Post-COVID-19: Here’s How You Help Your Body Cope

One of the most common things I hear from individuals recovering from COVID-19 is: “I wish I had looked after myself better.” Many people are resistant to changing their lifestyle unless they’ve had a scare. Seeing as COVID-19 has had such a detrimental, and scary impact on us all, there hasn’t been a better time to set some health goals and follow up with a solid plan to make them a reality.

Goals like improving blood sugar levels, decreasing blood pressure, improving your cholesterol profile, and improving your body composition come with great benefits. All of these can be achieved by simple lifestyle changes allowing your body to be more robust and resistant to illness and infection, improving energy levels, and improving your enjoyment of life.

So, whether you are recovering from COVID-19 or thinking of improving your health to minimize the impact of the illness on your body in case you contract it, or, simply wanting to feel good inside out, here are some basics to get you started:

Spend more time in natural sunlight

In hot climates, this usually means early morning or late evening. Natural light is important to balance your sleep/wake cycle. If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, then a barefoot walk or paddle can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Make a schedule and stick to it

Recovering a healthy daily routine is an important part of recovery from illness that inevitably disrupts household routines.

Reduce exposure to news and social media

If you aren’t feeling your best, it isn’t a good idea to constantly hear the barrage of negative stories in the world right now. Schedule your phone, tablet, laptop to be off by 8 pm each evening. It’s time for yourself and your family. It’s time to be present with yourself and those you love and who love you. It’s also time to wind down for sleep.

Practice relaxation

Here’s an exercise that is particularly good for aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, or if you have a lot of unresolved stress. Take some deep breaths to get yourself settled. Then tighten all the muscles in your toes as tight as you can and hold for 10 seconds then relax. Next move to the muscles in your feet, your ankles, your calves and slowly move up through your entire body including your back, shoulders, mouth, nose, and scalp. Lastly, allow the final relaxation to roll over you like a wave. Concentrate on your out-breath and just rest. Over time, this exercise can lead to wonderful, deep relaxation.

Learn deep breathing

Chronic, shallow chest breathing caused by COVID-19 leads to pain in the upper back, shoulder, and neck. In many lung disorders such as asthma and emphysema, the ability to exhale has been greatly diminished. Try this exercise using a straw to breathe through. Straw breathing promotes deeper breathing by lengthening the exhalation. It is also an ideal way to relax, promoting rest and sleep. Get in a comfortable sitting/lying position. Place the straw in your mouth. Gently hold it there with one hand. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you breathe in, touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth to stop yourself from breathing in from your mouth. At the end of the exhalation, concentrate on letting the inhalation happen naturally. If you can do this it will feel like a gentle ‘bounce’ up through the center of your body. Allowing this to happen will make the in-breath effortless. Continue for three minutes.

Set your aims and ambitions

Do an inventory. Take 20 minutes to write down exactly how you feel about your current life. Ask yourself questions like ‘how do I feel right now? How do I look right now? What can I do better? What do I do well? Think of your career, your spiritual life, and so on. Save this because it is something to look back on in time. Just put down three or four paragraphs. Then write a decree. Set a target for yourself. Walking on the beach while on holiday looking and feeling great, a wedding or party where everyone comments how good you look, getting into those jeans that you haven’t done for some time, it can be anything you like. Fast forward x weeks so you have reached your target. Imagine the new you. How are you feeling? What are you eating every day? How is your energy? What changes have you made? Write it down as if it had already happened. Summarize your decree onto an index card using keywords and phrases. Always keep the card with you and use it to remind yourself where you’re heading and why.

Increase anti-inflammatory foods in your diet

Crushed fresh ginger and cinnamon simmered for 20 minutes makes a fantastic tea that is calming to digestion, anti-inflammatory, and may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. I’d also like to see plenty of cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin in your cooking. Make a seed mix of flax seed, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Grind them up and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. Sprinkle them on just about everything. They contain good levels of fiber, anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids, and many trace minerals

Change your menu

Add this positive daily food list to your meals every day:
•1 plate (three cups) of dark green leafy vegetables _ spinach, Kale, Arugula (rocket)
•1 plate (three cups) of Sulphur containing foods – cabbage, sprouts, onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus
•1 plate (three cups) of colors everyday – peppers, beetroot, berries, red cabbage, squash, etc. Aim for red, orange, yellow, and blue/purple
•2 palm-sized portions of meat, fish, or eggs every day
•Bone broth
•Healthy oils like olive, avocado, nuts, seeds
•Plenty of fresh herbs

Track your health on the Valeo App

Both our baseline and comprehensive blood test packages along with our medical symptoms and lifestyle questionnaires can provide a clear pathway to identifying any underlying issues that might impact your health and lengthen your recovery. Based on your results, a Valeo Wellbeing Coach will give you the knowledge, advice, and support you need to improve your health. Using the app, you can then monitor your progress and retest where needed.

Get started to take control of your health and get a shorter, quicker recovery.