A Breath Of Fresh Air

Funny how we use the phrase, “a breath of fresh air”.  This signals that we certainly understand that there are benefits to fresh air.  For example, you might describe someone new that you meet as “a breath of fresh air”.   Yet, very few of us actually take a breath of fresh air.  Why not use this phrase literally and reap from it what you can?

Fresh air has restorative powers waiting for us all.  We can take in this tonic outside OR we can bring it indoors.  Either way, it’s magical.

Breathing fresh air indoors

In any space, the oxygen content goes down continually as you breathe out carbon dioxide and other wastes.  For many of us the spaces we live and work in go from heat to air conditioning followed by heat and then air conditioning once again.  Staying in an environment that is closed-in like this for a long period of time means you are breathing in the same air over and over again.  One big vicious cycle if you ask me.  Fresh air rectifies the situation and breaks this nasty cycle by allowing for a steady supply of oxygen for both your brain and your entire body.

Have you ever noticed the stale morning smell that lingers in a bedroom that has had the door closed throughout the night?  There’s a reason for this.  While you sleep you breathe moisture, breath odors and tons of microorganisms into the air, your pillow and your bedding.  Added to that you perspire, exude skin oils and body smells.  Multiply the amount of all these smells in a room by how many people sleep there.  No wonder it’s stinky.  For goodness sakes, open the windows and let some air into the room!  Better yet, follow the lead of what many Europeans have been doing since the beginning of time and air out your bedding.  Years ago while living in the Washington, DC area my dear friend, Peggy Love’s family bedding hung out each bedroom window airing out for the coming night’s sleep.  I loved seeing this and it made perfect sense to me.  Peggy knew the restorative powers of fresh air for the family bedding.  (She also had one gorgeous silver tea service but that’s a story for another day!)

Physiologically, fresh air makes a healthier environment for us.  There are psychological benefits as well.  Psychologically, the feeling of being closed-in can be constraining.  I was talking about this just recently with one of my many niece’s, Sarah Shrader.  I was visiting her new home in Richmond, VA and she was talking about how different it was compared to her home in San Diego.  In her home in San Diego the windows were always open.  Now in Richmond, she tended to keep them closed and it made her feel confined.  I understood exactly what she meant by that.  My body actually craves fresh air and regardless of the weather or the temperature somewhere in my house there is at least one window cracked.  Even in the middle of a Chicago winter!  And if weather permits, I have every window possible open.  I do right now.

Breathing fresh air outdoors

Hiking in nature

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Many of us spend very little time outdoors.  If we exercise, we do it on the treadmills or machines in our homes or we go to the gym.  Just the other day a friend told me she asked her son to go for a walk after dinner. He was actually baffled and asked her why she didn’t just get on her treadmill.  She told him that the fresh air would do them both good and they could also spend some time together.  He grudgingly went thinking all the while she was weird.  Unbelievable.

In past posts on this blog I have expressed the restorative powers that nature has for us.  (An example is my post, Let Nature Restoreth Your Soul (And Your Home).)  I learned this first hand myself.  I have always been a lover of the outdoors but it wasn’t until the past few years when I became inundated with way too much trauma-drama that I understood the healing powers of nature.  Let me explain…

I moved to the Chicago area a little over two years ago.  I came here kicking and screaming.  I left my business, my friends, my organic garden, my beautiful yard and my family back in Charlotte.  Seriously, I thought God had decided a traumatic divorce, a stalker, a chronically ill child, serious health issues of my own and an earth-shattering chance encounter on a plane weren’t enough to send me over the edge.  God had to throw me one more curve ball.  A Mack Daddy one to boot.  I had to move away from my kids, their spouses and grandchildren.  How could I hover over them so far away?  Weren’t they supposed to move away from me and not the other way around?

In the woods

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Home was with my David so I moved.  Once in Chicago I was faced with endless time on my hands.  I took to walking in nature.  With forest preserves all around me, it gave me something to do besides gourmet cooking and Law And Order reruns.

I started feeling better.  I noticed I was less angry and grumpy.  (So did my David for that matter.)  I slept better.   I smiled more.  The bliss began…

I owe it all to nature and fresh air.  No two ways about it.

