Overcoming Fatigue and That Lazy Feeling
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Profile photo of Derek Cummings

Looking at the title above I am reminded we have all had those days of feeling very lazy, with or without COPD.  I can remember pre-COPD days when I felt in need of a ‘duvet day’. To lie in bliss doing little but to wallow in my own selfish laziness. There can be nothing more blissful than a day of doing nothing. But for us with COPD this can spell danger if we do not overcome this feeling of fatigue, or laziness quickly.

When we wallow too long in idleness doing little or nothing – perhaps sitting on the sofa, watching television for long periods, changing channels with the remote, far from invigorating ourselves – we are likely to become more idle, and do less. It is then the cycle of laziness sets in, and if we are not careful, find ourselves in the rut of doing the least we can. This is when a big red sign with the word, DANGER, should be put before our eyes.

As we become idle, and sit around doing nothing for too long, our lung capacity will diminish at a surprisingly rapid rate. It really is the use-it-or-lose-it syndrome. Mucus will increase. We will become more breathless. And in a short time breathing will become harder for all but the least demanding tasks. In a short time any activity, even walking to the bathroom, you might  become more breathless. Sadly some will then reason the simple option is to continue doing little. As becoming breathless is then less of a problem, and so the rapid downward spiral begins.

I have been there. I have learned the lesson. That feeling of fatigue, and laziness, can be beaten. We can take back control. As activity breeds activity.

Most, if not all of us, have something we enjoy doing. I love photography, meteorology, research, and travel. Writing too. It might be an interest you once had before you had COPD has been lost. But can be revived. If so start back, and revive that subject you once enjoyed, Because there is nothing better than an interest or hobby to get yourself moving, and helping you to overcome that feeling of tiredness.

You might not believe it if you are reading this feeling really washed out and tired but the truth is movement encourages more movement. Which in turn helps us to feel more alert, and less tired.

To start you could do simple tasks. Maybe a little gardening or a walk around the garden. Small easy jobs around the house. During one of my lazy periods I washed dishes to get me moving. Visiting friends or relatives. A walk in the park. Anything that gets your body moving will help you overcome that dreaded lazy spot. We have all been there. The secret is to overcome that tired lazy feeling, and to start moving that body again.

As someone who loves to sit at the computer writing, or working on research projects, it is not uncommon for me to get writers block. Usually I overcome this by writing about anything. In any fashion, and on any subject I want. The main thing is to free my mind, and get the creative juices flowing. It is much the same with that feeling of fatigue and laziness. We have to get over that block.

If, like me, you do a lot of computer work, don’t forget to take an hourly break to move that body. My favorite is to turn the music up, and slowly move in dance. I love music, and it is a wonderful enjoyable way to get my body moving. This too is an enjoyable way to invigorate yourself.  If like me you use oxygen, don’t forget to use it while moving around.

The rewards in being active is a longer life, with better health. A more fun-filled, enjoyable life too. I have very severe emphysema, use oxygen for mobility, have a FEV1 of just 25%, but still enjoy life. I visit restaurants. Go on vacation. Take part in volunteer, research and university projects. And am involved in healthcare projects in my local community.

I am often seen out and about with my camera. Sometimes it is an effort. I do get days that can be much more breathless than others. But I enjoy life. And so can you.

Don’t let COPD stop you enjoying your family, your hobbies, your life. Get that body moving to rid yourself of that tired feeling. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Be positive. Get that body moving. And enjoy life. Till I write again. Smile and most of all. Breathe easy.

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