Updated: Jan 21
So finally I caught the virus. It was going to happen with someone else in my house with it.
The aches, the loss of smell and taste, the temperature, sore throat and on top of that, the anxiety that comes with weeks off closed to the world in isolation.
I feel this wretched virus has had way too much attention! The summer for me was the final straw as we'd have the radio on and every hour ( or when ever it is) the stern message of virus guidelines would blare out. It got a bit depressing and I now only tune in to the news when I need to see which tier we're in or when updates change.
So given that little intro, I wanted to share ways to help beat Coronavirus quicker, let's face it, it is a flu after all. It can be quite a worry not only for us but family and friends ( especially close to us ones who are at risk.) but there are ways to recover quicker ( I believe!).
The misery of being ill is bad enough and to retain our sense of sanity is so key for our health and well being.
As I write, I'd say I'm 90% back with my sense of smell and taste and with no more aches.
During the second week of isolation it was hit and miss as one day I would be totally fine then the next would be absolutely floored with exhaustion. I have heard from friends that tiredness can linger on for up to as long as 6 weeks! Others have commented on how in 7 months their sense of smell has not fully recovered. To also put this in perspective, I had family members only in bed for 1 day and another with no symptoms whatsoever. So there's no formula to this.
1) First things first, Don't Panic!
It's way to easy to get stressed with Covid and the first thing that is really important is to rest.
Stress effects the immune system and puts it under more strain, so its important to catch yourself if your thoughts start to go a bit wild.
Lets face it, the virus news is everywhere. The best thing you can do is roll over and sleep!
Sleep helps the body fight better as it can do a lot more in restoration while we are out.
I had the unfortunate situation of having lots of NHS calls, I had so many texts, emails and phone calls ( for my kid as well as myself) and I found it quite stressful. I understand they are trying to keep us safe and tell us to isolate and to identify who we had been in touch with but what they didn't know was that we were already in isolation so already at home for 2 weeks prior! So I finally got to a point of telling the NHS agents to put some notes down to leave me alone as I had to recover.
All house chores stopped, admin and everything else can wait. If you are working pre- Covid then a quick message to bosses to say you will need to recover, and then switch off the phone! Being stressed slows down recovery and is not great for the immune system.
Watch what you take in. The news and radio was far too depressing for me. I had to limit the intake of that. So guard that rest time at all costs, it could reduce your days in bed.
2) Sip drinks to keep hydrated
So on the first day of feeling poorly, I had a random call from a homeopath that had an appointment scheduled for me from another medical situation and after telling her that I needed o reschedule, she proceeded to tell me all the vitamins, minerals to take and tips on how to relieve breathing difficulties. She had told me that she had it way back in March and that she had recovered but only just got her smell back 7 months later. Well, what an assurance that was! She advised that Vitamin D, C and Zinc were good for immune and good to have a supply to hand. Other tip was to have a white onion handy and to cover that in a muslin and put on chest if ever I was to struggle with breathing. I had heard about poultices before so was aware of what they do. A poultice is a cloth that holds either herbs, foods to the skin so that it can bring down inflammation. I recently bought the book Kitchen Medicine it is full of wonderful easy to make recipes and tips showing natural ways to self heal. The author Jane suggests chopping raw or slightly cooked onion on a muslin or bandage and rest it on the chest. Raw onion can irritate the skin so for children or sensitive skins, do cook it a bit first and it can be mixed with oatmeal or flour to thicken. Being a keen forager I also love the Hedgerow Medicine book too. Again easy recipes to follow with easily accessible to hedgerow herbs.
3) Dealing with loss of smell and taste
This was a total shocker as I had never had this experience before, I only realized that I couldn't smell a thing when I couldn't smell my essential oils. It's a pretty scary experience.
So my first thought - do not panic! I sort of did and had to do some mindset work on myself as in recite to myself - this is only temporal and not forever. I had to repeat the thought over and over. Thinking too much doesn't help sleep either which is what the body needs to do it's work. A few days later thankfully my smell did come back gradually. If you find that the sense of smell and taste is taking much longer to come back, do sniff different strong smelling scents such as oranges, vinegar, coffee or herbs such as cinnamon daily. This helps get the olfactory systems going again which also works with the limbic system which is part of brain that linked to emotions and memory. I find essential oils help and am a big fan of Young Living for their therapeutic grade oils range. Thieves ( a blend of cloves, Lemon, cinnamon bark, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary) called R.C ( blend of 3 types of Eucalyptus, Myrtle, Pine, Lavender cypress, Tsugo (coniferous) and Peppermint.) Power packed for their joint anti bacterial, anti viral, anti catarrhal, anti septic qualities, these 2 power house oils kept me going! I was also gifted a box of Ningxia Red Pure Wolfberry ( Goji) berry juices and that is packed with high Vitamin C content so a boost too. Essential oils are the biggest component of my natural medicine cabinet and I think warrants a blog on it's own. So contact me should you be interested to know more of these products. Plant based & natural and I have used these from dealing with growing pains to nits to Covid. Essential oils are an essential to me indeed!
