicing self-care. In essence, self-care is taking time to focus on you. Just as we take time to care for others when they are sick or feeling down, we must also take time for ourselves in order to avoid feeling down, burnt out, or fatigued! The beauty of self-care is it could be something like a spa day or a vacation, but it could also be something as simple as going outside for five minutes on a nice day or making yourself a hot cup of tea with honey. Self-care is completely personal to you. It can be anything you want as long as it helps you to relax!

The best way to pick a self-care strategy is to decide what you need at that moment. For instance, are you feeling lonely and secluded? Call up a close friend or family member. Maybe you feel tense and overworked, in which case going outside for a walk or run could do wonders. The possibilities of self-care are endless, and it’s up to you to decide what will help ease your stress.

Mindful Breathing

One of the most powerful self-care techniques is engaging in breathing exercises. Often referred to as “mindful breathing,” maintaining focus on one’s breath, even for just one minute, can help to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. By forcing awareness of our breathing, we direct our brains to focus on something consistent and steady rather than anxious thoughts or feelings we may be having. An article in Health Science Journal® outlines some potential benefits of mindful breathing, such as:

  • Decreased fatigue
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Better stress management

Imagine reaping these kinds of benefits just by doing something we all do every day! All you need to do is take time to focus on it.

There are a number of guided breathing exercises you can follow to feel immediate relief from stress and anxiety. Here’s a breathing exercise for stress that you can try right now!

Belly Breathing

  • Get in a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.
  • Place one hand on your belly, just below your ribs, and your other hand on your chest.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, expanding your belly. You should let your belly push your hand out, and your chest should not move.
  • Breathe out with your lips pursed like you are whistling. Use the hand on your belly to gently push all of the air out.
  • You can repeat as desired, making sure to take your time with each breath.

Healthy Clean Air

Deep, mindful breathing is no doubt beneficial to our mental and physical health, but what’s even more crucial is that we know the air we are breathing is clean. Research has shown that personal health and wellness can be directly linked to a healthy and clean environment.

We know the benefits of breathing are tremendous, but what about the benefits of breathing Healthy Clean Air?

Benefits of Healthy Clean Air

Aprilaire’s whole-home fresh air ventilation and air filtration systems are designed to bring you these incredible benefits:

  • Provides effective virus protection within your home
  • Alleviates allergy symptoms
  • Improves focus when you are learning and working from home
  • Improves quality of sleep

When you take care of yourself, you can combat stress and breathe easier. Make Aprilaire part of your self-care plan and ensure that your home is filled with Healthy Clean Air. Contact one of our Healthy Air Pros to start fresh and stress less about the air you breathe.

It’s Time to Start Fresh
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Healthy Clean Air |

Starting Fresh: How to Take Control of Your Life

2 minute read

There’s no season quite like spring for a fresh start. And after the year we’ve had, and the uncertain times we’ve all shared, it feels like we’ve earned this spring.

The signs are promising, too. As lockdowns lift and vaccinations roll out, many are feeling more optimistic. Things are starting to feel a bit more certain with health and wellness being a top priority. Just look at some of the ways that people are starting fresh and taking control of their lives right now.

Activities for Starting Fresh and Taking Control

Focusing on Well-Being

From prioritizing sleep and healthy eating to meditation breaks, people are focusing on what makes them feel nourished. “Now more than ever, practicing self-care is essential when it comes to taking care of our emotional health and well-being,” says Christine Carter, Ph.D., sociologist, and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California in Berkeley.

Setting new goals, personally and professionally

Maybe you and your family have started an outdoor fitness challenge. Or you’re taking some online courses to add to your resume skills. Setting attainable goals helps keep your eye on the prize and makes you more likely to succeed.

Discovering a new hobby

Just like opening the windows on a sunny spring day, hobbies can open up your world. Learning a new topic, experiencing different perspectives, and meeting more people can all have a positive, empowering effect on the quality of life.

Spring cleaning

The tradition of spring cleaning dates back for centuries and is a cornerstone of many cultures. And with good reason. A deep clean of surfaces throughout your home, including carpet, flooring, walls, windows, and screens, will have everyone breathing easier.

Starting fresh with Healthy Clean Air

Air quality plays a key role in your family’s overall wellness. Reducing viruses, bacteria, and allergens–­particularly high during springtime–will improve your Indoor Air Quality. From fresh air ventilation to air filtration and filters, Aprilaire products can offer these valuable benefits:

  • Provides effective virus protection – an Aprilaire MERV 16 air filter can capture up to 96% of virus-sized particles passing through the filtering system
  • Alleviates allergies – 24/7/365 protection against airborne allergens including dust, pollen, dirt, and pet dander
  • Increases focus – important right now as more people are currently working or learning from home, and will continue to be of utmost importance once people begin their return to offices and schools
  • Improves sleep – critical for strengthening the immune system and lowering stress levels

Ready to take control and give your home a fresh start this spring? Trust with certainty that your home is protected from viruses and allergens with Aprilaire. Contact one of our local Healthy Air Pros today.

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Healthy Clean Air |

Starting Fresh: 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Home a Safe Haven

2 minute read

Time for a deep breath. It’s been over a year since we began spending most of our time at home. Home is now where we work, learn, play, exercise, relax, and simply be. More than ever, it’s become our safe haven, a protective space from the outside world, allowing us to remain healthy at home.

Here are 5 simple ways to add a little more calm, a little more joy, and a little more freshness into our homes right now.

How To Make Your Home A Safe Haven

1. Set some boundaries

With home now being a multi-use space by all members of the family, it’s helpful for everyone to designate spaces for office work, schooling, and decompressing. We all need some time off – being able to leave the day behind and unwind in a quiet zone can benefit the whole family.

2. Cut the clutter

The stuff of everyday living can really pile up, especially when our homes are doing triple or quadruple duty. According to the Mayo Clinic, clutter can lead to more stress and anxiety. In fact, when people describe their spaces as “disorganized,” they’re more likely to have higher levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress response. Setting aside just 15 minutes at the end of each day to declutter can help calm your mind and relax your body.

3. Let there be (the right) light

The right lighting at the right time can impact your productivity and mood. A bright, well-lit workspace will boost motivation and alertness, while warm, low lighting creates a sense of comfort and relaxation. Now is a good time to assess your lighting to enhance your space and meet your family’s needs. Be especially mindful of the blue light emitted from cell phones, tablets, TVs, and gaming systems, as overexposure at night can disrupt sleep cycles.

4. Grow some green

Houseplants have become quite the trending pandemic topic as many of us fill our homes with flora! On the flip side, there’s plenty of research supporting their positive effects on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, from lifting your mood and increasing concentration to creating a more peaceful environment by absorbing sounds.

5. Breathe Healthy Clean Air

Maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important way to protect your family and your home. Removing airborne viruses and contaminants from the air can not only reduce illnesses and allergies – it can also increase overall wellness, promoting better sleep, lowering stress levels, and improving mental health.

Keep your home a safe haven with products specifically designed to deliver Healthy Clean Air, like Aprilaire fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and air purification systems. They’ll help your family breathe easier and give you peace of mind. Contact one of our local Aprilaire Healthy Air Pros today to get started.

It’s Time to Start Fresh
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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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AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer