Have you had CoVid, and wondered why, weeks later, you’re still not back to your old self?
You may well be suffering from “long CoVid”, or “post CoVid”, and the after-effects of the virus.
I had covid about 8 weeks ago and the last of the symptoms, my fuzzy tongue, and ongoing fatigue really only began to shift in the last couple of weeks. This prolonged healing time is not uncommon for most viruses, but many of us have become much more aware of this part of the healing and recovery journey, since CoVid’s arrival. Just because you are no longer contagious and can return to work, does not mean that your body is fully recovered from the virus or the effects your body has weathered in defending itself against it.
Symptoms of the virus do seem to be different
Symptoms of the virus do seem to be different for everyone. They are often strongest in your individual body’s “weak” spots and tend to be the expression of where the virus is sitting in your body and has managed to get a foothold. The main symptoms I had initially, were a fuzzy edge around my whole tongue, skin irritation, sore neck, fever, inflamed glands, and fatigue. For a few days, I also had aches throughout my whole body. I was fortunate and only suffered those for a few days.
The all-encompassing fatigue was the worst. As a massage therapist, interacting regularly with numerous other people, I had to watch my energy levels. I love my clients with all my heart, even so, when my resilience levels are low, especially as an introvert, there is a finite number of people I can manage to work with each day, without feeling drained. For me, it was about prioritising my effectiveness with my clients. Meaning keeping my energy levels up. This meant that for a period of time, I couldn’t see as many clients as I usually would. This obviously had a business-level impact, but it also impacted me, as just an individual. So, to maximise my effectiveness with and for clients, my focus, my concentration, and my attitude, which all consume energy, and still have enough energy to cope with the rest of my life, I had become deliberate about what I did and didn’t do. I had to learn how to take my self-care and energy management habits to the next level.
This blog is about the things I learned along the way, and what we, the team at BlossomingMe, are now focusing on, to take even better care of ourselves and our clients, through the post-CoVid healing journey. Much of these actions and habits can also be applied to times when you go through any big changes in life. Whether it’s a virus, like Glandular Fever/ Epstein Barr virus, auto-immune reactions like Urticaria, or other skin reactions, or other life-changing events or stressors like moving house or having a baby. Especially in the postpartum period, close to delivery, when your body goes through more changes, in readjusting to no longer being pregnant, these actions and routines can help you feel better and recover more quickly.
Low Energy Levels
One of the first indications I had, that I was still suffering low energy and the general symptoms of “long CoVid”, was my business partner asking me, three mornings in a row, “what was wrong?”, “was everything ok?”. Whilst in the moment, this didn’t help, in that, it drew my attention to the negative emotions I was feeling, rather than helping me find and focus on the positive ones that were also there. It did make me realise that there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. That I hadn’t recovered as fully as I had thought. My resilience was still low and I wasn’t coping with challenges as well as I usually might.
One reason that managing my energy levels was, and still is, important is the effect that my energy levels, and therefore my resilience levels, have on my attitude. Like the spike proteins that are what allow the Coronaviruses to penetrate the host cells in our body and cause the infection, (https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Spike-Proteins.aspx), my personality became very prickly. Protecting my mental attitude, in order to lower my defensiveness and reduce my prickliness, as well as to increase my resilience and ability to cope when things around me didn’t go to plan, became a mission.
Minimising the number of people I saw
Managing my energy levels was a multifold process. One aspect was managing people interactions, another was supporting and nurturing my body through its physical and emotional healing, and the third was maintaining my precious, positive headspace.
The people aspect, I managed basically by staying close to work and home. Keeping quiet and keeping close interactions with people to a minimum. Not being in crowds of people, not even for my birthday. This was really trimmed down to basically immediate family and clients only. Both lockdown and naturally being an introvert, certainly helped a lot with this.
Reducing the number of projects and ultimately tasks
Just like I deliberately minimised the number of people I saw, or more specifically, emotionally connected with, to keep my energy levels high. I came to realise just how much multitasking really does not equal multi-focusing. The process of focusing my concentration became a much more deliberate, intentional, and conscious one.