4) Do ask for help
Being a highly self sufficient person, its hard to accept help from others at times, when neighbors and friends offered to get the odd ingredient from the supermarket, I had to swallow my pride and say yes please, milk, eggs and bananas would be lovely!
We had Covid as a family during lockdown so I used all the local suppliers that had changed their businesses to deliver and it was good to support those restaurants & suppliers too! There are also NHS volunteers who can help with shopping pick ups and we had a local voluntary group near us too. There are great communities out there who are keen to support.
5) Fresh air, sunlight & some free vitamin D
We all know this one, but doing it is something else. Now, now, I'm going to be strict on this one, Vitamin D is showing quite key in recovery in Covid ( and easily accessible). So much that the government is now scaling out Vitamin D to support the vulnerable.
Being outside is free. That's free vitamin D for the taking.
It was cold when I sat out, but I put a big warm hat on and wrapped a blanket round me and inhaling fresh air was as good as a good tonic. Did a world of good, even just 15-20 minutes, can make all the difference. Believe it or not it, it can help with sleep too, as being out first thing can encourage the sleep hormone melatonin into production earlier so can help massively with sleep.
6) Don't deal with anything too stressful
Unless there is super pressing issue, most things can wait. The outside world can wait. Even if bits of admin needing attending then a brief email or message can stop the world a bit ( Let's face it -what hasn't Covid stopped in the world?)
The point is, most people will understand if you need to rest and recover. Again, if something is really important maybe enlist the help of friends or family. My thoughts are if anyone was in need, I would do the same it's how the world works. The isolation part can be a real worry especially if it affects income. For some, there is government help too financially so do ask the NHS agents who call to check on you or the government website. Keep things simple & don't stress!
7) Eat easy, healthy foods
My go to food when I'm run down or ill is soup. Soup makes all the ingredients easy to digest and liquids get absorbed into the body faster so it helps that little bit more. ( no chewing required!) The foods & ingredients that I have found were helpful were bananas, oranges, garlic, onions, turmeric ginger, chilies. A lot of the spicy foods keep the circulation going and are anti inflammatory. As soon as my nurse friend heard I had Covid, she kindly gave me a tip to gargle with salt and turmeric water, morning and night. I think I did that once or twice but opted more to throw turmeric in my food! Try it if it works, these are again easily accessible in the shops & inexpensive. A favorite way to have turmeric is turmeric latte, stir in a large spoon of honey, a shake of turmeric in to hot milk and stir. It's delicious and full of goodness!
After finding out the dehydrating affects of coffee or caffeinated drinks, I've recently been having fresh herb teas, which are delicious! My daughter now calls it mums special tea, and loves it. I use fresh sage, mint. lemon balm, chamomile and even thyme and bay leaf! Either few leaves on their own or a blend. Be careful not to use too many leaves, only a few leaves as certain herbs can be very strong. It makes the tea a pale green color and is a wonderful way of having a warm healthy drink and of course, much more hydrating! Lastly, I cannot finish this section without mentioning probiotic foods, gut health is so vital for building immune system, foods like kefir. kombucha, sauerkraut, miso soup & live yoghurt are all good foods to help your gut!
8) Lastly, be prepared, it's not over until its really over!
There could be days when you wonder what hit you. I was fine one day, then next day I was achy and couldn't move with exhaustion. Lack of focus, achy, tired & chestiness. It isn't over until it's really over. Be kind to yourself. It's about 4 weeks since I've had Covid and I still take it relatively easy and not overdo it. Early nights, stay hydrated, bit of outside exercise for a walk, these are all little routines that I have adopted and have helped me for good. So thank you Covid, you've done some good too in making me realize we only get one go at this game called life. And I'm determined to make it the best life ever and I hope you do too!
Keep safe and healthy and lets see in the new year 2021 with a sense of renewed hope and greater wellness!
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- Please note the contents of this blog is not intended to diagnose, heal or provide medical advise and no responsibility will be taken for any actions taken from this written article and all experiences are the author's own.