You know that when you have COPD, daily tasks that seem almost effortless for others can cause you to become short of breath. Perhaps you’ve decided that that’s just the way it is, and you have to live with it.
Not really. With your COPD in mind, you can plan a few alterations in the way that you do things in order to avoid taxing your breathing. Here are 8 ideas to think about incorporating into your daily habits:
- Use a shower chair.
Standing in the shower for several minutes and balancing to wash your hair etc. can cause you to feel short of breath, or just tired. A shower chair can make a difference, allowing you to sit while you perform these daily tasks. Some chairs come with built-in containers to hold your shampoo and other supplies so you don’t have to bend and straighten to pick them up and use them.
If you combine a shower chair with a removable shower head, you can easily control the direction and flow of water and make your shower easy and rejuvenating instead of tiring.
- Wear easy-to-remove-shoes.
Let’s face it; as we get older, putting on shoes and taking them off takes more effort than it used to, and bending over can make many of us feel as though we’re squeezing all the air out of our lungs.
Buy shoes that are quick and easy to slip on and off. You’ll minimize the time you must spend bent over compressing your midsection, and you’ll ease the work of putting on and pulling off your footwear, saving you a bit of energy.
- Consolidate cooking tasks.
Instead of gathering supplies, then cooking, and then cleaning up every time you have a meal, try to cook two or three different meals or dishes at a time. Then stretch those meals out for several days. On your “off” days, all you have to do is reheat and serve, saving you all the repeated work of setting up and cleaning up several individual cooking operations.
You can also prep snacks in one work session and grab those snacks with little effort throughout the next several days. Wash and cut vegetables and fruit and store them in the refrigerator. Slice up a whole wedge of cheese so you can grab what you want over the course of several days without having to pull out the cutting board and knife and wash and put them away multiple times. And in one session, wash and cut all the vegetables that you intend to use in salads or dishes over the next several days.
- Do away with fancy.
Serving dishes are nice but they’re not necessary, especially when getting them down from the kitchen cabinets, spooning the food into them, and then washing them after the meal takes extra energy that you don’t really need to expend. Serve food from the original cooking dishes. Once it’s on the plate, it won’t know the difference!
- Substitute “cart” for “carry.”
If you don’t have one already, buy yourself a compact wheeled cart that can maneuver easily through rooms and doorways. Use that cart to transport things like dishes from the table to the kitchen, laundry to and from the washing machine, and books and papers from room to room. You’ll save energy and reduce the stress on your breathing.
- Use a grabber.
Handled sticks with padded pincers on the end can be a real energy saver. Keep one handy and use it to lift items from higher shelves and pick up things from the floor.
- Break down big tasks into smaller pieces.
If you’re in the habit of doing certain tasks once a week, like “laundry day,” and you find that you’re exhausted afterward, consider breaking these tasks into two different days. For example, instead of washing all clothes and linens during one long day, set aside one morning for clothing and one morning for sheets and towels. You’ll reduce the number of trips back and forth and the time spent folding linens and clothing per session, and you won’t drain your energy beyond your limits of comfort.
- Use online services for groceries and household goods.
Several grocery stores offer online ordering via their websites. Some will even deliver those groceries to you, and generally, their fees for the extra service are fairly low. Another option is Amazon Prime Pantry, a relatively new service that offers a large inventory of household goods at very reasonable prices. When you order online you’ll receive your items within a few days.
Information for this article was obtained from 1st Class Medical.