We may be past the peak of COVID-19 with lockdown just starting to ease, but now there’s the question of how to recover from coronavirus. I can speak on this from a number of perspectives, but for now, I want to focus on those of you who have had the virus. Particularly if you were seriously affected.
It can be really scary to have gotten an illness the world is trying to dodge right now. And a new illness the world is still learning about. It’s understandable if you have concerns.
So I want to share seven key things which are in your control to do to help your recovery. Given I am not a medical professional, the advice I share here is non-medical. It is based on my professional experience as a coach, research, and personal experience of serious illness. What I share here also applies to many of you who have dealt with another challenging illness or injury.
How to recover from coronavirus from a non-medical perspectiveIf you’re recovering from #COVID19 or another #seriousillness, here’s some things you can do to aid your recovery #wellness Click To Tweet
Take life gently
Your body has been through a lot. So you will naturally be moving more slowly and possibly experiencing some difficulty doing that. You won’t be able to do as much for a time.
This may piss you off. Or you may feel sad. Or something else. And there are a whole host of reasons why you may feel the way you do.
Your feelings are valid. Acknowledge them. But don’t unpack and live in the anger or sadness. Because you need that energy to help your healing.
To take life gently, you also need to do the following.
Adjust your expectations of yourself
Sometimes with illness we can expect ourselves to recover at a certain speed because we’ve got things we have to do or want to do. We can expect our bodies to function a certain way.
And when the recovery doesn’t happen at the rate we want or our bodies don’t function the way we expect, we can get upset with ourselves.
There’s a period after a tough illness call convalescence. And it’s become a bit of a lost art. Convalescence is that period when the worst of the illness is past, we do feel better but we are not yet able to return to normal every day activities with no issues. It can feel like a period of limbo, but convalescence is an important part of the healing process.
Because of the illness, your body has changed. So you have to work with that change. And that means you have to adjust your expectations of what you can do. Doing that doesn’t mean you are ‘less than’ as a person.
Your recovery may go up and down
It’s not uncommon in our society to expect our recovery to be a straight upwards trajectory from zero to hero in a specified period of time.
The reality is often different.
You may have some good days where you feel better and then some days when you feel you are getting worse. If the latter, make sure you have a number to call to get medical advice from your GP, consultant or nurse so you can check with them if there is anything you need to do.
It can be difficult to say how long it will take you to recovery from coronavirus. Every person is different. Some recover quickly, some take more time. Your body will let you know what it needs. You need to listen to it and give it the time it needs to recover.
Look after yourself and your needs
When you’re trying to figure out how to recover from coronavirus or another serious illness, this is one of the key skills you need. It’s so important. And it’s a skill you can develop. In my coaching practice, I’ve helped a lot of people to do that after serious illness.
Start with the basics – sleep + nourishing food + liquid + gentle activity.
Get as much sleep as you and your body needs. If you need to sleep 12-14 hours, do that if you are able to. Appreciate that may be difficult if you also have to look after children.
Eat a balanced diet. Avoid the sugary and processed foods. Your body needs nourishing food to heal.
Drink plenty of liquids. Alcohol may not mix well with any medications you are on, so watch the intake of that.
If you have the energy, a gentle activity like walking around the house or your garden if you have one may be ok. But do check with your doctor first.
Other gentle activities like watching favourite tv programmes, reading, playing a card game, doing puzzles, knitting, etc. can help pass the time in a healthy way whilst you recover. Choose activities you enjoy.
Put guilt to one side
To look after yourself and your needs you often have to put guilt to one side. Or if you cannot put it to one side you, you have to hold it as you also hold on to your needs and look after them.To look after yourself and your needs when you’re recovering from a #seriousillness it helps to put guilt to one side #wellness Click To Tweet
Acknowledge any anxiety you’re feeling
Sometimes after a serious illness your anxiety levels may be a lot higher. I’ve personally experienced this. Being seriously ill is hard enough in the acute phase. After you leave the acute phase of a serious illness and you enter the convalescence stage, anxiety can make an experience. And you’re thinking, ‘Now I have to deal with this???’
Anxiety is an understandable response to the difficulties you have experienced and an uncertain future. When you’ve had a serious illness like COVID-19, it’s a lot to hold.
When anxiety appears, noticing 3-5 tangible items near you can help you ground yourself. You can also breathe in for 4 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds to help regulate your nervous system. This can help you reduce the anxiety to a level where you can respond mindfully to it.
Reach out for support to help you recover from coronavirus
When you reach out for support, what you’re doing is getting help to hold all that you’re dealing with. You don’t have to hold it all by yourself anymore. That relieves some of the pressure.
Getting support to find ways to respond mindfully to anxiety and the issues you’re dealing with in a way that works for you helps to relieve the pressure further.
Your energy is then more freed up to focus on your recovery.
What’s it like for you?
What advice on how to recover from coronavirus resonates with you? Which pieces of advice may be easier for you to implement, which ones less so? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).
If you have had COVID-19 or are caring for someone who is recovering from it, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.
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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020