According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), approximately 25 million Americans have asthma. I’m one of them. While symptoms and management plans vary from person to person, I’d like to imagine that one thing remains the same: we all want to see the best version of ourselves with the disease.
Not only does it take time to learn what works for you, but it also takes persistence. For me, asthma has been something I manage in several ways: with proper treatment provided by my doctor, a balanced diet, and regular exercise. While these methods are common and effective, it helps to have others along with you for the journey – whether that’s friends or family, or simply someone or something that inspires you.
Over the years I’ve been able to improve my asthma care and I’ve also taken my overall health and wellness to greater heights. While doing the very best I can, it often helps to see others living their best, healthiest lives (with or without asthma), or simply striving for more when it comes to overall wellness.
These four people I follow inspire me to live my best life with asthma.
I started following Michael Pollan a few years ago after I watched a documentary that he appeared in called “Food, Inc.”
The film changed my perspective on food and where it comes from. After that, I sought out some of the documentaries Pollan produced and bought many of his books.
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” is advice he gave in his book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.” It has become one of the pillars of how I approach and consume food. It’s helped me navigate the grocery store and even dinner outings.
He treats food with respect and encourages you to listen to your body, especially if it doesn’t agree with a decision you made.
Thinking more deeply about the food I consume has also helped me be more mindful in other areas of life — including how I manage my asthma.
I’ve asked myself: Can I keep going during a workout, or is it better to rest for 15 seconds?
It’s a judgement call but an important one since overdoing it could worsen my symptoms or put me at risk for an attack. Taking the time to check in with my body and listen to what it’s telling me has been a huge part of my asthma care.
I’d recommend checking out his work. It’s given me a different perspective on food and wellness. It’s helped me make the best lifestyle decisions while improving asthma’s effect on my life.
When I’m not reading Pollan’s books, I’m likely listening to one of Christy Harrison’s podcasts or reading her latest newsletter. She believes in health at every size and intuitive eating, all of which has helped me feel better about my food decisions.
Not only is she realistic about food and what it can do for you, but she’s also found other body- positive influencers to include in her podcast series.
Many of them are healthcare professionals, bloggers, and chronic-illness warriors. The podcasts cover a broad range of topics, from living with health conditions to current events and how the news affects our health.
It’s truly food for thought. Body positivity and the concepts that Christy believes in have helped me put more faith into my body’s capabilities.
While asthma is a factor I have to consider, I’ve learned to give myself room to breathe, pushing through invisible barriers. I’ve also learned to trust myself to know when something is wrong, but more importantly, when something feels right.
There are so many people to follow on social media, but I’ve made it a point to follow those who inspire me or make me laugh. Will Smith is an incredibly talented actor who uses his various platforms to do the former.
By posting thought-provoking videos and being vulnerable about his own struggles, hopes, dreams, and fears, he’s become a strong presence in the wellness space.
He’s been incredibly open with his Bucket List series. It’s comical, but it also shows real moments of growth for him, which is inspiring.
Will showing his vulnerabilities and sharing what he’s learned has given me more perspective on what it means to use what you have and to lean into your true self, which involves self-acceptance.
When it comes to living with asthma, it’s easy to want to hide and present the best version of yourself — whatever that looks like for you. But what if you stopped hiding? That’s something I’ve tried to improve in the last few years.
That’s included using my inhaler out in the open or speaking up when I’m experiencing symptoms. Managing your asthma symptoms is important, but you need other tools to help you when the unexpected happens.
I’ve only recently started following Jay, but I love his message. He’s constantly posting positive content that resonates with me. His videos also make me stop and think about how I’m treating myself, ultimately revealing what’s important.
Am I being kind to myself? Am I being gentle with myself? His message is one of love, patience, discipline, and honesty. These are all things that have served me well in managing my asthma and overall health. A lot of the work he engages in helps me keep things in perspective.
Sometimes having asthma can be discouraging, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s an opportunity to dig deeper, get creative about what works for you, and find the silver lining. Your perspective can either propel you forward or hold you back.
Taking care of yourself when you’re living with asthma is important because this disease can affect other areas of your life. It’s about finding those small heroic moments when you feel your best and repeating them over and over again.
Trust me, consistency can have a huge impact on your health. Finding your routine and your motivation can be key to managing this disease.
For more information on how to manage asthma, reach out to your doctor or healthcare team.
RESP-US-NP-00113 JULY 2019