Ahhh! It’s finally spring. The birds are chirping, flowers blooming and the weather is becoming pleasant. It’s the season of new beginnings and fresh starts; the perfect time to whip out your cleaning supplies and do some sprucing around your home.

‘Spring cleaning’ sounds like such a cliche, but if you think about it, it makes sense to dedicate some time to catch up on chores and give attention to neglected areas in your home.

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD you’ve probably already had to make major changes to your normal way of living in order to compensate for decreased energy levels and oxygen retention. Chances are that even the most common activities like climbing stairs, standing for too long and even household chores can cause tiredness and shortness of breath easily.

So learning how to strategically deal with common chores will not only help you budget time to avoid exacerbation but will also allow you to complete tasks efficiently which will keep your home running smoothly.

Here are the ABC’s of completing chores with COPD:

A for Aim

Changing up your daily routine is not an easy thing to do. In order to manage your expectation and COPD you need to keep focused. This will help you reduce undue stress that can cause you harm, both: mentally and physically. Chronic stress is a no-go zone for patients of COPD as it can raise your blood pressure, impair the ability to concentrate, have a negative impact on the sleep cycle, and lower your immune system. Ultimately, chronic stress will lead to decreased energy levels, which can lead to shortness of breath and other symptoms of your COPD.

Now we don’t want that to happen! So here are some tips to help you keep focused:

  • Spread out your chores over the week. Remember slow and steady wins the race. There’s no rush, work at a speed in which you’re comfortable.
  • Stay flexible. You can plan out what you want to do but you can’t plan who you’ll feel on a particular day. On days you feel you have more energy, tackle that extra chore! Other days put up your feet and relax.
  • Organize your home by placing common items below shoulder height to avoid overexerting yourself and causing needless use of energy.

B for Bearings

It is important for you to listen to your body and evaluate how you’re feeling in order to decide what to do on that particular day. Getting used to your new normal will take some time. Developing a mind and body connection will help you learn about your new energy levels and what you can tackle each day. Here are some tips for getting your bearings.

  • Keep a proper posture, keeping your airways open and allowing for easier breathing as you get your work done.
  • Don’t rush and pace yourself, even if you’re feeling full of energy. This could lead to shortness of breath and not getting as much done as you could have.
  • Alternate between activities with a lot of exertion and things you can do whilst sitting.
  • Just as you would in a workplace, schedule a break. You’re only human after all!

C for Calculate

Performing chores with COPD require planning which must be executed with precision. Ask yourself how you feel and if you should be doing the task you’re thinking of doing. Evaluate the benefits and risks of that task to calculate in your mind what you should do. Remember only you can gauge how much is enough for you.

Sometimes, you may need to step back and let someone else fulfill your role. Whether it’s friends, family or even children. Remind yourself that accepting help is okay because YOUR health is extremely important. You may even be surprised to find that most people will be glad to help. Below are some helpful strategies to help you calculate and make correct decisions regarding household chores:

  • Alternate between less difficult and difficult chores. You may be tempted to get all the big things out of the way, however, things to avoid with COPD includes overworking yourself.
  • Set realistic limits and expectations.
  • Consider getting carts for wheeling things around the house. These are at waist level and will help you save energy.

Here a few things that you as a COPD must avoid!

  • Avoid chemical fumes such as detergents, chlorine bleach, and carpet cleaners, as they can irritate your lungs airways. Instead, try and look for natural cleaning products or simply mix your own at home. E.g. vinegar and baking soda make a great cleaning product which doesn’t even require scrubbing!
  • Avoid dusting or deep cleaning without covering your mouth. The particles can cause your lungs to inflame and cause your COPD symptoms to flare up if you’re not careful!
  • Along with protecting your lungs, you should protect your eyes, hands, and skin through the use of gloves and goggles.

Ultimately the power is in your hands to master household chores while effectively managing your COPD. By following the ABC’S of completing chores with COPD, not only will your home be clean, your minds and lungs will feel a whole lot fresher too!

Happy Cleaning!

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