How to make your allergies more bearable at work

For those of us afflicted with seasonal allergies, springtime not only gifts us with rain showers and bright flowers but also with presents that we would rather return to sender. We may be walking around the office with itchy eyes, runny noses, and stuffy lungs that are distracting us from getting any work done.

Unfortunately, too many of us are dealing with these symptoms at work. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. Those of us who have it, know the drill: identify the underlying trigger and then attack the reaction with medicine or prayer. But what can you do when you keep sniffling and wheezing at work despite your remedies?

Enter mindfulness. It’s a practice that will not magically cure your allergies, but it can make them more bearable.

To be mindful of allergies, stop judging yourself for having them

Being mindful of your allergies begins with accepting your situation. No, you never asked for this hellish hay fever, but now that you have it, you will not dwell on the unfairness of your illness. That’s what Rachael Kable, host of The Mindful Kind podcast, advises.

“If your eyes are itching or your nose is running, try to acknowledge that without labeling the experience ‘good’ or ‘bad,'” she says. “If your breath is affected by an allergic reaction — if your nose is stuffed up or your breathing is shallow — just notice this, again without judgment.”

When you are mindful, you are teaching your body to stay in the present moment, even if that moment is unpleasant. How you think can change how you feel. Ruminating about your symptoms will just make you feel worse.

As Kable puts it, “Don’t be afraid to be mindful of your allergies, however unpleasant they may seem at first. Exploring the sensations in your body is a powerful way of becoming more accepting of them.”

So next time pollen is clogging up your airways, pay attention to the sensation so that you can learn to break its hold over you.