Peoria, Ill.,
13:31 PM

Health Highlights: Navigating breathing issues and self care

Fall outdoors

Fall can be seen as a reset period. From changes to our breathing and sleeping habits, to the way we take care of ourselves. 

It's also a grea ttime to try something new. And that doesn't just mean the newest pumpkin spice latte. But, that could be part of the equation!

The seven pillars are a great place to start when it comes to putting together a wellness routine. They are mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, recreational and social. 

It's important to make each pillar your own and try for as many pillars you can for your overall wellness. Many of these naturally intertwine. 

OSF HealthCare psychotherapist Sara Bennett says quieting your mind is a great way to boost mental health. 

“It’s really nice when things slow down and you can just cuddle up in front of a fire with a blanket and some hot chocolate,” Bennett says. “Just enjoy the slowness. Being able to quiet your mind is a really great aspect of self-care.”

Bennett says getting outside for a hike with friends can help with the recreational, environmental and physical pillars. While volunteering in your community can improve your social and spiritual health. 

The cooler fall breeze sweeping through the Midwest can be a welcome sight for some, but to those with severe breathing disorders, it can be a challenging time. 

Dr. Juanbosco Ayala, a pulmonologist with OSF HealthCare, says getting the flu vaccine is a great way to protect yourself. 

He says you need to keep an eye on your breathing habits and if they're changing with the cooler weather. 

“Especially people with asthma or patients with emphysema or COPD, we notice some of their symptoms may come to the forefront with this change in weather. Things such as cough, shortness of breath and wheezing are common symptoms that may unfold during this timeframe," Dr. Ayala says. 

Dr. Ayala adds if you have a persistent cough that won't go away, or a fever, chills and night sweats, it's important to see your doctor right away. 

For those who love to sleep with the windows open in the fall, Dr. Ayala says that's totally fine.

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