Imagine you’re going on vacation. You know that in order to relax and enjoy it, you need to do a little preparation and planning. For example, you’ll need to buy tickets, pack, and book somewhere to stay. If you don’t do those things, it’s likely your vacation will be more stressful than you’d hoped.

A little planning may also make it easier to manage your breathing. By thinking ahead about what’s in your day and how you can best take care of yourself, life might be a bit easier to handle.

Try answering some of these questions:

  • What am I doing today that might make my breathing worse?
  • What could I do to help avoid it getting worse?
  • How is my day looking? Am I trying to do too much? Try the Imagining Your “Trade-Offs” Suitcase activity to help with this one.
  • Have I scheduled regular rest times?
  • Who could I ask for help?
  • Am I taking my maintenance inhaler as my doctor prescribed?
  • What have I done before that has helped me to cope when my breathing gets bad? For example, breathing tips and techniques, talking to a loved one, taking my rescue inhaler.
  • What else could help me to cope when my breathing gets bad?
  • What triggers my breathing difficulties? Am I likely to encounter any of those things today? What could I do to avoid them?

By answering some of these questions, you may find that you already have some things you do to help take care of your breathing. They’re probably second nature to you now, so you may not have realized you were doing them. Make sure you write them down as a reminder of how many strategies you already have.

And if you need some ideas to help you plan, ask your doctor. They’re there to help you get better control of your breathing, rather than it controlling you.