Sure, COPD can be a tough pill to swallow, so to speak, but it's a new year and time to focus on you. There's no reason at all why you can't make the most of your life, even if you do have COPD.
Here are 10 things you can do this month to get on the road to a better quality of life.
1. Start each day with a list of things you are grateful for. Remind yourself of the good in your life throughout each day and finish up each night by thinking of three things from that day you're thankful for. It doesn't have to be big stuff; it might be that you're thankful for the loving support of your spouse or a roof over your head or that the sun shone that day. Having a positive outlook on life helps people live longer and enjoy life more, no matter what their physical condition.
2. Renew a relationship. As your disease progresses over the years, it'll be easier to cope with if you have a strong support network. So take time this month to renew a bond with someone who's faded from your life. Perhaps a grandchild who lives far away, or an old college buddy? Send an email, make a phone call, write a letter, friend them on Facebook... do whatever it takes to strengthen another tie.
3. Become an active member of our community here at COPDConnection.com. Write a sharepost about your experiences with COPD. Post a question for our experts... or answer someone else's question if it's something you know about. Just join in and make some new friends with people like you who are learning to live with COPD.
4. Make one change to make your lifestyle healthier. The healthier you are overall, the easier it will be for you to weather the respiratory changes that come with COPD. You might decide to eat more fruits and vegetables each day. Or maybe to practice meditation for 15 minutes a day to reduce stress. Or join a local club to increase your social interaction. The possibilities are endless!
5. Do something nice for someone else. When we focus on others, we have less time to worry or feel sad about what's gone wrong in our own lives. Don't always put yourself second, but do sometimes put others first.
6. Clean your inhaler and your nebulizer tubing, if you use them. Cleaning these devices is often forgotten, but they can get clogged or even harbor germs if they're never cleaned. An inhaler generally just needs a good rinse with warm water, at least weekly; daily is better. Nebulizer tubing, mouthpiece and the cup where you put your medicine should be washed out and soaked in a bleach/water mixture at least once a month. The bleach will kill any germs.
7. Ask your doctor or doctor's nurse to check your technique with your inhaler/nebulizer. Make sure you're getting the most out of these treatments by using them correctly. Even people who've been using them for years should get checked out. You'd be surprised what you might find out!
8. Review your medications. Check expiration dates and refill dates on all your medications. Medicines lose potency after the expiration date and should be discarded. Do you still need to be on all the medications you have? If you're not sure, talk with your doctor about it on the next visit. The need for medicines can change over time, so it's a good idea to review what you're on periodically with your doctor.