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The 4 P's of the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again. The holly, the ivy, and everything Santa. If you are anything like me, you still strive to have that Norman Rockwell Christmas even though the kids are grown with their kids.

You know what I am talking about, the one where you spend too much time and money and put too much effort into trying to make everyone happy.  I start planning early in October and make a big deal of the holidays. My problem is that I never learned to pull back and ease up on the throttle a bit.

Getting through the holidays with the four P's

This year I will leave the effort in my children's hands. This is my solution to the holidays.


Slowly try to learn to pace yourself. This means doing one thing at a time and not taking on another task until this one is finished or you are at a natural breaking point.

The decreased airflow to our lungs means our multi-tasking days are over. We no longer have the lung capacity to do more than one thing at a time. Understanding and accepting the knowledge will help you to be more successful.


Create a plan in your head about what completing a task looks like from start to finish. This ensures your success.

No need to do tasks all at once or do more than you are capable of. Do things in small chunks, then rest and finish when recovery is a success.

Plan on how completing your task will look and how you will know it is finished. Can you complete your task sitting down, or if you must stand, how can you plan to make it easier on yourself?


Beginning a task and expecting it to succeed means you stop dead in your tracks when you start feeling short of breath. Completing several more tasks and ignoring your shortness of breath will cause irreversible strain on you and your lungs.

Instead, put yourself into recovery by sitting in a nearby chair or on the floor, leaning on a railing or a wall, bending over, and putting your hands on your knees. This position will help open your lungs while you catch your breath.


Remember to exhale through pursed lips slowly and gently. It is hard for most of us to understand, but exhaling is often more important than inhaling and gasping for air.

When our obstructive lungs retain old oxygen, it turns into carbon dioxide, slowly poisoning us. Staying calm and learning to exhale can often bring comfort for shortness of breath much faster, and we all need help as soon as possible.

Developing a strategy to get you through the holidays

  • Accept invitations with a plan in mind
  • Ask yourself why you want to go
  • How many days or holidays do you want to go out, leave your home, and join in celebrations?
  • Do you need a rest day in between celebrations
  • What is the risk, and what is the risk worth.
  • In person or virtual
  • Who will accompany you? What will that look like

Do you have any tips for getting through the holidays?

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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