by: Katelynn Jones, LPC
I sure do. Trees, grasses, flowering plants….all of them bring about allergy reactions. For those of you who also experience allergy symptoms let’s share for a moment.
Itchy, sandpaper feeling eyes, runny nose, chest congestion, scratchy throat, and the dreaded sinus pressure. Most everyone I know experiences allergy symptoms to one degree or another; some have mild experiences and some progress to full blown sinus infections. Unfortunately, allergy seasons come around every year. The doctors prepare us and phone apps tell us the pollen count and allergy impact, still we have no choice but to load up on medications, keep the windows shut, and maybe wear a mask!
As soon as the symptoms start, we all run to the pharmacy for a decongestant, a nasal spray, an antihistamine, and for some of us, we call our local allergist for the upgraded medications or our allergy shots! None of us hesitate to utilize these over the counter and prescribed tools; we recognize their importance the moment we sneeze, cough, scratch our eyes, or feel the nasal pressure. We do not hesitate to take care of ourselves and find symptom relief.
But why is it that we are so quick to use our allergy medications, but we are so slow to use our other self care strategies? Why will we take our nasal sprays and decongestants, but we will not take a physical or mental break? Drinking water, taking a walk, stretching, deep breathing, coloring, playing a game, reading, spending time with a friend or family member, watching a movie, eating a healthy snack or meal, running, doing yoga, or laughing are all simple and usually free ways to take a moment to relax, to take a break, to be mindful, to enjoy a moment of time in distraction from the stressors of life. Just as we benefit from our allergy medications, our minds and bodies can strongly benefit from taking a few moments to care for our mental and physical selves.
It is ok if this time is only five minutes, it is ok if this does not solve all of life’s problems, it is ok if this seems menial or unimportant. The truth is that while this is short and simple it can be a powerful moment in the otherwise chaos that sometimes (and often) is life.
I want to encourage everyone this allergy season to take a moment while that antihistamine takes effect to drink a glass of water, color a picture, stretch at work, take that evening walk, smile at a stranger, and to take a moment to enjoy a deep breath.