Last updated: December 18. 2013 7:29PM - 707 Views
By Breck Hapner

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Sometimes the best remedy for something is to just breathe. Find a quiet spot, focus on a beautiful image and just inhale and exhale. Perhaps that is why I put up my Christmas tree every year. It is a familiar beautiful object that makes me sit and relax.

The memories that hang on the artificial branches hang on my heart also. Each ornament reminds me of a person or place or thing that remains special. The decorated tree helps me to focus on enjoying the season.

As a Christian, the manger scene reminds me of peace. Without Christ in Christmas, Christmas is just a mess. Placing the baby Jesus in the center of the crèche is the official start of the season for me. The ceramic figure helps me to focus and just breathe.

Those with respiratory allergies are miserable during this holiday. Breathing becomes difficult with different smells, more particles in the air, temperature changes and germs from other people. Telling them to breathe through their nose is like asking them to walk through a brick wall.

But breathing is important. Fresh oxygen supplies the brain with what it needs to function. Every organ in the body depends upon the act of inhaling and exhaling. The main function of the nose is to supply fresh air to the other parts.

Inside of the nose are tiny hairs that act as a filter for the irritants that could make breathing difficult. Just as your furnace filter traps dust and lint and pet hair from entering the furnace machinery; the nose hairs collects unwanted debris before it reeks havoc in your sinuses.

If a stuffy nose is making it difficult to breathe this holiday season it is time to do some body maintenance. Breathing is so important to keeping the body functioning but most of all for relaxation. Stress control is vital at Christmas. Inhaling and exhaling while focusing on a meaningful object of the season can reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure, center the thought processes and even lower blood sugars.

Water is the most important nutrient in breathing. Staying hydrated with at least 8 glasses of fluid daily is the minimum during the winter months.

Using a nose spray of salt water, sometimes called saline solution, cleans the gunk, dust, dander, otherwise known as boogers out of the nasal cavity. A daily double squirt in each nostril will power wash the irritants from the sinuses making breathing easier.

Do not use other nasal sprays without talking to your doctor first. Some of them can make breathing more difficult for some people. Saline spray is just plain water with a little salt in it. Cleaning the inside of the nose is the first step in breathing easier.

Sit down this season, concentrate on something beautiful, and breathe. Merry Christmas to my readers.

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at bobbie.randall@aultmanorrville.org or 330-684-4776.

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