The benefits of fresh air

Regardless of whether your are outdoors or inside, fresh air is vital to your essence.  Ponder these benefits you reap:

  • Fresh air helps the airways to your lungs dilate more fully.
  • Fresh air improves the cleansing action of your lungs.
  • Fresh air rids your body of accumulated impurities.
  • Fresh air improves your heart rate, blood pressure and metabolic rate.
  • Fresh air strengthens your immune system.
  • Fresh air soothes your nerves.
  • Fresh air improves your sleep.
  • Fresh air improves the serotonin levels in your brain.
  • Fresh air clears your mind.
Fresh air

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Recently I found myself unexpectedly back in Virginia.  My stay there was action packed to say the least and so any time I could, I spent it outdoors.  I played on the swings with grand nieces and nephews, Gavin, Ellie, Whitt and Logan.  I took a walk with niece Marli and the crew of babies and kids.  Even my niece, Christy wanted to make sure two month old Carina spent time outside.  She told me that her pediatrician actually prescribed outdoor air daily for precious Carina.  (You go, Doc!)  So, one evening her husband, Ryan and I stood outside with tiny Carina asleep in her stroller and five month old Maya nestled asleep in my arms.  Both babies were getting nature’s tonic of fresh air while Ryan and I talked.  What could be better?

Find ways to get a breath of fresh air.  Both you and your homespace deserve it.  Like the words in an old 60’s song by Three Dog Night, titled “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, open up the windows and let some air into the room.  Otherwise you’ll choke on the smell of stale perfume!

You’ll be glad you did.

To a breath of fresh air…

This entry was posted in Décor, Feng Shui, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Nature, Psychology, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by Jamie Balzer. Bookmark the permalink.
Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

12 thoughts on “A Breath Of Fresh Air

  1. Jamie,
    I’m opening my windows right now, really!! I find a since of “let down” after ready this blog. Maybe because of all the references.

    It’s simple and to the point. Thank you!

    • Laura, I am so glad to know you are opening your windows. Seriously, it is amazing how in doing such a simple thing you open your home to the outside world. It is as if you allow your life to become one with the world if you know what I mean. Of course, the fresh air gives you incredible health benefits as well. Opening windows in your personal home must be extra, extra special. What beauty you have to behold out in nature where you live! I loved being there last week looking out onto your pond as the morning mist would rise off the water. What beauty! As for this post being simple and to the point, I am so glad that you see it this way. Air is basic so I wanted my message to be as basic as I could make it. However, I also wanted to have my readers understand that I learned firsthand what fresh air does for the heart, mind and soul. It has been miraculous for me and my life journey. Enjoy the day and enjoy life – I know you will…

  2. You know this one resonates with me Jamie. If I could, I would live outside. Wherever I have lived and whatever problems were going on in my life I took to the outside for comfort. Charlotte was one of my favorite places to be outside. The beauty of the fall and spring are unsurpassed.
    My husband and I share this love of being outdoors. There have been times when we have rented homes on a getaway vacation where we have moved the lazy boys out onto the deck. One particular time, as soon as we kicked back in our comfy chairs, a deer came leaping over the corner of the deck we were on. What a gift. Many new homes include outdoor living spaces but I know many people do not have that luxury. It doesn’t cost a cent to go outside no matter where you live. One of my favorite sayings from Daniel Boone is “far looking places” . I find myself always sitting on something a bit higher because of this. The top of a picnic table or the top of a step. Wherever it gives me a “far looking view”.
    Keep writing dear friend.

    • Lori, I love this Daniel Boone quote of “far looking places”. Being in nature and being able to see for a far distance gives a sense of calm and oneness with the earth. I get that completely. I walked in nature this morning. It was somewhat of a dreary sky and after about the first mile of walking, the sun began to poke through. Sunlight sparkled off the brilliant yellow and red leaves of the trees on a hill that I walked over. Looking far off at this vantage point literally gave me goosebumps at how awesome the world is. We just have to take notice. And, the more notice we take, the calmer and more blissful we become. Nature has a way of creeping into the dark caverns of our minds and hearts to open us up to simple pleasures. One of course is the simple pleasure of a breath of fresh air. You my friend know how to breathe!

  3. Morning Jamie- I. Totally agree on the fresh air. I found myself grabbing deep breathing even when I got the paper or took out the garbage (can’t let the husband get all the fresh air). we open our bedroom windows every night even when it’s 20 degrees. But I had to put on an electric blanket to warm the bed before retiring. Crawling into a warm bed on a cold night – heaven!! Believe me only my head sticks out in winter.
    Joy Stark

    • Joy, I have been known to giggle inwardly as I have snuggled down under blankets in a freezing cold bedroom on more than one occasion! I think it is my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder ever pretending that I live on the prairie. (Well I guess I actually do!) There is something comforting about being cocooned in a bed away from the cold, isn’t there? There is also something joyous and invigorating in the early morning air- it is just different. I don’t blame you a bit for wanting to be the one to get the paper or take out the trash. Each and every morning that I rise early and walk outside I wonder why anyone would want to miss this special time of day. Keep enjoying…

  4. You have inspired me to get the screens back in my kitchen windows so that I can open them and let the FRESH AIR in!!! Thanks. Your blog is so very uplifting…for this I am grateful….it’s truly “a breath of fresh air”.

