At the end of December 2020, I tested positive for COVID-19. This blog is about my experience of COVID-19, my reflections on what it means to be healthy and the remedies that helped me heal and increase immunity.
I should start by prefacing that I have never had a fear of contracting COVID. Medically, I have a couple of underlying health conditions, which would put me into 'vulnerable' category but I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle and follow a daily routine that includes yoga and ayurvedic remedies, plus my diet is mostly 'clean' and organic. I don't watch TV and don't read papers - in the same way that I like to be in control of what food I put into my body, I like to choose the information that my mind consumes. I feel that this has helped to keep me more or less balanced in this crazy time. Although I have my moments of frustration like everyone else, they are perhaps less 'emotional' and more 'rational'; or at least I would like to think so.
Anyway, it all started with me developing cold symptoms one Tuesday morning; the first cold in years. Because at the time I was teaching face to face yoga classes, I decided it was best to get tested right away. My symptoms were very typical for a developing cold - aching body, clouded mind, fatigue, a headache. I did not have a temperature, however. In fact, I was fortunate enough that my temperature never reached more than 37 degrees. By the time I got my test result the next evening, I was already thinking I had over-reacted, as the main symptoms had subsided and I was feeling a lot better. So it was a shock to get a positive test notification that very evening! I'm so glad that I did the test as my main concern was making sure that my classes, and students, were safe.
I will be honest here, my symptoms never developed into anything more than a mild cold, and like with any type of a cold virus, they varied. One day I will get a headache, the next day sinus congestion. The aches and pains subsided within a couple of days of getting the test result which was a relief; but I was feeling tired, which was to be expected as my body was fighting a virus. To aid my immune system I put myself on a diet of kitchari for 7 days. It is important not to overload the body during illness and either fast or consume food that are easy to digest so that most energy goes into the actual healing process. My appetite was, of course, reduced during that time, plus on day four I started to lose my sense of smell and taste. It actually went completely for about four days, which was an interesting experience but then again, nothing that I haven't experienced before after a spell of cold, after which it started to gradually return. By day 10, Christmas eve, I was feeling much better and was grateful to have the energy to cook everything I had planned to and be able to leave the house again. Isolation was not difficult for me - I wasn't feeling like going out anyway and even at times before COVID I would stay at home for the duration of the illness, it's just common sense, right? I think it is worth mentioning here that my son had also developed symptoms early on and, although he opted not to have the test, we assumed it was the coronavirus. His symptoms were identical to mine in every way and because we fell ill at almost the same time, we were able to support each other and share the healing remedies I was making.
Now for the good part. After spending a few days mindlessly watching movies on Netflix in the early days of falling ill, we ended up hitting the work load with a new found enthusiasm - the ideas were flooding in! We also carved out the time to reflect on 2020 and set goals and vision for 2021 and beyond! We realised how fortunate we are to be together at this time and to get on so well! Despite my symptoms being so mild, I am grateful for the knowledge I've acquired and the ayurvedic morning routine which enables me to feel good most days. I feel grateful for having an established daily yoga practice and I have developed a real appreciation for pranayama (breathing) practices, which are so effective in increasing immunity! I do not think I am lucky because I do not believe in luck. Like everything, good health is the result of effort and respect for our body - not just during illness but ALL the time. Genes, of course, have a role to play, but I believe it is our mental attitude, lifestyle and diet that help us feel good. Protecting ourselves against negative influences on our minds is just as important as eating well and exercising regularly. It is the whole of you, not just your physical body, that you should focus on.
Go to Part 2 of this blog to learn about the remedies that helped me recover. Discover Ayurvedic hacks and yogic practices that help increase immunity and tackle colds and flu.