Happy new year!
What a perfect time to celebrate with your loved ones, go to the beach, read a book, chill out…and catch COVID.
Is it just me, or did we go from knowing a friend-of-a-friend who had COVID to it basically knocking on our doorstep and asking to stay for dinner?
It seems as though the Omicron variant mixed with the Christmas break changed the COVID game forever.
Depending on who you talk to, some have accepted the reality that ‘it’s only a matter of time’. In contrast, others, for various reasons, have experienced a new level of fear and stress due to the proximity of the virus. Then to add more fuel to the fire, the government’s messaging has changed more in the past months than Melbourne’s weather in a day.
No wonder there’s confusion and uncertainty everywhere we turn.
This blog is not about how to reduce the spread of COVID. You all know how to do that by now. Instead, I’m focusing on how you can proactively support your body’s immune system, the number one most effective defence force we have for fighting viruses.
After all, you wouldn’t send a firefighter into a fire without proper protective clothing. So why go into this pandemic without a poorly functioning immune system?
Firstly, I’m not a vaccine guru, so I will leave that part up to you. I’m sure you’ve done your research by now. And no, I’m not talking about Facebook university…please.
Remember that no pill will ever be as effective as a well-looked after body. It’s easier than you would think:
What you can do right now to improve your immunity:
- Sleep! – I know you’ve heard this before, but if there is one thing you change today, change your sleeping habits. Bed by 10:30pm. 7-8 hrs. Simple.
- Move. Your. Body. – I’m not saying go run a marathon. But 30 minutes, 6 days a week.
- Food – I’m pretty straightforward in my approach to healthy eating. Eat a variety of fruits, veg, protein and good carbs (lots of colourful food). Limit additives and sugar, and If it’s wrapped in plastic or has a shelf-life that seems a little long, then think twice. If you want to delve into eating for immunity, read Steph’s blog on immunity here.
- Calm your farm – Stress is a significant inhibitor of your immune system. Be honest with yourself and get some practical help to reduce your stress. This leads me to my next point…
- Get adjusted! – Take the stress off your nervous system. Get your spine aligned and create balance in your nervous system. More on stress here.
What to do when you get COVID:
- Rest up – Sleep, binge watch that TV series you’ve had on your Wishlist for months,
- Eat well – lots of veggies, plenty of fluids,
- Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen.
Recovering after COVID:
From my experience and what I’ve seen in practice, fatigue and joint pain experienced following COVID were the most surprising observations. Previously, I hadn’t come across much information about recovery.
This is not the time to get straight back into training, not the time to hit the town or catch up on life that you feel like you missed when you were out of action:
- Rest up… still.
- Slim down your calendar – Don’t be alarmed if you need a nap after coffee
- Gentle regular movement – walking, yoga
- Understand it may take time to fully recover.
Some evidence on “long COVID”:
If you’re anything like me you’ve been wondering what this “long COVID” is. It’s hard to give you solid evidence on this topic right now as it’s still emerging and most is anecdotal. However, there are a few article worth mentioning:
In this article, an Italian hospital followed up 143 people and found that 87% still had symptoms 60 days following diagnosis. The most common symptom experienced was fatigue, breathing difficulties and joint pain. Keep in mind, This is a very small study from one location, which makes it difficult to draw any conclusions. Much more evidence is still needed!
Interestingly, the UK has released the Covid-19 Symptom Study app, Which collects data from nearly 4 million people. This study showed that 1 in 10 people report symptoms for 3 weeks or more. This should give you an idea of why you need to be nice to yourself. Go easy.
While we navigate this pandemic and learn more about the virus, please remember that you still have power around the choices that you make surrounding your health. Your body is a magical being; small changes could make a big difference in how you experience this virus.