Staying positive with COPD means making time for what you love

Sometimes we forget to stop and smell the roses

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by Caroline Gainer |

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I’ve been struggling lately to maintain my normally positive focus on life and living. It’s been perplexing to try to figure out why I’ve been falling further off the gloom-and-doom cliff.

I eventually realized that I haven’t been doing anything leisurely lately. As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Caroline a dull girl.

For those of us with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’s vital that we maintain a positive attitude. But the daily struggle this disease entails makes it so difficult to do.

For the past few months, I’ve been caught up in day-to-day work and I forgot to play. I’ve neglected my hobbies, outings with friends, concerts, and going to the movies. Plus, the sunless and gloomy days of winter just add to the problem.

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Taking action

About three years ago, I bought a new sewing machine. Instead of a basic one, I went all out and got the one I really wanted. It does everything but sew by itself. Yet I hadn’t used it enough to remember how to thread it or wind the bobbin.

To address my ongoing funk, I decided to pick a day to sew. I used to do this when I was a teacher. Every Wednesday, my husband either would cook or bring something home to eat because it was my day off.

For too long, my excuse for not sewing up the yards of material I had was that I didn’t need any more clothes, and besides, clothes are inexpensive now. I used to sew because I wanted to save money. So, my solution for having too many clothes is to give away two old items for every new one I make.

So far I’ve made two new outfits: One will be good for the spring, when the weather is warmer, and the other, a fleece kimono jacket and wool slacks, is just right for cold weather. I now have a small garbage bag full of things I plan to give to a local women’s shelter.

Another solution to the doldrums is going out to eat once a week with my neighbor. We go after church on Sundays and alternate who gets to pick the place. We have a wonderful time, and my outlook on life has taken a turn for the better because of it.

Although I have previously written about the isolation those of us with COPD often feel, as well as ways to avoid it, I hadn’t realized that I was in the same situation. I needed to practice what I preached.

We need to have hobbies and other things that we love to do. Doing fun things and learning new skills are important for our mental and emotional health.

Have you found yourself in a funk lately? What plans have you created to improve your mental health? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of COPD News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.