How easily could you climb this hill?
It is a gentle slope, but quite a ways to the top. Imagine you could not stop or turn around. Do you think your heart, lungs and body would help you make it?
And if you made it to the top, how would you feel?
- Perhaps tired
- A bit breathless
- Grateful you made it
- And probably relieved it was behind you
That is exactly how I felt as I recovered from COVID. I made it to the top and survived the COVID Journey. Post-COVID, here is what I learned in the 3 months since I was diagnosed.
Knowledge is Power
The world is still learning about this virus. The more we, “post-COVID” folks, talk about our experiences, the more we contribute to the collective knowledge base.
I am a data gal. I spent 25 years in the high-tech world where I dealt with database technology and data mining. In layman’s terms, it means that the tech products I was involved with were used for data analysis. In other words, the data was used for finding trends, predicting outcomes based on metrics and storing millions of bits of information in hopes of finding a needle in a haystack to lead us to new insights. I see the post-COVID situation in the same light. We need to continue to collect more data in order to understand this health crisis better.
COVID Takes a Toll on your Energy Levels and Reserves
The analogy of Climbing the Hill is a good one because most people can relate to how that feels. At some time or another in your life, you probably had to exert some significant physical effort for a duration of time without stopping. So, I’m sure some of you are already thinking that the Hill would be a piece of cake to walk up. And yes, others may be thinking they could tap into their energy reserves to complete the task if they really had to. On the other hand, there are some of you who could not even attempt 10 steps without feeling winded and wiped out.
I fall into the second category. By no means am I a trained or an elite athlete, but I do know that I take good care of my health and am diligent on my “energy management.” In Yogic terms, we refer to our energy as “prana” or “life force.” To a trained eye, one can see how much life force people have in them by the way they hold themselves, the way they move and the way they speak.
I have high energy and a good supply of life force because I work at it. When I feel drained, I rest. When I feel energetic, I work or play. Therefore, I feel I came into my COVID journey with some good energy reserves, and I am so glad that I stockpiled them. I was required to tap into them during my 8 days of mild flu-like symptoms. Definitely, they helped me to fight off my fever and body aches.
The aftermath of COVID was a surprise to me
Just because I got through it, doesn’t mean that it did not take its toll on me physically. My energy levels post-COVID are not as high, and don’t last as long, as they were pre-COVID. Nowadays, I need to rest more often, take longer periods of doing nothing and just pace myself a bit slower. Post-COVID, I’ve also had moments when I’ve wondered if this is my “new normal.” Nonetheless, I continue to practice all the holistic and Ayurvedic Practices that I did throughout my active COVID period such as:
- Eating nutrition-dense foods to keep my energy up and restore my energy reserves
- Drinking lots of fluids to flush out any leftover toxins
- Re-directing my thought life by getting absorbed in reading fun novels to help calm and soothe my nervous system
- And doing my daily Yoga practice of deep breathing, moving, bending and twisting to help the healing process
Prepare Yourself! In Case You have to Walk Up that Hill
While discussing COVID, my doctor mentioned that people with pre-existing conditions often do not have the internal stamina to take on the fight. In other words, their bodies might give up before they reach the “top of the hill,” or they might take a long time recovering. I think of his statement in Yoga therapy terms: they do not have enough life force energy reserves to fight off the invader.
I don’t wish COVID on anyone, but I do want you to be prepared… just in case. Most of us have a flashlight and extra batteries in our house should the electricity go out. Similarly, we also need to stockpile some energy reserves in our mind, body and spirit to fight AND recover from any attack on our health.
Your COVID Preparedness Kit
Here are the top 3 To-Do’s to be prepared for COVID:
Move your Body
Move every single day in every direction. First, move to the North by reaching high to the ceiling. Second, move to the South by bending down towards the floor. Next, move to the East and West by leaning sideways in both directions. Finally, twist gently to one side and the other. The saying goes: “North, South, East, West. Twist, Twist to feel your Best!” This will keep your blood flowing to your vital organs and move your limbs to keep them healthy. Furthermore, if you really want to increase your energy reserves, do at least 20-30 minutes of Chair or Gentle Yoga every day.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing means to pay attention and notice how and where your breath moves in your body. Closing your eyes really helps to focus on the sensations. As you inhale, notice your body expanding and bringing in life force energy. Then, as you exhale, notice your body softening and releasing physical and emotional toxins. You might even enjoy moving your body as you breathe. This also helps to move the life force energy around inside of you. Most importantly, this practice should be calm, slow and peaceful. Try doing it a few times a day in 2-3 minute cycles.
Fuel your Body with Nutritious Meals and Snacks and Fill your Mind with Positive Thoughts
Be aware of what you are consuming. Unhealthy foods or drinks become toxins in your body. They require energy for your body to fight or flush them out. In addition, they may require continual energy expenditure which reduces your resilience.
Also remember to think positively. Toxic thoughts, such as worry, fear, anxiety, anger and hate, can wreak havoc in your mind. They are real and can truly affect the health of your entire being and reduce your life force energy too.
My parting post-COVID observation is this: stay positive in as many areas of your life as you can! Negative thoughts attract negative energy and we need all the positive energy we can put into our beings to have the stamina to Climb that Hill should we need to!
Let’s Keep Moving!
Sherry Zak Morris
Certified Yoga Therapist
Daily Movements to Keep you Healthy at Every Age with Sherry Zak Morris, C-IAYT
Here’s a short sequence based on a kid’s Yoga rhyme that is good for ALL ages! Everyday, move your body in all directions of the Compass and also find different ways to move. As a result, you will keep your spine and mind healthy. Let’s stay healthy together!
Yoga for your Lungs – Breathe Wide and Deep with Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Now that I am post-COVID, I know how important our lung health is. It’s important to take the time to improve our lung capacity and resiliency. In this video, I included some photos of what our lungs look like so you can envision how much you can fill them up with your breath! Remember to breathe slowly… no big gulps!!!
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Online Workshops related to this Topic:
Online Workshop: An Introduction to Ayurveda and the Doshas
Want to reboot your health status? Do you feel tired, experience hot flashes, have heartburn or sluggish digestion? Do you have difficulty sleeping? Learn what these symptoms mean and what lifestyle and dietary adjustments can be made to bring life into balance with the study of Ayurveda. As part of this Workshop with Lulu Peelle, you will complete a questionnaire to learn about your dosha (mind/body constitution). This will empower you to observe, practice and change the life patterns that cause you stress and imbalance. Extensive handouts are provided as ongoing resources for this valuable life-long practice of health and wellness.
CREDITS: Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor