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5 Easy, Effective Healing Practices When It’s Smoky Outside

Because of the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, I want to share 5 healing practices that will keep you healthy and happy when it’s smoky outside.Inhaling fresh air is something we take for granted until we’re surrounded by smoke-filled skies. Then we just want relief! Here in the Pacific Northwest, summer wildfires are becoming all too common. The smoky haze is overwhelming, as days turn into weeks. It wears down not only our physical health but also our mental and emotional well-being. And it can worsen respiratory issues or other health conditions.

Whether it’s due to wildfires, pollution, or other environmental factors, we need to know how to prepare and cope when it’s smoky outside. It’s always important to be gentle with yourself and prioritize self-care, but this is especially true when smoke is in the air.

Let’s explore five practical strategies to purify the air you breathe and restore balance to your life. Whether you’re seeking relief from respiratory issues, soothing your anxious mind, or simply a way to cope with the discomfort, these healing practices will offer you a breath of fresh air.

5 healing practices that will keep you healthy and happy when it’s smoky outside

1. Reduce your exposure to smoke inhalation.

Take the dangers of smoke inhalation seriously.

  • Stay indoors as much as possible with windows and doors closed. 
  • Use weather stripping or draft stoppers to seal any gaps.
  • Run an air purifier if you have one.
  • Wear an N95 mask if you must go outside for necessities.
  • Limit exercise to indoors or light activity. Avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.

2. Get good at deep breathing.

A life-long practice of deep breathing exercises expands lung capacity and enhances respiratory function. They also help reduce stress and promote relaxation. 

  • Once smoke is in the air, try alternate nostril breathing to open your airways. 
  • Essential oils can help open up your nasal passages, as well as, purify the air in your home, creating a refreshing and clean environment. If you want to speak with a local clinical aromatherapist, I can recommend Caryn over at Essential 3. Here are some ways to use essential oils…
    • Enjoy steam inhalation (a warm shower or bowl of steaming water) with mint, eucalyptus, or tea tree essential oils to open passages.
    • Lie down with a warm compress dipped in aromatic water draped loosely over your nose and mouth.
    • Massaging sinuses and lymph nodes with lotion and a few drops of essential oils. (Never apply oils straight to your skin.)
    • Spritzing hydrating facial mists.

3. Stay hydrated and eat antioxidant-rich foods.

Do all you can to support your body’s natural detoxification process.

  • Drink lots of water to keep mucous membranes moist.
  • Try throat-soothing teas with ginger, licorice root, mint, or tulsi.
  • Sip on bone broth for minerals like potassium that promote mucus health.
  • Eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. 
  • Incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into your diet, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and leafy greens for their immune-boosting properties.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help support lung health. Include sources of omega-3s in your diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
  • Include anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, ginger, and garlic.
  • Avoid dehydrating foods like alcohol and caffeine.

4. Embrace calming mind-body techniques.

Smoky days can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, so try the following tips to reduce stress and promote healing. 

  • Mindfully soothe your mind and body until air quality improves.
  • Practice meditations focused on breathing.
  • Do gentle somatic movements like restorative yoga or gentle stretching.
  • Employ visualization of breathing in clean air.
  • Enjoy foot soaks to promote relaxation.
  • Regularly journaling about your emotions.

5: Create a clean and calming indoor environment

While smoke inhalation can be scary, you can promote healing from inside your own home.

  • Create a clean, healthy, uncluttered indoor environment.
  • Use air-purifying houseplants. They’re also calming to look at.
  • Designate a specific area in your home, such as a bedroom or study, as a clean zone where you can retreat when the air quality is particularly poor.
  • Engage in indoor activities that support your mental and emotional well-being.

Bonus tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for respiratory concerns.
  • Stay informed and follow local guidelines.
  •  Monitor air quality indexes, such as the Air Quality Index (AQI), for the level of pollution in your area. 
  • And don’t forget that your pets need relief from the smoke, too!

We can navigate life gracefully and easily if we’re prepared and balanced before challenges arise. Remember to take proactive measures, create a clean and healthy home environment, and seek support when needed. With these practices, you can find inner peace and embrace clarity, even on the smokiest of days. Once a month in my free newsletter I share tips for improving quality of life. Have you signed up yet?


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