Coping with COPD: Making the Most of your Energy
How do I cope?
Have you been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? If so, you know that some things you used to do easily have gotten harder for you. You get out of breath, and it takes more time to recover. Your energy is gone before the end of the day, and this can make you feel helpless and frustrated.
Don’t stop, adjust!
Just because you are living with COPD, does not mean that you need to stop living! Learning to manage your energy level throughout the day is an important part of making sure you get to do your favorite activities. Most things will still be possible, but it will need to be done in a planned way.
Tips for managing your energy for the day:
Make sure you are getting a little extra sleep, and try to go to bed and get up around the same times each day. This gets your body into a routine and you will know how much sleep you need to feel your best.
Break it up
Don’t try to clean the whole house in one session. Break jobs into manageable tasks, and rest in between.
Allow more time for daily routines. Showering, getting dressed, cooking meals – all of those things use up energy that can make you tired before the day gets started. Allow more time for routines, and break it up.
Let others help you. It may be hard to accept help, but allowing your support system to take over some tasks so that you can do your favorite things more easily is worth it!
Work smart, not hard.
Using an assistive device such as a shower chair, using a stool to sit while cooking or chopping vegetables, or a rolling garden stool can make your day more productive.
Tackle larger tasks when you have more energy, such as in the morning. Do easier sit-down tasks in the evening when you know you will be more tired.
Take it one day at a time. If you are planning a big day with lots of activities, plan a rest day afterward without pressuring yourself to do much.
Communicate with loved ones
Have an honest conversation with your family or friends about doing things together. Make sure to plan activities that are easier for you to attend, so that you don’t miss out on seeing your favorite people! Explain your need to rest frequently and the best times of day to go out.
In addition to these tips, it is wise to take full advantage of the support services you have access to. COPD patients can often meet with a nutritionist, enter a pulmonary rehab outpatient program, and attend support groups. All of these resources will help you make the most of your life while adjusting to COPD. Having lots of good days while managing a condition like COPD requires a plan.
Create your personal plan for managing your energy and make the most of your day!