Christmas & New Year

Simplify the Christmas rush

  • Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once! Plan ahead and try not to over exert yourself
  • To give yourself more time to get organised, start buying your Christmas presents early. If you don’t feel up to visiting the shops and wrestling with the crowds, then order your presents online from the comfort of your own home
  • Instead of usual Christmas cards, consider sending Christmas e-cards to your loved ones this year. This means that you can avoid the long queues at the post office
  • To save yourself time and effort, consider using gift bags for your presents instead of wrapping paper
  • Remember to put aside time for daily rest and relaxation. Instead of getting lost in a never-ending to-do list, complete a cross word puzzle, read a book or go for a walk
  • If you would like to put Christmas decorations up in your home, ask your family and friends for help. This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones, allowing you to get into the festive spirit

Enjoying the Christmas Period

  • Christmas festivities often involve lots of food, but remember the importance of maintaining a healthy weight if you have COPD. Whilst it is fine to enjoy a treat or two over the festive period, try not to overeat
  • You might receive multiple invites from friends and family over the coming weeks, but be picky and prioritise your time - choose one or two events to attend, and don’t be afraid to leave early if you are feeling tired
  • If you are hosting an event, reduce your work load by delegating some responsibility to your guests. For example, you could ask each of your guests to bring a plate of food
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself to do too much. Remember that the holiday period is also a time to relax!

Making a change in the New Year

New Year's Resolutions

What do you hope to achieve in 2016? For some inspiration, look at our list of COPD New Year’s Resolutions that will allow you to breathe and live better next year. Follow the tips to help get you started, one small step at a time.

Stop smoking

If you stop smoking, you can significantly reduce the rate at which you lose lung function, improve your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life1 1 :

  • For support in quitting, speak to your GP
  • To decrease your withdrawal symptoms, consider using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
  • If you ever feel demotivated, make a list of reasons to remind you why you want to quit

Exercise more

It is understandable that you might have had less time to exercise during the holidays, so start the New Year as you mean to go on and get active! This will improve your lung function and help you effectively manage your symptoms 12 :

  • To motivate you to get active, get an exercise buddy
  • Get into a routine by setting a regular workout time
  • Think fun and variety – hoola hooping, water aerobics or even a walk in the park. Remember to ask your GP about suitable exercises

Make healthy eating choices

It has been shown that COPD patients who are a healthy weight experience less symptoms than those who are overweight 13 or underweight 14 :

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Have a healthy breakfast in the morning to reduce snacking before lunch
  • Swap sitting in front of the TV to sitting at the table to focus on your food – you will enjoy it more and notice when you are full
  • Eat a little slower to give your brain time to register that you are full
  • To eat smaller portions, swap your normal dinner plate for a smaller alternative

Plan a memorable trip with loved ones

A holiday might seem a daunting prospect, but with careful planning it’s possible to organise a trip that you won’t forget:

  • Before you book, check with your GP that you are well enough to travel
  • Organise any travel assistance you might need well in advance
  • Research travel insurance costs – remember to tell your insurer about your pre-existing medical conditions
  • Make sure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip

Spend more time with friends and family

This will provide you with more emotional support and help them to understand more about your condition:

  • Arrange dates in advance
  • Keep a diary to stay organised
  • Meet for lunch or dinner
  • Exercise together
  • If haven’t seen them for a few days, make sure to keep in touch so that you still have support
  • If you don’t feel up to leaving the house, ask them to visit you at home