4 Crucial Lessons I Learned About My Mind-Body Connection While Recovering From COVID-19
Disclaimer: What I'm sharing here is what helped me recover from COVID. It's my journey with it; it's not a prescription, and I am not claiming to be a COVID-19 expert.
The moment I got the results of my positive COVID-19 test, my insides twisted up and my heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach. I spent the rest of that afternoon feeling sorry for myself and contemplating how I might have gotten it. I'd been quarantining like it was an Olympic event, but apparently, I could've done better.
The next day I woke up with some of the same feelings, but I also started challenging those negative thoughts. Instead, I asked myself: What if COVID isn't a life sentence? What if a full recovery is possible?
Here are a few of the lessons I learned about my own health and well-being during my journey to recovery:
1. My mind is more powerful than I realized.
It seems like no coincidence to me that the month I got COVID also happened to be the month I experienced more stress than usual. After what happened to George Floyd, I decided to start a community called AllyNow to support people in becoming better allies. Facilitating so many charged conversations left me inspired but simultaneously stressed out, leaving my immune system extra vulnerable.
I let activism become more important than my own well-being practices, like my consistent morning routine, which usually set me up to navigate anything. And as I got caught up in taking care of a community more than myself, my mindset muscle got weak, doubt crept in, and stress came next. Needless to say, I have a whole new respect for activists who are constantly on the front lines of social justice.
The good news is that just as our mindset can increase stress levels and compromise the immune system, it can work the other way to help recover and fortify our health, too. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., is one of the pioneers of epigenetics and the author of The Biology of Belief, which explores how our mindset and behaviors can influence our biology. "Beliefs and thoughts alter cells in your body," Lipton explains. "The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body."
2. Nutrition is a top priority, especially for immunity.
As soon as I got symptoms, I called my integrative doctor and turned to my in-house nutritionist partner to do everything in my power to get well again. I took my doctor's advice to prioritize sleep and manage my stress levels. Plus, nutrition became one of my top priorities. I filled my diet with nutrient-dense vegetables, reduced my sugar intake, and drank plenty of water.
I also got on a rigorous supplement protocol, which included liposomal vitamin C, vitamin D, melatonin, lactoferrin, quercetin, N-acetyl cysteine (which boosts glutathione), and zinc. My treatment further included some pricier supplements that I understand aren't available to everyone, like NAD+ injections, which require a doctor's consultation and a compounding facility. I considered these protocols investments in my personal health, which is the greatest project any of us can invest in.
3. Prioritizing my well-being practices isn't selfish; it's essential.
Even after most of my symptoms had subsided, I continued to have a hard time getting out of bed. Then I was introduced to a new morning routine (inspired by Hal Elrod's book Miracle Mornings), which involves meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling. It helped me refocus my thoughts, and became a great kick-start to a better daily mindset.
I also embraced other types of self-love, like playing music during the day that would get me dancing and in a great state of mind.
During my journey, I also noticed one thing getting in the way of recovery: My mind wanted to resist my COVID-19 diagnosis. This resistance got in the way of me being able to truly rest. I would lie down, but my mind wasn't at peace, so my body wasn't relaxing. The same is probably true for a lot of people who are having a hard time accepting that we're still in a pandemic. Eckhart Tolle's thesis to life mastery is "resist nothing"—that can be easier said than done, but it's especially key to facing COVID-19 with any kind of grace and acceptance.
4. My community was an integral part of my recovery.
The role of community during a pandemic can be a bit complicated since we can't get together quite like we used to. However, it's still possible to connect, and the way we connect makes a huge difference. The minute I started to share about getting COVID-19 with the people in my life was the minute I started feeling better. Plus, thanks to conversations with friends who made a full recovery from the virus, I was able to shift that initial negative perspective and start to turn things around.
That said, I know a lot of people suffer in silence and disconnection, who are deprived of the power of community. If you're personally struggling, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@quddus). I'd be happy to support you however I can. I feel truly blessed to have gotten through my COVID experience with the support of so many, and paying it forward would be an honor.
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