paper cutout silhouettes of a woman doing several activities from the article like talking on the phone, stretching, meditating, and others.

Tips for Managing COPD

Having a chronic illness like COPD is not easy. When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. I can see you all nodding your heads in agreement. Our lives are not like other peoples', we must take special precautions and perform self-care on a regular basis. Here are 5 tips for managing ourselves with COPD.

How and what to eat

Eat 6 to 8 small meals per day. Keep it light with lots of greens from salads to light fish and lean meats. Potatoes with skins on add a bit of potassium to your diet but they should be the smallest portion of your meal. Try your best to keep carbs to a minimum. No point in consuming empty calories. We need lots of vitamins and minerals from good food sources to keep our heart and lungs strong. If our stomach is too full, we will have a harder time breathing.

A body in motion stays in motion

A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest. Exercise 5 to 6 times weekly and take a reward off-day once a week. We should begin with stretching lightly and building up resistance. Bands are great for this exercise. Remember that we must exercise each part of our body including our feet, legs, arms, upper body, and neck. Do not forget about breathing and abdominal deep breathing exercises daily. Practicing going up and down the stairs is also a good idea a few times a week. Once we stop doing something, we may never be able to do it again. Always use pursed-lip breathing.

No room for negativity

Work hard to keep your thoughts positive. There is no room for being negative or allowing negative thoughts to take up headspace. Turn negative thoughts into positive affirmations. Find something to be grateful for. Gratitude helps you be in a better mood. Before I get out of bed, I decide what I am grateful for. Sometimes it is as simple as the singing birds that wake me for another day. Practice mindfulness and learn to stay in the moment.

Use the tools you have been given

When times get tough, remember to use the tools you have been given. Supplemental 02 helps your heart and lungs to stay strong and to curb your shortness of breath. Your walker is there to help support your upper body when you are short of breath. It is also a great way to carry stuff from place to place. The COPD medications that your doctor prescribed are there to keep you strong and level your breathing. Use meditation and mindfulness to stay in the moment and to help pace yourself.

Make the effort to connect

The people you surround yourself with is important. Keep in touch with old friends via phone or text. Make the effort to talk to one or two a week. Find a caregiver who can show compassion. Make new friends by joining an online support group for COPD. You will learn lots by just talking to others who have the same issues as you do. That is how we learn the tips and tricks of managing COPD that our doctors don't tell us.

What other things would you have added to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.