In early July I contracted Covid. With cases rising I would like to share what I believe helped make my experience shorter and more bearable.
For one, please note that my experience is my experience. I had symptoms, some people do not. My symptoms lasted for about 10 days, some individuals have symptoms for 17+ days. It varies with each individual. If you get it, your experience is your own and as with many things judging yourself in regards to your experience vs others is not helpful and I highly recommend not doing that along with not doing any google searches while sick. Stay off the interwebs...for real.
Here's what I experienced in regards to symptoms:
-Awoke one morning with a severe headache. Thought it was dehydration as it went away with water and fluids. Was also constipated this day. Looking back, this should be a 'stay home' sign but as a society we normalize working and moving through life when not feeling 100%. Taking a day off is okay and needs to be normalized/accepted. As a trainer who preaches this to her clients, I need to take my own advice.
-Pretty intense back and hip pain. Again, I ignored this on day one as I had done some intense lifts the day before and thought I was merely sore. Three nights of no sleep because of said pain was quite unusual though and so then I knew something was up. That's when I got tested
-Low energy. I slept for 11 hours most nights.
-Lack of appetite. Never lost taste or smell but had no desire to eat.
Things that helped me prior to Covid: consistent exercise + nourishment through real food and supplements + breath work + meditation.
Consistent Exercise: Ya'll know my take on exercise and my belief that we need daily movement of some sort. It should vary in intensity and ultimately make you feel good, not wrecked and destroyed...challenged, yes, but again, not wrecked and destroyed. My exercise routine has been the most consistent it has ever been. I absolutely believe that my commitment to exercise is what keeps me healthy and free of sickness, and in this case, helped to reduce the duration and severity of Covid.
Nourishment Through Real Food & Supplements: I have been an intuitive eater for a few years now but a few months prior to getting Covid I had started to incorporate tracking in order to make sure I was getting enough protein. I was way behind on protein and had been making a conscious effort to hit 145g per day (my own unique goal). I believe that this focus on adequate protein consumption contributed to a strong system, reduced duration with Covid, and more importantly, a faster recovery.
I do also take supplements as our food supply is not nearly as nutrient rich as it used to be. I will spare you on all the supplements that I take, but the ones that I believe helped me have a shorter battle with Covid and aided in my recovery are:
-Vitamin C granules added to my morning protein shake
-Vitamin D3 x 10, 000 units per day
-Zinc taken prior to bed with a small snack (otherwise upsets my stomach)
-Protein powder to help me reach my protein goal daily. For those that have asked, I swap between Iconic Grass Fed Whey and Organifi which is a plant based powder.
Supplements that I added to my routine during Covid that help with respiratory function, which may be why it never hit my lungs:
-Olive Leaf Extract
Breath Work: There's research supporting use of nasal breathing and prevention of what's been deemed long-haul Covid. How so? Well, specifically during exercise, those that jump immediately into hyperventilation have a higher risk of long-haul Covid. Not knowing any of this prior, I have been dedicated to improving my breathing during exercise, aiming to be in nasal breathing for as long as I can maintain it, allowing myself to get uncomfortable and adjusting pace/intensity as needed, and becoming a more comfortable, well adjusted nasal breather. Now this isn't me saying hyperventilation during exercise is a bad thing. What I am saying is that jumping from normal breathing right into hyperventilation can be out trained and there can be a more empowered way of breathing, using a cadence that's appropriate for each activity at hand.
Meditation: Lots came up for me during this time. Meditation helped to keep me centered...or at least kept bringing me back to 'I am safe'.
I did not exercise until symptoms passed. This was at first a challenge and then I surrendered and just let myself heal. Ultimately this was one of my best decisions as I was able to focus what energy I did have on recovery. When I resumed exercise, I did so in a manner that honored my body in every damn way possible. If it said stop, I stopped. I used lighter weights or no weights at all. I did not do anything higher in intensity. I also aimed to walk daily, increasing my steps as my energy increased.
I talked to my Mom and those I hold dear to my heart. Support during this time was paramount. Food deliveries and get well packages from friends had me sobbing (I was pretty emotional during this time). I also found it super helpful to talk with my friends who had experienced Covid.
All in all, I sit here and continue to be in a whirl wind of thoughts and emotions. There is so much tension in our world right now around all of this and I will continue to come back to a place of love and gratitude. I refuse to point fingers, I refuse to be angry at individuals for their choices. We are actually all in this together and hate and shame will do nothing to speed our recovery.