Living with pulmonary fibrosis can make you feel sad, angry or worried about the future. You may have days that leave you feeling low and anxious, and other days where you feel more positive. COVID-19 and the introduction of lockdown has forced us to abandon our normal lifestyles.
Over the last few months, we have all tried to settle in as well as we can to the “new normal” and shielding. It is vital during this time not to neglect our own well-being. It can feel lonely and isolating, but there are tools and support networks that can help.
Our Support Line service is here to advise and assist you in any way we can. We have a new peer support service that offers a 1-1 chat with someone who has lived experience of pulmonary fibrosis, as well as a nurse practitioner who can answer any questions you might have – or just be as a listening ear as someone who understands your condition.
Elaine’s mum was diagnosed with PF in 2000 when information and support was thin on the ground. When her brother died and was found to also have PF Elaine came across Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and was amazed at how much more was available.
“When the pandemic started, I contacted APF to see what I could do. The training for the volunteers was great. Best of all was the mentoring offered after each call - I felt very supported throughout.”
Contact the APF team on email@example.com or call 01223785725
Support Groups are a great network to help you feel less alone with your circumstances. Even in periods of lockdown and shielding, these groups have evolved and developed so that they are completely accessible online via Zoom. Not sure how to access Zoom? We have a step-by-step guide.
Contact your local group organiser or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What helps those shielding in the APF Community?
We reached out to those in our community, to ask for personal tips that helped them whilst shielding:
“Be strong but remember none of us are bullet proof so talk to others when you’re feeling weak…"
You are stronger than you think, you can get through this, we all have our reasons to do so. You are not alone in this! Stay safe, keep smiling and be optimistic.
“Make sure you have plenty of hobbies to occupy your hands which also keeps your mind busy keeping negative thoughts at bay”
“As well as family/friends, try to keep in touch with your Support Group if you can. We at TPFSG have monthly Zoom meetings, and it's great to see those who can access it and have a catch up. Nobody understands better about how you're feeling, than those who are going through it too”
Mindfulness practices are designed to help people focus on their individual senses. By doing this, it allows you to take time to appreciate and become more aware of the world around you. The NHS states that this can help us find more enjoyment in daily life and learn more about ourselves.
This could be particularly helpful whilst shielding, if you are worrying about things or feeling isolated – to just take 5 moments to focus your mind on one thing and find a moment of calmness. There are lots of resources on easy ways to introduce mindfulness into your daily routine, with activities to suit all.
- An online course – is there something you’ve always wanted to learn?
- Re-watching your favourite films, or feel-good movies you haven’t seen before!
- Staying active by using exercise videos from The British Lung Foundation
- Learning how to cook a new recipe you haven’t tried before
This monthly calendar from Mind is an amazing tool that recommends daily activities to improve well-being.
The importance of reaching out for help