Recently, I had a minor asthma flare-up that really took me by surprise. I was not expecting it and hadn’t done anything unusual that would have caused it. I used my short acting inhaler, but still felt some chest heaviness later in the day. I was telling one of my COPD Foundation colleagues about it and heard myself say “I really don’t feel like digging my nebulizer out of the closet. I have better things to do right now. I’ll be fine without it.” I realized how ridiculous I sounded and quickly changed my thought process. I realized that yes, I really do need that treatment. I pulled it out of the closet, turned it on, and felt much better when the treatment was over. I probably prevented a worse exacerbation by treating it right away instead of waiting it out. I still felt like I was wasting my time, though. I had so much to do and taking a few minutes for a nebulizer treatment seemed like a burden.
None of us want to be slowed down due to a chronic health condition. In today’s busy day and age, it's common for us to put aside our health because we have “better things to do.” So how can we fit time in for self-care and medical care? I’ll tell you what works for me: multitasking. While I took my treatment, I caught up on some work emails. Before I knew it, my treatment was over, and my work was done. Two goals were accomplished in a short period of time. I wasn’t “wasting” time at all by taking that neb!
I once saw an Oprah show where she was talking about self-care. She said that when you make something a ritual, it becomes special. She mentioned drinking tea from a fancy teacup each night or making your yearly checkup appointments around your birthday as a “gift” to yourself. I think that instead of thinking about my nebulizer as a hinderance, I need to think of it as giving me the gift of breathing. I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself!
How do you make time for self-care and COPD treatments? Do you tend to multi-task, or do you think of that treatment as “me time” and really focus on yourself during those minutes? I’ve started doing both. Sometimes I’ll multitask by doing some work, unloading the dishwasher, or doing other little tasks that I can handle while attached to a few feet of oxygen tubing! Other times I will use that time as a moment to decompress. I might read a magazine or a book or scroll through the news stories on my phone.
What is your best advice for fitting your treatments in to your busy day? Are you a multi-tasker or do you think of your treatments as “me time”? I can’t wait to hear from you!