I found reducing my focus from broad to laser-focused hard because my natural bent is big picture and historically, details have not been my forte. In fact, they often downright scare and overwhelm me. However, whilst big picture thinking has its uses, when my energy was limited, what I really needed, was to focus on getting specific tasks done and completed.
I began learning to reduce the number of projects and ultimately tasks I was trying to do at once. As Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
I started to concentrate on breaking the projects down into bite-sized tasks. Small enough that I could action without overwhelming myself and freaking out or feeling completely exhausted and beaten before I’d even started. This process didn’t happen overnight and if I’m honest, is one that I am still learning.
One strategy is organising my week, at least mostly at the beginning of the week, so that the most important projects or tasks are prioritised and done. Another is to protect my headspace more, whilst I actually do these tasks. One way that helped me both organise my week better and protect my headspace, as I’d heard so many times before, was to set up business sprints. Short bursts of focused time, usually about 60-90 minutes each. The times for each of these sprints and what each one was dedicated to doing, were noted in my calendar and eventually even on my Trello board. This strategy helped me immensely, to structure my time and my focus so that I could keep the main thing, the main thing. It helped me lift the energy drain from feeling scattered and directionless and save my energy for my main focuses, my family, and my clients.
As well as consciously setting up, and learning to use these sprints of time, I used some of the spaces between them and clients, to clear my mind. Meditation is something I’ve been doing for a few years. My favourite styles are simple. Either repeating mantras or listening to guided visualisations. As Adam Fraser talks about in his book, “The Third Space”, (reading is another favourite relaxing and nurturing activity of mine) these spaces between activities became very valuable, in helping me to change my focus. They were especially useful when I ran into things like roadblocks in trying to solve a computer or technology issue. They helped me to separate mentally, from the issue and frustration around it, before stepping into a session with a client. So that I was able to leave the discomfort of dealing with machines, as well as my anxiety and prickliness, from the issue remaining unresolved, outside. That way I could also focus on the specific problems for the client at hand, and the joy of finding solutions for them.
Working with these strategies deliberately, step by step has helped me come out of my Post-CoVid recovery with a stronger mindset. So that I feel more in charge.
Self-nurturing and Supplementing
From a physical health perspective, one of the questions that came up for me was “can I accept nurturing from others… yet?” for example an osteopathy treatment or remedial massage. To be honest, this may take a while to return. It certainly took me longer than I expected. Even as a touchy-feely massage therapist myself, as well as a generally huggy person, although I still definitely enjoyed a simple, long hug from my hubby, I did not feel the desire to be nurtured so much by others. Particularly not being touched much by others. I did have an osteopathic treatment a couple of weeks ago, to support my body’s healing, but it’s really only now, 8 weeks later, that I’m looking for a massage myself.
Self-nurturing, on the other hand, was very powerful and really felt like an essential part of my healing. What worked really well for me were frequent baths. Both simple, Epsom salt foot baths, and full-body soaks in detox baths. Using an easy, homemade recipe designed by our osteopath. These really helped to ease not only my body aches but my mental and emotional irritability and smooth my sharp edges around people, as well. They were also instrumental in helping me to regain and maintain my positive attitude as well as rebuild my resilience.
Supplementing with vitamins and herbs, such as Echinacea, especially at the beginning, can be very helpful in supporting your immune system to deal with the invading virus. While antioxidants like vitamin C, garlic, can work very well for your immune system longer term. Zinc can help the vitamin C be absorbed, and work better in your body. And finally, NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) can amplify the effectiveness of the anti-oxidants and can be particularly helpful to your body in clearing out the spikey proteins, that the virus left behind.
This is how we take care of our clients
and encourage them to take care of themselves, post-CoVid, as well as post-childbirth, moving house and any number of other stressful events you may have experienced.
We would love to take care of you. Either through the process, if you so choose, or, you know, once you’ve resolved these initial symptoms.
Our specialised Remedial Massage Therapist and Osteopath offer a fully integrated approach which assesses and addresses the specific issues in your body.
With a clear understanding of your goals, we treat both mind and body to help you live your best life.