The holiday season is typically filled with love, hope, and joy. Yet, for those with chronic lung disease, it can be a difficult time to navigate. Feelings of being worried, exhausted, or overwhelmed can also occur. Here are a few things that people with lung conditions can do to keep their holidays jolly.
Stay on your medication/treatment routine- To feel your best and avoid any exacerbations (or flare-ups), stay on your medication schedule and treatment plan. Those with excess mucus should continue using their airway clearance devices and techniques. Although staying on your medication and treatment schedule may be more challenging during the holidays, you will want to be breathing well. If needed, set the alarm on your phone or watch when a medication should be taken, or therapy performed.
Get plenty of rest- With the busyness of the season, it can be difficult to slow down and rest during the holidays. However, resting and getting enough sleep will give you more energy and help you to manage any shortness of breath that you feel. Take time each day for a nap or break. Allow your body to relax and unwind. Not only is getting plenty of rest good for your body, but it is also great for your mental health. (Now that’s something I could relax for!) Check out this post for more tips on practicing good mental health during the holidays.
Feel free to say “no”- Not all holiday activities are “lung condition friendly.” Some may require a person to walk a long distance (caroling), be exposed to smoke and flames (bonfires), or breathe in fumes, like perfume on a shopping trip for example, which could cause shortness of breath. It’s OK to say “no” or to pick and choose activities that will be enjoyable for you and won’t cause worry or anxiety.
Let your loved ones know how they can help- Loved ones and caregivers want to help but do not always know how. Be specific with your needs. If walking is difficult and you need to park close by, ask your loved one to save a space close to the front door for you to park. If managing your oxygen device and carrying your plate is difficult, see if a loved one will serve and take your plate from the buffet table. If you host an event during the holiday season, ask those attending to bring a “dish” to relieve the work of preparing a large meal.
Enjoying the “reasons for the season” will be possible for those with lung conditions if you use these tips.