Do we remember to pace ourselves? I know I don't. I try to, but on the good days, I tend to cram as much in as possible (naughty I know). I tend to get a happy excitement of feeling good and the energy seems to burst open all at once (I even forget for a few moments that I am actually pretty unwell).
Bending and stretching
It's the bending and stretching that catches me out the most. Having stage 4 COPD (emphysema) my lungs feel hard so bending and stretching give me even less function. I recover from that and my energy returns. Tomorrow I will pay for that burst of energy and I will pay for it tenfold. Fit for nothing and can just about get out of bed and do the bare minimum.
The importance of pacing
This is why it's so important we learn to pace ourselves, a lesson that I know many of us find hard to implement. If we pace ourselves we can get a lot more done and in doing so we won't be feeling so drained the next day and the day after.
We would be enjoying better days and getting a little more done whilst feeling better in ourselves. It would also help us live a somewhat normal life (the norm for us). We need to remember that our lives are not as they used to be. We need to get used to that but at the same time not dwell on the past.
I learned it the hard way
If we look at pacing ourselves more deeply and consider why we should pace ourselves, it's a pretty logical thing to do. When I try and strip and remake my double bed I'm huffing and puffing and way out of breath and I need to stop a few times hanging onto the window sill bent over trying to breathe. All I need to do is do it in stages then I'm not huffing and puffing trying to breathe. In stages, it is done so much quicker and is healthier for me at the same time. For me, it's a big lesson learned, and trust me, I learned it the hard way.
What works best for you
Another thing I've learned is that when cooking a roast, I no longer cook it all in one go. I batch cook mashed potatoes and swede (rutabagas), portion them off, and then freeze them. I buy frozen vegetables instead of fresh and they are just as good as fresh with the same vitamins. I would cook the roast first and then the vegetables. That way I don't get too hot in the kitchen.
It works well. I'm not too hot and flustered and can enjoy a meal later on. It's a case of what works best for you. Pacing yourself gives you more energy and a better chance of enjoying your day and that is what we all want and need.
Try pacing yourself in the things you find difficult. Split the larger tasks into smaller ones and hopefully, you will find them easier to do.
Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Debz passed away in October of 2021. She is deeply missed but her positivity and resilience live on through her articles. Thank you for everything, Debz.
Do you find it difficult to enjoy the holidays with COPD?