Background: Self‐care enables patients in improving quality of life and reducing hospital admissions. Research explored the experiences of patients about breathlessness, sleep problems and complication management in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the self‐care experiences and the role of the family in self‐care are underexplored. Objectives: This study aimed to understand the self‐care experiences of patients with COPD and explore the role of the family in self‐care. Methods: An interpretive phenomenological inquiry was used, and 13 patients were interviewed in 2019 from two hospitals in Pakistan. The inclusion criteria were patients above 30 years of age at any stage of COPD, who received a confirmed diagnosis of COPD and were receiving the treatment, and engaged in self‐care at their homes or communities. The interviews lasted for 35–60 min. Ricoeur's interpretation theory was used for data analysis comprising steps explanation, naive understanding and in‐depth understanding. Results: Self‐care emerged as a complex individual and familial endeavour affected by personal, social and economic factors. Poverty was one of the core determinants of self‐care. Patients emphasised the spiritual, cultural and traditional approaches to self‐care. Conclusions: Future research is warranted to develop better understanding of spiritual and cultural self‐care and how these dimensions of self‐care affect patients' self‐care behaviours.