Take Time for Self Care
When people have chronic illnesses, managing your health becomes a full time job. And for those who are still within the workforce AND managing COPD, it leaves little to no time for self care. It is like having two full time jobs. It can be almost unbearable to manage both when your COPD is acting up. Even for those who aren't working, managing COPD by itself can take up all emotional and physical strength you have. It can make you feel down and depressed and not like your usual self.
Taking time for self care is so important. Here is a small list of some easy self care activities you can try:
Take a nap or just relax in your favorite chair without interruptions. Don't feel guilty about it. The body needs rest and allowing yourself to relax can be very good for the body. Also try to get as much sleep at night as possible.
Do you have a favorite hobby? I play guitar and also love paper crafting, specifically making greeting cards to send to family and friends. Whatever hobby you enjoy, take time to do it. Even if it is just for a little while.
Make a playlist
What is your favorite genre of music or favorite band? Create a playlist of your favorite music to listen to when your COPD is acting up to help redirect your focus. An upbeat playlist can also keep your spirits up.
Find a COPD buddy
Having friends who also have COPD who just totally get it can be incredibly comforting. Someone you can call or email when you are having a bad COPD day can help a ton. People can show empathy for others but someone who shares the same disease understand the ups and downs on a deeper level. Until a person experiences what it feels like to struggle to breathe it is only a guess. There are also many great online communities (like this one!) where you can find support any time of the day or night.
Ask for help
Don't be afraid to ask for help! Whether it be for help around your house or running an errand for you so you can stay home and rest can help so much.
Keep a journal to put your thoughts and feelings down on paper. Different from a COPD diary, which is where you write down your symptoms and medication usage for your doctor, journaling gets things out so you don't bottle them up.
Don't be afraid to say ‘no.’ Try not to push yourself too hard nor too far. You need to take care of your own health before you can be your best self to help others. Do something that makes you happy, even if other things have to wait a bit.
Laughter is the best medicine
Watch a funny show or movie. Find some funny video clips of animals etc on the internet. Attend a comedy show if you are able.
Yoga is a fantastic low impact exercise where you can go at your own pace and modify the movements when necessary. Attend a local yoga class. If you are unable to do so, there are many videos online that can walk you through the movements. Yoga is great for breathing as well. You focus on your breathing throughout the movements and can use those breathing techniques when your COPD is flaring up.
While this is a very small list of self care activities you can try, the possibilities are endless. Do what makes you feel good and relaxed. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Your body will thank you for it.
What are some things you do for self care?
Have you taken our COPD In America Survey yet?