Post COVID: Retraining The Mind and Body
I never intended to offer multiple blog posts on dealing with COVID-19. Of course I never intended to contract COVID in the first place. But here I am offering you a fourth post on dealing with the virus. It is, of course, my perspective but from reader responses, I know sharing my experiences has helped a few people.
If you read my earlier posts, you know that I tested positive for COVID on March 20. I quarantined for ten days and continued to wear a mask afterward. I wore the mask for the comfort of others. I was feeing stronger every day. I was feeling so good I decided to go to the beach as planned. (I called it Saltwater Therapy.)
On Day 18 after testing positive, I hit a wall. I was lethargic. I felt overwhelmed. I tossed and turned at night. And I coughed.
Let’s start there: With the cough. The COVID cough for me has not been what I would call a productive cough. Usually, I cough because of congestion or a tickle in my throat. Now I cough for seemingly no reason. It just happens. If I cough too much my throat hurts.
I wasn’t home. I was in South Carolina. I started spontaneously coughing. I knew I had to do something.
A sip of water? Nope.
A cough drop? Didn’t help.
Hot drink? Cold drink? Nothing tamed the cough.
I threw my hands out as if to stop traffic. “Stop coughing,” I said out loud. “You don’t need to cough. It is not a productive cough. Don’t do it.”
And it worked. A little mind over matter? Perhaps. Will it work for everyone? I have no clue. For me it continues to help. I only share my experience in hopes of helping at least one other person.
Learning that I could control my cough gave me hope that perhaps I could regain control over other areas in my Life-After-COVID existence.
I was at the beach. I was finally feeling better. So what made me so restless and lethargic?
I eliminated the chips and snack foods. I limited my root beer (read: sugar) intake. And for those of you who know me, limiting my root beer is a tough one.
Next I put myself on a rigid eating schedule. I ate breakfast at 9:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5:00. I did not snack after dinner. If I thought I was hungry, I drank a glass of water. I know from past experiences that often when I think I’m hungry, I’m actually thirsty.
I went to bed at a decent hour and although I am not an advocate of watching television in bed, I turned on the television, found something to watch and went to sleep. The dialogue coming from the TV engaged my brain enough I didn’t think about…well, anything else. It worked. I became drowsy and most of the time, fell asleep even as I clicked the off button on the remote.
Most will argue these are healthy habits all the time. They would be right. The thing is, COVID disrupted my thinking.Healthy habits flew out the window when COVID flew in. Managing my emotional, mental, and physical health to overcome the side effects of COVID requires…at least for me…conscious and daily effort.
I’m sure there are many other strategies people have employed to cope with the virus. If you’ve had experiences dealing with the side effects of COVID, I would love to have you share them here. We are all in this together.