Avoiding cabin fever

Avoiding Cabin Fever

A major problem with COPD is how climate affects us. I remember looking out my window at the snow a few years ago and grabbing the camera to go outdoors to take a few shots as it was so pretty. A huge mistake as while only 30 yards from my home, I felt all the breath leave me even while using oxygen. My tubes had closed through the cold and I felt at that time I would never make it into the warmth and safety of my home.

Weather and climate effects on COPD management

Cold, heat, humidity, wind, all have a major effect on us at stage 3 and above. Friends living in Arizona hate summer due to torrid heat. While others, myself included, are often confined during winter through cold and snow. While this matters little if only for a few days many are unable to venture out for weeks. That is when cabin fever can take hold.

How to handle COPD and cabin fever

Being at home in a controlled environment keeps us safe from the ravages of outdoor weather conditions. But we still have to manage our condition to stay reasonably fit and well. To keep our minds active. While not sitting on the couch with the remote for long periods. I run a social networking COPD discussion page and put the question: What do you do when you are confined to your home through weather conditions? And had some very interesting answers.

Keep yourself busy with hobbies and courses

One organized coffee mornings so people came to her for a good chat to catch up with the gossip. Two winters ago I did an open University course on photography. For this I obtained a certificate.

Others love to sew, read, make crafts, including jewelry making. Very many said it was important during those long days of self­-imposed exile to have an interest or hobby. One enjoyed making stained glass art, while advising anything fun and creative to do is great. My major hobby is photography. So I do indoor arty shots and use Photoshop on those long days. While also learning how to play the ukulele.

Cooking, painting, drawing were all high on the list. While seeking out ancestry with the help of the internet was popular. It turned out there was a heap of things to do during those long days at home. Including making use of Facebook. One lady had started a Facebook page to helping shelter dogs find new homes.

Pick up an exercise routine to stay active

Many had a treadmill to help keep fit. And mostly all did some kind of exercise at home. Exercise really is the crown in the jewel. During winter we can exercise outside the home as long as we can safely ride in a car. I take a ride to a mall, called shopping centers here in the UK. Malls are great for us with COPD as they are warm, dry, safe and well-­lit. We can enjoy shopping, have a gossip over coffee, watch the world go by. And enjoy that 'feel good feeling' all while moving our body.

Gentle stretching exercises, lifting small weights - a can of beans can be used if you do not have weights - and strolls around the house are all good. It does help us to plan for the new season when you might be confined indoors. Last year I was involved in a house renovation and had to arrange builders and oversee work. The house I now live in. The previous year an award for photography. So what can I do this year. Do you have any suggestions?

I will next be writing about things NOT to say to chronically ill people.

Until then remember: we must not sit still. I hope you have found this article useful. Meanwhile till I write again, keep a smile. And most of all breathe easy.

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