What Is Your Hobby?
As I write this article, we are about 50 days away from spring. I started the count-down calendar early in the new year when I realized we were gaining minutes of sunlight per day. The days have gone fast. The clock started at 75 days and already 25 days have passed!
This can be a hard time of year
This can be a hard time of year for many of us. For those that suffer from SAD, melancholy sets in around late October. It lingers on past Christmas until the days finally become lighter, longer and warmer. For those us with COPD, being restricted to the indoors and its resulting cabin fever is a contributing factor to melancholy and sad moods.
The beginning of our diagnosis is taken up with getting from one doctor to another, in my case one hospital to another. The dynamics center around our own little world of getting there and back, resting up and beginning again. If we are lucky, we will learn when to rest and when to move forward.
Appointments become regular
Soon, the doctor’s appointments become regular, usually twice a year. We learn to manage our chronic illness and if we do it well, we will have fewer exacerbations. After having to give up your career and livelihood, we suddenly have time on our hands. No more rushing out the door in the morning means the day belongs to us and us alone.
Tough to get out of bed
When first diagnosed, I had a reason for getting out of bed in the morning. I was reaching my goal of returning to work. Having done that three times and failing miserably, I concluded that I could no longer be gainfully employed. That day I was filled with sadness and it was tough to find a reason to get out of bed. I became gloomy, sad, and introverted. According to an article by Julia McQuoid, PhD, elimination of our hobby leads to reduced exercise. This leads to limited energy and muscle wasting. Social events are often reduced or absent due to mobility issues.1
Our saving grace
Finding ways to keep our minds and hands busy is the saving grace for us right now. Lots of us will pull out knitting needles and crochet hooks. Some use their sewing machines and others work on art such as painting and using other mediums.
Regardless of what your hobby is, we usually pick one over the other because we enjoy doing it and have an innate talent for it. Find something that you enjoy doing. If you are looking for money, you could sell some of your work. If you are more of a volunteer nature, you are desperately needed. Look at nursing homes, hospitals, and neighborhood schools.
Having a hobby is more than that. It’s a challenge to our fitness and increases our mental health. When we are happy, we activate certain chemicals in our bodies. So, figure out what you are good at and start doing it - then keep doing it!
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?