I am a mother of two young boys and I work as a blogger and social influencer. Running my own business and chasing after my kids can be overwhelming – and adding asthma to the equation can be absolutely exhausting.
When my asthma skyrockets, I feel completely drained. However, I still have responsibilities in real life, even though all I want to do is go to bed and sleep until my asthma symptoms clear up. The problem is that sometimes my asthma lasts for weeks or even months. I will have a constant annoying cough that irritates my airways and takes all my energy. I’ll be honest: some days are really tough. It can be difficult to go through a day where everything hits at the same time.
I didn’t understand everything, but over the years I learned more and more about the balance between my family, my career and my asthma. It’s not easy, but there are ways to ease your burden and take care of yourself.
1. Be consistent and proactive
When you’re in the middle of a workday or the kids are running around, it’s really hard to know how to take care of yourself on top of everything else. That’s why it’s essential to do everything I can to prevent a flare-up. I always get plenty of vitamin C to ward off colds, which can lead to an asthma flare-up. And I have committed to using my daily inhaler so that I am not dependent on my rescue inhaler. It’s also helpful to know when my asthma is getting worse so I can be proactive and take extra steps to minimize symptoms, like avoiding triggers and reducing my workload.
Finding an asthma treatment that works for you is important, but it’s something I’ve struggled with at times. When my cough is particularly strong, my rescue inhaler doesn’t always help, so I’ve even done nebulizer treatments – these ensure the medicine gets deep into my lungs. You are not alone in managing your asthma and it is important to ask your doctor for help if you need it.
2. Set up an environment that suits you
Before having my first child, I worked in an office, which was extremely difficult. The air conditioning system triggered my asthmatic cough because any extreme temperature change can affect my asthma. I made sure to take my rescue inhaler with me everywhere and tried not to go inside and then outside very often so that the air I was breathing remained constant.
Now I work from home, which has its pros and cons. I can make my environment comfortable for me so that my asthma symptoms are not irritated. I noticed that window air conditioners increased my asthma symptoms so I installed a fan in my living room and luckily we now have central air conditioning which makes a big difference.
Working from home with young children can be the toughest job in the world. It can be hard to focus on work while keeping an eye on my kids and making sure they get what they need. Just when I start doing certain things, my one-year-old wraps around my legs and starts crying, or I realize it’s time for lunch. I’ve found that taking breaks throughout the day can help, especially when you’re dealing with bad asthma symptoms. When my asthma starts to get worse, I’ll feel like I can barely function and everything hits me at once. If I try to move on, it’s usually even worse. I try to take breaks as much as possible and break down big tasks into smaller achievable chunks.
I also learned to be flexible with schedules. When I’ve had a bad day, I try to fall asleep when the kids do to help me feel refreshed the next morning. Other days I stay up later if I need to so I can do things uninterrupted. And sometimes I take a day off if I feel exhausted and need time to recharge and refocus.
4. Take the time to take care of yourself
Prioritizing self-care on a regular basis is a must, especially when you have a flare-up of asthma symptoms. I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it and take time to relax whenever I can.
Meditation is a great help to me when I’m overwhelmed with all the family and work responsibilities, and my asthma makes things even more difficult. When I feel panicked, meditation centers me and helps me focus on the present moment so that I feel calmer and able to face whatever is thrown at me. Additionally, the slow, steady breathing in meditation also helps me calm my asthma symptoms. Meditating regularly has given me a healthy and positive mindset, which can help on so many levels when it comes to dealing with kids, work, and asthma. Starting from a quiet place when things are chaotic makes me a better mother and a better person.
It may take some time to find what works for you, but there are plenty of ways to balance your home and work life, even when your asthma makes it harder for you.