Back to Basics: My COVID Diary

(Please note: I am not looking for this blog to spur any politically divisive or pro/anti-vaxx comments. Rather, I wanted to take this time to discuss how it impacted me and my family.  

After two years of successfully skirting COVID, my good fortune came to an end. Diagnosed in early October, I was down and out for almost two weeks, and forced to spend some “quality time” with myself and my thoughts.

Running on Empty:

Admittedly, I had been running on empty for some time. I needed a break. Our family vacation planned for early August was semi-thwarted when my eldest was diagnosed with COVID and we were forced to stay behind as she could not travel. 

Although Taylor and I shared a bed for 2 weeks, I still tested negative. Truth be told, I had been looking forward to our vacation in Maine. It was a bit of a blow when I realized it was not going to happen.  When all hopes for it were “dashed”, I worked to find the bright side and use the time constructively. I made my physical health a priority (hoping to keep my immune system at the top of its game). I did not skip exercise days. I ate well. I kept up with my daily journaling and gratitude practice. In addition, I took care of all the household chores and held Zoom coaching sessions. 

It was with this mentality that school started in mid-August. I was an Energizer Bunny, still going and going and going. My mom and I planned a Mother-Daughter retreat in North Carolina for some much needed rest and relaxation. However, upon our return to Charleston, my fever started that evening. 

The COVID Days:

I couldn’t do much of anything. Trying to reschedule client appointments proved fruitless due to brain fog. My body ached. I was confused.  It was all I could do to just lay in bed like a lump. I should note, here, my husband was a superstar. He took care of our girls, the house, me and did it all with a smile on his face.  I found it difficult to wake in the mornings, listening to him readying the girls for school when I didn’t even have the energy to stand. On top of the sickness, I was giving myself guilt about being unable to care for my family. Normally, I would be better prepared to dispel these thoughts, but my defenses were down and in they crept.  I was not prepared for the emotional toll of Covid. 

All I could do was sleep. Sleep. Wake. Rinse. Repeat. The exhaustion was the most difficult. I felt like I was watching life go on without me. I am a planner – knowing what has to get done and handling it accordingly. I take great pride in being able to cross items off my to-do list.  However, this was simply not possible. I watched my well-planned days devolve into nothing. 

I aim to be as intentional as possible with my calendar.  Usually I allot some “rest” time or “me time” in my day – maybe 20 or so minutes where I mentally check out – no phone, no talking, just quiet. In the recent past, as my days became more and more hectic, I was shortening this time – even abandoning it altogether when the day simply did not allow for it. I considered this time sacred and a fundamental of self-care and yet, here it was falling by the wayside. 

In my delirium, I watched shows rerun on Netflix because I couldn’t follow an unknown plot line. In the weeks prior to my bout, I had been having a hard time focusing. I felt very “bright, shiny, object.” I almost looked for distractions sometimes because my mind felt taxed. Simply put, I was not listening to my body or my mind. COVID made it almost impossible to ignore. 

Realign & Reset:

Inasmuch as COVID was a physical rollercoaster, it was an emotional one. All the things I struggle against, namely distraction and complacency, took over because I was powerless to stop them. I tried to life coach myself in this situation – what would I tell my clients? Probably something along the lines of “there is a part of you that is not being heard.”   

That was the turning point for me. I had stopped listening to my body and my mind. So focused on efficiency and productivity, I had run myself into the ground. Now, I had to listen. My clients will say how much I have them prioritize their own self-care and here, I forgot that simple lesson. I was not following my own advice. 

Upon recovery, I sat with my planner and realigned. Now, my daily three goals will always contain one necessary for my self-care. It may be meditation, exercise, a pedicure, or simply reading a book for enjoyment. I need this. COVID reminded me how human I am and how much I do need to rest. While it derailed me entirely for almost two weeks, it brought my back to the basics, demonstrating how these moments of self-care I had so treasured in the past, should not be so easily dismissed.