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.
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!
- 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.