Last updated: February 2022
We all know life with COPD isn’t easy, particularly when it is severe. We spend a great deal of time managing the symptoms, avoiding exacerbations, and stopping to catch our breath. It can be exhausting on a good day. The bad ones make it feel hopeless.
I do everything I can to keep a sense of humor and do fun activities, even if I am stuck at home. Life cannot stop moving because of a disease that causes shortness of breath. There are ways to live with it and live well. COPD is part of my life now, so rather than despair, choosing the lighter side of life versus bitterness seems to be the better alternative.
Learn to laugh at situations
I admit to having moments when only a good meltdown that includes tears and a tantrum will make me feel better. I call it a good mental cleansing. Then I pull out my coloring book and crayons, find a corner and all's right with the world.
When I am tired of doing those daily exercises that I dislike, lively music and dance exercise takes care of it. The music lifts my spirits. If I am tired that particular day, dancing in a chair using all my exercise moves makes for a fun workout. Singing is also a good workout for the lungs. With my voice, it will also help vacate any unwanted visitors!
It can be frustrating when the oxygen tubing gets caught on the furniture, yet again. Complaining about how I can’t do something or how it takes me a long time to complete a chore won’t change anything. Need to mop the floor? Make it your dance partner. I remember my mom doing that to her favorite song. Even if you do chores from a rolling chair, swaying to the music keeps it fun!
Do something fun every day
Many of us are retired, either by age or disability. That does not mean we have to sit around in our rocking chairs leading a boring existence. Even with COPD, there is so much to do. Sometimes I go back to my childhood. Lately, I have been watching some old sitcoms that I enjoyed when I was a child. There is nothing like a good Disney movie to make us feel young again.
I go to the dollar store and buy silly cards. I mail them to relatives or friends just for fun. It brightens up both our days. Learn an instrument. Playing the harmonica is good for the lungs. There are groups on Facebook as well and how-to videos on YouTube. I am learning the Native American Flute.
I have always wanted a dollhouse. I think now may be the perfect time to get one. What fun it will be to decorate. My seventy-two-year-old brother took up making model cars again, something he did as a teenager. He calls it reliving his youth.
There is so much about life to enjoy and we don’t have to run marathons or be out traveling to do them. Rediscover your childhood again and learn to be silly all over again.
Let’s talk about it
Do you have activities you do just for fun? Have you taken up any hobbies from your teenage years, like baseball card collecting, stamps, or coins? Paper dolls would be so much fun and there are many patterns available online. I would love to hear about what you’re doing. It might give members ideas so please share.
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Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.
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