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Woman relaxes on sofa with a cup of tea, staying calm in the days after an asthma flare-up.

Why You Need to Be Kind to Yourself After an Asthma Flare-Up

Reading time | 3 mins
We can all make mistakes with our asthma management. Here's how Michelle Rivas eliminates guilt to heal faster from flare-ups.

Guilt, self-doubt, and negative self-talk are all too easy to fall into after an asthma flare-up. You might blame yourself for forgetting to take your medication, pushing your workout too hard, or ignoring your asthma triggers.

Being perfect and remembering everything all the time isn’t possible. It’s certainly not when you live with a chronic disease.

One of the many lessons I’ve learned when managing asthma over the years is to be kind to myself. I must recognise why an asthma attack happened so I can learn from it. It's also important to realise that mistakes do happen.

All you need to remember is that you have the power to change your mindset around asthma flare-ups. Here are some tips that might help you eliminate guilt and heal faster.

1. Let go of the guilt

I used to carry guilt with me for weeks. After a flare-up, I'd ask myself, "Why was this different than any other time?”

What would have happened if I'd taken my maintenance medication that morning? Or if I’d skipped that hard workout?

Those what-ifs will drive you crazy.

Instead, think about any choices that may have brought on your asthma flare-up. Recognise how you can do better next time. Then move on.

We're human; we misplace our phones and forget our keys. Life also gets in the way of managing asthma according to our plans. We’re only human.

2. Don’t be shy about avoiding triggers

I’m more likely to have an asthma attack when I’m near cats. I’m allergic, so I minimise the time I spend at the homes of people with feline friends. However, it’s not always easy to lay down the law and leave.

I used to push myself to stay, but then everyone feels bad when you have an asthma attack, and then you have to explain why it happened.

Friends and family want what’s best for you. They don’t want to see you in pain. So, let go of the guilt of telling them what you need and put your health first.

3. Adopt a mantra to feel in control

Having an asthma attack can be a terrifying experience. Losing control is one of the most problematic aspects of asthma for me.

I use a mantra to calm myself down and control the situation. Mantras help bring focus and peace of mind. It can be as easy as repeating, “Inhale the good, exhale the bad.” Try it sometime!

4. Recognise that self-care isn’t selfish

Sundays are my slow and lazy days. I stay in the house and away from asthma triggers. I also allow my body to reset after a long week of work, exercise, and travel.

Saying no to things you aren’t sure about doing is an excellent form of self-care. And self-care is more than a buzzword — it’s an integral part of managing asthma.

Everyone who lives with a chronic condition will benefit from rest. Show yourself some kindness and grace.

5. Remember, being kind to yourself is good for your health

A positive attitude can improve your health. Research suggests that positive thinking may lower depression risk, improve heart health, and help cope with stress.

Find a reason to focus on the glass being half-full after a flare-up. Changing your self-talk may turn negative thoughts into positive ones. Tell yourself that you’ll do better next time and that you're only human. Think about what you're grateful for and everything you do right.

Being kind to yourself will help you to reframe your asthma experience, so you feel more powerful. Learn to forgive yourself just as quickly as you’d forgive a friend if they made a mistake.

NPS-IE-NP-00677 January 2023