    • Marli, what a beautiful kitchen to put screens back into! I can only imagine the combination of fresh air and the view of your pond mingling together to create feel good vibes for you, Wally and little Henry each and every day once you put the screens back on. Having been honored to be in your home twice in the last few months, I can now say I have numerous memories of your kitchen to hold in my heart. Your window seat that looks out to your pond gives such an awesome view of nature. Watching each of the babies take their turns in the viewing chair on the bench was such a heartwarming thing to see. Your kitchen windows boldly open you to the outside world- what a treasure you have! And thank you so much for being inspired by my blog. I want each and every post to be uplifting and joyful. I worried a bit about today’s as I did mention a lot of trauma-drama I have had in recent years. But, I felt it was necessary to show that we can triumph over anything as long as we choose to. (I call this choice taking the road less traveled by – it is a difficult road full of potholes and bumps but well worth the ride because you get to discover who you really are.) My Blog is all about the tried and true tools I have used to get me to a state of bliss while on the road less traveled. I can honestly say joy bursts from my heart now and so I want to share with others what I learned for myself. What I learned along the road is that EVERYTHING BEGINS IN THE HOME Marli. One tool, one sure fire way to bring positive energy into the home is with fresh air. Breathe it in and also provide it for your family. It’s free and there just waiting…

  5. Thanks for another great post!! It could not have come at a more perfect time for us folks in Richmond!! It was the perfect day for opening the windows and doors. My sliding glass door to the screen porch stayed open all day and when the front door was open and the cross breeze came through the family room, it was truly a breath of fresh air and a wonderfully refreshing feeling! You must have watched the weather channel anticipating when to post this to your blog because it was the PERFECT day to take action and open some windows!

    • WOW! I do have to confess to a near obsession with The Weather Channel but, my need to watch it all day long doesn’t start until the first anticipated snowfall of the season. I get such anxious excitement over each and every new snow to come that I stay glued to the TV for minute-by-minute updates. So, no I didn’t check the weather even though I know you are kidding. You do have a fabulous screened in porch (it reminds me of the TV show from the 60′s, The Dick Van Dyke Show – in fact, your whole house has that awesome retro look ) and any day possible I imagine you do open the sliding doors for fresh air. I am so glad you are able to reap the benefits of the fresh air breeze- on an emotional level the breeze is able to carry much of the yuck away. On a physiological level, it is helping to carry away the tiny germies that seem ever present with little kids around. I am sure you agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and do keep reading…

  6. I have been meaning to comment and haven’t had time, to many beautiful fall days to enjoy. Today it is raining, so Brynn and I made homemade oatmeal cookies. Just wanted to say that I was a director of a Mother’s Day Out program for 18 years. The main things on the schedule everyday was for everyone to have outside time if the temperature was above 35 degrees. We had a stroller that would hold 4 children and a double stroller. The six babies in the nursery got to get fresh air daily and the older kids took walks or played on the play ground. I even kept extra coats, hats and gloves so that everybody got to go outside. It made such a difference in the children disposition the rest of the day. I try and walk 2 to 4 miles daily if the weather is good. Love Fresh Air.

    • M.A., I remember when you were the director for the program you are talking about. I used to marvel at how well you ran the program and how natural it all came to you. I remember even subbing on occasion when I was in town and so I remember well the going outside policy. I hope other readers (particularly parents of young children) take heed of your opinion on getting fresh air. It makes all the difference in all of us – especially young children. They nap better, sleep better at night and altogether have a better attitude. Nature does that! When my precious granddaugthter, Ansley was born a month early last Thanksgiving Day, the doctor told Sammi and Brent to take her outdoors for thirty minutes each day regardless of the weather. This was to help her lungs as they were slightly underdeveloped due to being born early. And, recently while visiting family in Richmond, Christy Sink said her pediatrician recommended daily fresh air for babies. I loved each day I was in Richmond walking with my nieces and all the babies and young ones of the Balzer clan. To know that Jackie, Sarah, Christy, Marli and Britney can walk together with all the kids is just wonderful. It gives the moms exercise and time together while giving the children the best gift God gave us- fresh air and nature! One more thing – what wonderful times you and I have together talking on our cell phones to each other while we both walk. You in Roanoke and I in Chicago. Readers out there – go outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. Oh and don’t forget to bring it inside!

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