I have been a bit of a bum the last few days.
Oh, I’ve still gone to my pulmonary rehabilitation and made myself go to the gym. But out side of that, my posterior has been parked in front of my computer playing a video game.
Which really cuts down on ones productivity. And is why I’ve not wrote any thing new in a few days. I mean I’d love to blame the internet being down or something, but yeah. All me.
The reason I’ve been playing so much… Spending time with friends.
As pulmonary diseases take over our lives. It can be so easy to spend less and less time with family and friends. It’s hard work to lug that O2 around. Sure they tell you its only eight pounds. But neglect to tell you it’ll feel like 50!
Making the time to connect with others is so important. Whether physically sick or in perfect health. So when some friends who live three hours away said they would be spending a few literal days playing a game online… I dusted off my headset and logged in to go on an adventure with them.
Good friends and family are good for your health. Period.
- They boost Happiness (Which can be in short supply while fighting a disease.)
- Help reduce your stress (Illness can cause soooo much stress)
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth. (Yes you still have value.)
- Help you cope with traumas. (Pulmonary issues count.)
- Encourage you to keep fighting your illness.
- Play a significant role in promoting overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). All things our pulmonary doctors look at every time we see them.
Don’t let your illness steal your social life. Yes it can be frustrating, not being able to get out and do the things you used to. I don’t know how many hours I spent in the front room wishing I was out doing anything else. (Don’t be like me. I dislike that chair now.)
But just because you can’t paint the town read doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.
- Phone Calls: If it doesn’t drop your Oxygen levels to low to talk. (It did me.) Than call up your friends. Sure life gets busy, but set a regular time to talk. Like every Thursday afternoon or last Friday of the month. Even if you only talk once a week or once a month you will feel more connected.
- Email: I am terrible about checking my email. Mainly because it’s usually a bunch of junk filling up my in box. But it’s always nice to see the occasional note from a friend hidden in the spam.
- Text: A small group of my closet friends from college and I, have a group text that has been going for years. Its a great way to share random thoughts and ideas with each other.
- Social media: Stalk your friends online. Seriously. Don’t be afraid to like their post. Comment your thoughts and ask them questions about how their lives are going.
- Snail Mail: Cards are great, but beyond the initial fuzzy feeling of being remembered they just kind of take up space. (Feel free to disagree with me.) But letters (okay… or card with an actual note in them.) are kinda magical. Who doesn’t enjoy finding a hand writing letter from a loved ones amongst the bills and junk advertisements?
- Invite friends over: If its hard to go out. Stay in with friends. Watch a movie. Play a game. Order out. I was very lucky to have a group of friends that continued to come see me regularly once my I.P.F started getting real bad. They didn’t care about the house being spotless or not. They didn’t mind sitting around chatting.
I know this might sound easier said then done. But trust me. It is worth the effort.
Yes some friends (and family) are going to disappear once your illness becomes a burden to “them”. Don’t worry about those people. The ones worth having around will stick around. And don’t assume that just because you don’t hear from someone. That it means they’ve given up on you.
Illnesses can make people unsure about what to do or how to behave. All they may need, is for you to make the first move. So that they know it is okay to stay connected with you.
Friendship goes both ways. So pick up that smart phone log in and stay connected to those you care about. It’ll make this illness so much more tolerable. It has for mine.