Put Your Shoes On!
My day does not start until I put my shoes on. I have very comfortable slippers. They are the first things my feet slip into when I get up in the morning and when I am ready to relax after dinner. They are for lounging. My shoes are for working, exercising, and my daily life. My mornings start leisurely with inhalers to get the lungs moving and coffee to get the brain moving. I read the news over some quick breakfast, write in my journal, read through some support and hobby groups I belong to. It is time to shower, dress, and get those shoes on.
It starts with mindset
The shoes are all about mindset. They are a tool that helps to create my attitude for the day. If I stay in my pajamas and slippers, little if anything will get accomplished. Getting dressed and putting shoes on means I am ready to work. It doesn’t matter what the work is. That work might be cooking, doing laundry, or something more enjoyable like one of my hobbies. I am retired because I have COPD, but I still keep certain hours for daily chores that need to get done. I always wore shoes when I went to work and I dressed appropriately. There were work hours and leisure hours. This mindset is a necessity because it helps me keep control of my day.
Setting my daily intention is very important to me in living with COPD. Intentions are different from setting goals. My goals are something I want to achieve, either daily, weekly or long term. They are the projects on my To-Do List. My intentions are about how I want to feel and bringing positive energy and joy to my life, even with a chronic illness that robs me of my breath.
Focus on forward
When my COPD became severe, I came to terms with living on oxygen. I had to think long and hard about what my future life would look like. It would be a different future than I planned because I now had some physical limitations. I still wanted it to be fulfilling. I believe that is something we all desire from life. There is a line from a Native American prayer that says, “may you always walk in beauty.” I keep that in every journal I write in and every appointment book. It reminds me to find inner peace, within and around me.
My peace of mind starts with my surroundings. Where once I could work with my desk overflowing, I now need order. I need simplicity in my home and my life. Perhaps that comes from never knowing what chaos COPD might cause and when. There is always the uncertainty of exacerbation, hospitalization, and recovery time.
It’s not about perfection, nor is it about sitting around only doing fun things. Life is complicated and messy. COPD is as well. We all have responsibilities that cannot be avoided. It is my responsibility to do everything I can to live a healthy life with the disease I have. That is part of living my life with intention. It is the mindset I begin with each day.
May you always walk in beauty. Put your shoes on first!
Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.
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