Fitness at 40+
Holistic Ways to Help You Recover from COVID
Despite all my best efforts, I came down with COVID. Here's what helped me get through it
In Ohio, where I live, sometimes you feel as if there isn’t even a pandemic going on now.
We do have a state-imposed mask mandate, but a good number of our residents continue to socialize (and not at a distance) in restaurants and bars, and many do not wear masks in the grocery store even though they are required to do so.
My mom, whom I take care of, has a rare autoimmune disease as well as asthma, so I was extremely paranoid about catching COVID all of last year. I frequently scanned the newspapers and listened to the radio, waiting for my county to migrate from orange to red. And when it did, I jumped out of society and hibernated indoors.
In New York, where my friend Holly resides, things are quite different. People are masked up, patrons socially distance at restaurants and bars, and the state has stringent testing requirements for those entering and exiting New York.
So, despite residing in two distinctly different Coronavirus realities, what do Holly and I share in common? We both caught COVID.
Despite being very cautious and diligent the vast majority of the time, we both contracted the virus by attending one small, intimate gathering. And not only did we get the virus, but we both caught a pretty bad case of it. (Both of us have no underlying health conditions.)
I was pretty much knocked off my feet for two months with respiratory problems, lingering fatigue, and the dull, perennial COVID headache. Holly, it seems, had it even worse, with shortness of breath, ringing in her ears, and concomitant brain fog that made it challenging to schedule (and remain on) conference calls.
And probably the worst thing about this virus — no one seems to know anything about it!
During this time, Holly and I texted constantly offering coping strategies and comparing literature searches. Although I was reluctantly on three rounds of meds, we were both searching for effective holistic measures we could take to facilitate recovery. We decided to compile some resources we discovered.
Of course, neither of us are health care professionals. We both know too well that COVID is a serious disease, and it should be treated under the supervision of a doctor. But we did do a good deal of research, and wanted to share what we found:
Wormwood supplements — Wormwood is an herb grown in Europe and North Africa. In fact, you might already be familiar with it as it is used in the spirit absinthe. But wormwood is also said to have powerful health benefits that can improve digestive health, help with pain management, reduce inflammation, and support the immune system.
I first learned about wormwood from my chiropractor who, unbeknownst to me, focuses not only on chronic back pain but on the body as a whole. According to Dr. Julie Emmert of Ragon Chiropractic Health Center, wormwood (also used to treat malaria in Africa) has antiviral properties and is something she specifically adds to her treatment plan for those afflicted with COVID. I took one wormwood supplement twice a day for four weeks and saw a dramatic improvement in my overall condition.
Yoga and meditation — Yoga and meditation help reduce stress and promote relaxation. According to my yoga instructor Marisa Turner, Founder of Joy Yoga, COVID is now known to affect the parasympathetic nervous system, and the best type of yoga to restore the immune system and bring your body back into balance is yoga nidra — a form of guided meditation that focuses on resting each part of the body. In addition, restorative yoga where you lay in relaxing poses also helps you get that rest. Turner also focuses on “heart openers” in her yoga practice to boost the immune system.
Vitamins — According to Dr. Emmert, a good starting place to bolster your immune system is by supplementing your diet with some critical vitamins including Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Omega-3 fish oils. I was taking all of these proactively before I got sick and, in fact, learned a lot more about immune system boosting supplementation through CoveyClub’s webinar. Finally, another supplement Dr. Emmert recommends to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system is black currant oil.
Hot baths — Both Holly and I took a lot of hot baths during our illness. We added Epsom salts to alleviate muscle pain. And after attending a CoveyClub webinar on immune boosting strategies, I added Maine seaweed to my tub to help detox my body.
Rest — Finally, it sounds trite, but the old adage “listen to your body” really applies here. I couldn’t believe how much and how often I slept. But it’s true. You really need to rest and let your body heal.