A Little Jar of Motivation Helped Me Manage My Asthma
For over two years my severe, persistent asthma was very poorly controlled. I was receiving two allergy shots a week, taking two daily controller medications and over-using my rescue inhaler (I know many of you can relate). My entire life seemed to revolve around doctor and allergy clinic visits, inconvenient medication schedules, recording daily symptoms in multiple apps...and let's not forget the large financial and time commitment required to manage it all.
It was exhausting, and it felt like my asthma and overall health would never improve.
Not being able to control my asthma not only affected me personally but professionally as well. As a certified asthma educator, I spend my days teaching those living with asthma that even though there’s no cure for our disease, it can be managed. I gave daily pep talks on how asthmatics can exercise and should be physically active, while I myself could not even climb a flight of stairs without using my inhaler. I felt like a fraud.
How was I supposed to encourage others to manage their asthma when I was struggling myself?
I had to find a way to focus on all the reasons why I wanted to better control my asthma, and stop focusing on how hard it seemed to be. So, I created a "Motivation Jar."
I took small pieces of pretty note paper and wrote one reason why managing my asthma was important to me on each piece. Some of my reasons included:
- Wanting to reduce medications
- Ability to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for air
- Participate in a charity 5k with friends
- Lower my medical bills
- Adopt a dog
- Show the patients I educate it can be done!
- Because my loved ones worry about me
I folded each piece of note paper and placed it in a mason jar on my desk. Whenever I felt like I was too exhausted to take my medication or get another allergy shot, I went to the jar and pulled out a motivational note. When I was too lazy to take walk to keep my weight down, I pulled out a motivational note. I read them to myself out loud. Reading the reasons why I wanted to feel better was a great reminder to keep working at it, and an easy way to stay motivated.
Within a few months, I started to see real results. My breathing was improving, I reduced my medications and actually lost a few pounds, too. I started adding notes to the jar that listed small successes to remind myself how far I'd come.
I love my motivation jar so much I now have one for saving money along with a happiness jar, where I write down the best thing that happened to me each day. I even have jar buddies; we decorate and fill our jars together and text or call each other daily to share the motivational notes we pulled from the jar.
My motivation jars have really helped to keep me on track and reach my goals. How do you stay motivated to reach your asthma management goals?
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?