Take a breath
Like a lot of people, since mid-March 2020 I’ve had some trouble sleeping. I’ll conk out as soon as I turn the light off, only to wake up again at 2:30 a.m. At first, my cat got very excited, hoping this was a tweak in her breakfast schedule.
I know I should avoid doom-scrolling on my phone, so I opt for a Sudoku or a soothing novel. After half an hour or so, I turn the light off again and focus on slow, shallow breathing. It doesn’t always help me get back to sleep, but I’ve begun thinking a lot about the act of inhaling and exhaling.
Several of the articles and essays in our January wellness issue of ASBMB Today touch on breathing — what it can do for our minds and bodies and even for our ability to support and care for the people around us.
Breathing, like wellness, isn’t something I do just for myself. If I’m going to contribute anything to the world, I need to have a functioning (loosely defined) brain and body. Sometimes I glance at fitness websites and roll my eyes at the sheer narcissism of all that sculpting and supplementing. And, sure, it’s about looking good and living long.
But at the heart of it, I think we all take care of ourselves as a gift to those around us as much as to ourselves. If we feel good, we can be more thoughtful, more helpful, more a part of the world.
And it all starts with being sure we have air.
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