Illustrated by Aida Amer/Axios
After recovery From a “mild” COVID case in November, I developed a long COVID with debilitating symptoms such as persistent shortness of breath, heart palpitations and insomnia.
- At one point, I counted 23 symptoms.
- As my symptoms worsened, I was admitted to the hospital and underwent various tests. Thankfully, no major organ damage was found, with the exception of a pulmonary obstruction, which is still under treatment.
Important reasons: COVID has long been the wake-up call I needed to make big changes in my life.
Flashback: Before I got this life-changing illness, I frankly didn’t take good care of myself. It makes me feel stressed and anxious. I ate poorly, drank too much coffee, and rarely made time to exercise.
- I quickly realized: if I wanted to get better, I would have to completely change my life. I can’t go back to that bad habit.
So I improvised This three-ingredient recipe for recovery:
1. Structure: Following my daily routine is my new lifeline. Every morning, write a list of all the things you want to do that day, then check off each task. I eat healthy, drink plenty of water, take medications and supplements, and attend respiratory rehabilitation.
- Rest and even recreational activities, like watching movies and listening to music, are scheduled almost every hour of my day. But this radically improved my life.
2. Pace: Pacing is a technique that has been used by people with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years. Limit daily activities and reduce energy expenditure based on symptoms.
- On days when I am sore or tired, my list of tasks is shorter. If you feel good, don’t try too hard. On the treadmill she walks an extra five minutes, cooks dinner for her family, or takes her dog to the park. When my body needs rest, I rest.
3. Faith: Thinking positive has always been a challenge for me. But with daily prayer and meditation it is becoming easier.
- The mind is a powerful tool. I am learning to use it to my advantage, not to my detriment.
To the point: In 4 months, my symptoms improved by 60-70%. But in many ways, I am healthier than I was before COVID.