Conserving Your Energy
Learning how to conserve your energy for the everyday things you “have” to do, will enable you to have more energy for the things you “want” to do.
- Consider the best time and the best way to accomplish tasks.
- Try using the same method each time you do an activity.
- Avoid unnecessary steps by gathering what you need before you start.
- Get a cart with wheels to transport laundry, groceries, etc.
- Do not do back-to-back tasks that will require a lot of energy—give yourself time to rest in between.
- Schedule your days so that the most important tasks get done before you run low on energy.
- If you’re not having a “good” day, forget about the tasks - rest and take care of yourself. ALWAYS make YOU your top priority.
USE BREATHING TECHNIQUES
- Pursed-lip breathing allows your lungs to work more efficiently and will help to minimize shortness of breath with activity.
- When you do feel short of breath, STOP what you are doing and concentrate on doing pursed-lip breathing.
- Exhale during the exertion phase of an activity.
- If you use supplemental oxygen, use it with all activity, i.e.: showering, grocery shopping, making the bed, etc. Turn the liter flow up to your exercise flow rate.
- Maintain a slow, steady pace, rather than rushing.
- Take rest breaks throughout an activity and between tasks.
- Choose the most comfortable position possible for all tasks.
- Sit down whenever possible.
- Avoid bending and reaching overhead whenever possible—when you must, don’t forget to exhale as you bend over and as you reach.
- Try to push or slide equipment rather than carry or lift it.
- Simplify tasks as much as possible.
- Go slowly and pace yourself.
- ALWAYS do pursed-lip breathing with any exertion.
- Use supplemental oxygen with all tasks at prescribed liter flow.
- Fatigue is normal, but exhausting yourself is not ok.
- Sit down whenever you can—when shaving, putting on make-up, showering, etc.
- Use hypoallergenic cosmetics.
- Use an electric toothbrush.
- Do not use aerosol hairsprays or deodorants.
- Keep all grooming items in an area that is easy for you to get to without having to reach or bend—you may want to keep them in a basket so that they stay together.
- Take good care of your teeth. Infected or broken teeth can lead to poor nutrition, and an abscessed tooth or gum disease (gingivitis) can lead to a lung infection.
- Make sure that your clothing is not tight around your chest or waist.
- When putting on your shoes and socks—be sure to exhale through pursed-lips when bending. If possible, place foot across lap or place it upon a chair. When bending, be sure to move leg to the side, so that you continue to have good chest expansion. There are devices to assist in putting your socks on.
- Consider getting elastic shoelaces—this will enable you to slide in and out of your shoes without having to tie or untie your laces. A long-handled shoehorn can be really help when putting on your shoes.
- Use a bath chair in your shower or bathtub.
- Exchange old showerhead for a hand-held one. This will allow you to regulate water flow and keep the water off of your face.
- If steam/humidity is a problem, turn down the water temperature and use fans, open a window just a bit, and leave bathroom door open.
- Be sure to have grab bars and no-skid strips in your shower/tub to prevent a possible fall.
- Use a long handled bath brush. You will be able to reach legs, feet and back without having to bend or reach.
- Have a large towel or a hooded terrycloth bathrobe turned inside out on a hook next to shower. Wrap it around you and sit down with feet on a soft bath rug. Do pursed-lip breathing and allow yourself to rest as you dry.
- If on oxygen, use it at exercise flow rate while bathing/showering.
- Use lightweight equipment. Handheld vacuum for small jobs, long-handled lambs wool duster, self-propelled vacuum, Swiffer dust mop or cloths.
- Have an all-purpose cleaner that you can use in a spray bottle.
- Keep supplies together in a basket or cart under each sink.
- Try to keep dust at a minimum—when dusting or vacuuming, it is a good idea to wear a mask.
- When pushing a vacuum, exhale through pursed-lips when pushing, stop, inhale through nose and then exhale as you resume pushing.
- Always have paper towels handy—in the bathrooms and in the kitchen. They are great for quick clean-ups, and will keep areas clean longer.
- Keep the number of pots, pans, utensils etc, to a minimum.
- Use energy saving equipment such as: toaster oven, electric frying pan, electric can opener, electric mixer, microwave oven, blender, crock pot, and food processor
- Keep these items on the counter or within easy reach in cupboards.
- Keep paper towels and small wastepaper baskets lined with plastic bags placed at strategic spots in your kitchen for immediate clean up and disposal.
- Do not use oxygen around a gas stove.
- If possible, prepare soups, stews, spaghetti sauce in large portions when you are having a good day, and then put them in individual freezer containers that you can put in the microwave on a day you are not feeling as well.
- When preparing a meal, THINK:
- how can I minimize steps, effort in preparation, and clean-up
- how can I minimize lifting, twisting, bending, chopping, etc
- On the day you shop, you may want to eat out, or use one of your frozen meals.
- Before going to the grocery store, clear a space in the refrigerator and freezer, so that when you return home, you can wheel your groceries inside in your cart, and put the bags in the spaces you cleared. You can arrange them later when you are rested.
- Leave the non-perishable items in the car until later.
- Map out the supermarket with a list, and always use a cart, even if you are getting one or two items.
- Ask to have your groceries bagged lightly in bags with handles.
- Ask for same kind of items to be bagged together to make it easy to put bags in the refrigerator or freezer. Sort later when you are rested.
- When possible, shop by catalog or on your computer.
- If you need to go to the department store for clothing, ask for a Personal Shopper. You will need to make an appointment. There is NO charge for this service and they will do most of the work for you.
- Always phone ahead to see if an item you are looking for is in the store.
- Consider banking online from your computer.
- When walking and shopping increase your oxygen liter flow to your exercise rate.
LAUNDRY AND IRONING
- Use mesh laundry bags for your underwear and socks—you can hang them on a hook in your closet.
- Sit on a stool to take clothes out of the dryer.
- Sit down to fold clothes.
- When ironing, sit at an adjustable ironing board and use a lightweight, easy to use iron.
- Pushing or pulling a heavy door should be done while exhaling. Position your body close to the door and lean with your whole body against the door.
- If you are lifting something, be sure to exhale as you lift.
- When changing body position, rest after each move if necessary. Exhale when you move from lying down to sitting. Rest before you stand to be sure you are not dizzy, and then exhale as you stand up.
- Stand still for a moment before you start to walk. Make sure both feet are pointed in the direction you want to go.