Many people who have endured COVID-19 have found themselves dealing with lasting symptoms, even months after testing negative for active infection. Some of these symptoms include tiredness or fatigue, difficulty thinking or concentrating, dizziness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain. Some COVID-19 survivors also find themselves battling anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms that get worse after either physical or mental exertion.
Research published in The Lancet Psychiatry reported that one out of every three COVID-19 survivors has lasting mental health issues.
The first thing I thought when learning this was: “Wow. All these people are experiencing near identical symptoms to people who suffer from fibromyalgia.” And with the numbers being up to one out of every three people, that’s profound and scary given what so many others and I have gone through. I previously suffered from fibromyalgia and am one of the few who found a way to beat it completely through holistic strategies. That was no easy feat, by the way, especially with doctors trying to attach a label to me saying I’d never be cured and might as well fight for permanent disability status.
Fibromyalgia devastated my life. It was so debilitating that I couldn’t lift a three-pound pot to boil water. I lost my job, my marriage, and my family home to foreclosure. I ended up declaring bankruptcy and was separated from my children in the process because I ended up at complete rock bottom. Dealing with fibromyalgia—and the painful situations that went along with it—caused anxiety and depression, both of which I also beat completely.
I learned two key things from dealing with—and then healing completely from—an “incurable” disease that doctors didn’t know how to address, much like these lasting, nearly identical COVID-19 symptoms.
The first is that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. If there’s an obstacle in your path, there’s a way to overcome it if you’re willing to think outside of the box. Realizing this meant I had to apply a spiritual and faith-based way of thinking to a physical situation, and doing so was game-changing.
The second is that allopathic medicine is great for some things and terrible for others, especially dealing with chronic conditions that impact mind, body, and soul. That should come as no surprise, because to deal with something that impacts the mind, body, and soul, you need strategies that work with mind, body, and soul, and not just your physical body.
By using spiritual principles as my foundation, applied in a practical way in day-to-day life, I was able to find holistic ways to heal completely from fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression. And not surprising to me, I haven’t gotten COVID-19. In fact, I haven’t been sick at all in years. Here are some key, holistic ways that people can fight those lasting COVID-19 long-haul symptoms and also chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.
Adopt a Daily Meditation Practice.
Adopting a daily mindfulness and meditation practice was a major key in my recovery. In fact, it was meditation that completely healed me from anxiety and depression, long before the rest of my fibromyalgia symptoms were gone.
Meditation helps to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and I believe this is the key to its success.
Chronic conditions can kick the sympathetic nervous system—responsible for fight or flight—into overdrive, preventing the parasympathetic nervous system—responsible for rest, recovery, and healing—from doing its job. Imagine if you were in fight-or-flight mode all the time, what that would do to the well-being of your mind, body, and soul. Well, you don’t have to imagine: This is exactly what we see in people suffering from fibromyalgia and lasting long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. They’re worn down and unable to rest and heal.
Meditation can reset the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, so the body’s own healing mechanisms can kick in and start healing the body and mind. Once your body is able to repair and regenerate itself, everything else you do will be more effective.
Cultivate Daily Practices That Create Mind, Body, and Soul Synergy.
For me, this is a huge part of mind, body, and soul well-being.
Pick one activity with effects that compound to accomplish several outcomes. One of my daily routines is having a cup of tea. This single action has six beneficial outcomes. First, tea contains theanine, which promotes calmness and stress reduction. Second, theanine can improve focus and mental clarity. Third, tea gives a boost of energy in the morning, and combined with the increased focus, makes it easy to start the day productive and clear. Fourth, tea has antiviral and antimicrobial qualities that boost the immune system, keeping the physical body healthy. Fifth, the act of creating a daily routine helps the mind to feel stable and happy. Sixth, it’s a daily act of self-care, and consistent self-care promotes enhanced self-worth and confidence.
There are many things that act synergistically to promote mind, body, and soul well-being. Walking is another simple one. Art and creative endeavors do as well. Maybe you find this synergy in cooking or baking. Find the activities that speak to you and give one a try, consistently, every single day.
Try Some Adaptogenic Herbs.
Whenever the body is in a slump and you need to find a way to rejuvenate, try adding some adaptogenic herbs, also known in Ayurveda as a Rasayana, to your daily routine.
Adaptogens find your weak point, whatever that may be, and work to bring it into balance by enhancing vitality. Feeling low on energy and tired is one of the most common complaints people have after having battled an illness or when dealing with fibromyalgia. Adaptogens can help the body heal itself while improving mood, energy, and even promoting a better night’s sleep. Ashwagandha is one of my favorite adaptogens. It helps fight adrenal fatigue and gives you vitality. It also helps you sleep better, which may seem counterintuitive, but since sleep is where regeneration happens, it actually makes perfect sense. Reishi is another great option if you’re looking for something from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
These three key things are holistic strategies that can help you reclaim or maintain health and well-being. For me, they were the difference between being debilitated and in constant pain and being completely healthy. When you take the well-being of your mind, body, and soul into account, you make keeping the physical body healthy much easier.
Jaya Jaya Myra is a wellness lifestyle expert and go-to media expert on mind-body wellness, stress management, mindfulness, food for mood, and natural, healthy living. She’s a best-selling author, TEDx and motivational speaker, and creator of The WELL Method for purpose-filled healthy living. Visit JayaJayaMyra.com