Recovering from COVID
We wanted to share with you the words of one of our first patients, Jo to have the COVID-19 virus and the journey of her recovery. Her first symptom was hip pain, not a cough, not temperature but joint pain and this is now becoming a more frequent presentation. It is well documented in the press that those who have been hospitalised will need physio rehab to get strong again but this blog written by Jo as she recovers will be helpful to the thousands of people who get the virus more mildly and yet who find themselves frustrated by just how long it takes to recover. Please feel free to share this story to reassure the people who are slow to recover that this is normal and they must take time to heal. Jo is qualified in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and a qualified yoga teacher helping people with anxiety, stress, living with pain, a host of stress-related illnesses or those just wanting to feel calmer. She is well placed to share with us her thoughts on how she has coped with this horrid virus.
Notes from Knutsford Road, recovering from COVID19 2nd May 2020
7 weeks ago today I took to my bed with what my GP told me was ‘most likely’ to be Corona Virus. Like many people (hundreds of thousands I suspect) I have not been tested and count myself lucky that it wasn’t worse. However, experiences like mine are not covered in the media; neither is recovery and how to aid it.
Initially, I was in bed for 2 weeks with extreme fatigue, occasional spikes in temperature and the odd cough, plus acute hip and back pain which made it hard to move about. I thought that was unconnected until Angela Jackson of Physio fit suggested it was probably viral arthritis linked to COVID19.
After a couple of weeks, I started to feel better and thought, ‘Great, I can spring clean the house, write some workshops for clients, and generally get on with things’ however after 4 hours of sitting at my computer fatigue kicked in again and it was back to bed.
This is the thing about COVID19. It has a long tail, I am glad to be through the worse but 7 weeks on I am having to pace myself carefully and recognise that recovery could be as long as 3 months. I still need 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night and cannot plan more than one work and one exercise activity a day or my body goes on strike. For someone who usually has boundless energy, this is a real trial, the head wants to get on with things and the body says ‘no’!
I’m told by medical friends that COVID19 affects the ability of red blood cells to take up oxygen (hence the fatigue) and this can take 3 months to right itself, but we are all somewhat in the dark as this is such a new virus. However, I have found some things to be an aid to recovery and here they are;
1. Mindset, be realistic with yourself. If you have had COVID19 and are recovering, you have dodged a bullet. Understand that it will take time to feel back to normal and although it’s an old-fashioned notion, allow yourself a period of convalescence. Ironically lockdown may make this easier to achieve.
2. Sleep as much as you can. Aim to be in bed earlier than normal and allow yourself naps during the day, this is part of what your body needs for full recovery.
3. Supplements - now is the time to take supplements to aid recovery and boost energy. I take magnesium, zinc, Vit C, Vit D and Co Q10.
4. Take care of your mental health and well-being. This is the perfect time to start a mindfulness meditation practice or consider an online course, there are clinically proven models which are shown to reduce anxiety, boost immunity, help with pain relief and enable you to feel calmer. I have been practicing mindfulness for 30 minutes each day for the last 15 years and it has supported me through some difficult times. Some practices can be done lying in bed and they can be particularly helpful when you feel unwell.
5. Yoga can help with energy and mood. There are many free online yoga classes but make sure to take one for beginners if you are new to yoga and pace yourself. Similarly with walking, as I recover I plan for either one walk per day and 30 minutes of gentle yoga, on good days I manage both, some days neither.
6. Most importantly, listen to your body, tune into it and let it tell you what it can manage. It takes a little practice as the mind always shouts louder than the body and maybe telling you to ‘just get on with it!’. However, paying attention and taking care of yourself as you recover from this virus will pay dividends for your health and well-being in the long run.
If you feel that you might benefit from learning some of these techniques, Jo can be contacted directly on:
Mindfulness teacher, therapist and yoga teacher