Coping with Fatigue After Covid
It’s been a while since I posted a blog entry and I thought it might be useful to talk about how I coped when covid hit me.
My Self-Management routine was going really well prior to getting covid, I was walking as often as possible, swimming in the sea when I could and I had also added in 30 mins on an exercise bike (static) 5 days out of 7 after being involved in a research study at Bath University, I will include details at the end. I was also consuming less calories and losing weight thanks to Racheal and her research.
Becoming a successful chronic pain self-manager is far from easy, it takes a lot of trial and error to find the activities that suit you because as we know there is ‘no one size fits all’ when it comes to chronic pain! We all have different abilities, different likes and dislikes etc. Once we have found the things that we enjoy doing we then have to build them into a daily routine at a level we can manage whilst not overdoing it and getting into that ‘boom & bust’ cycle.
It is fair to say I had found my groove with my activities, that sweet spot of what I could cope with comfortably.
It also takes a level of dedication; repetition is the key here! In the same way we would have taken a medication every day, we also have to perform our self-management routine every day for it to be effective, we might not always want to, but I have found much more relief from my chronic pain and associated symptoms by following my routine daily as much as possible, obviously there will be occasions when we need to miss a day but I try to keep that to a minimum.
I felt quite poorly very quickly and spent the next three days in bed feeling completely lifeless, with absolutely no energy whatsoever.
It was about four or five days before I started to feel a little better and of course my routine had gone out of the window during this time. I felt wiped out and couldn’t have done it if I’d wanted to.
It was 11 days before I had a negative lateral flow test and when I went out I found walking extremely difficult, I simply had no oomph, no power, I was so slow, I was not breathless like some people report but I would hit an invisible wall and need to stop for a few minutes before continuing. I tried to do the exercise bike routine and managed 10 mins every few days, this was extremely hard to accept initially, I wanted to get back to normal and it became clear that wasn’t going to happen for a little while. I listened to advice from Karen my wife and friends who are working in the field of long covid research and dialled back my efforts somewhat, remembering to take a break sooner than I needed to, not pushing myself too hard. It began to pay off I’m happy to say and several weeks later I am starting to improve, the fatigue has significantly eased, and I can walk much easier, I am managing 15 minutes a day on the bike and swimming when possible. I have also reduced my calories again which lapsed during my covid recovery!
So, I am getting back on track with myself management routine once again. I suppose the message I want you to take away from this blog is that we need to listen to our bodies and rest when we need to rest, when we live with chronic pain or any long-term health condition the road is never a smooth straight line, we are always going to encounter some bumps in the road, but with self-compassion we can overcome them and move on again!
Until next time