Long Covid is a condition where people experience prolonged symptoms of Covid-19, months or even years after they first contracted the virus. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fatigue, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, joint pain, brain fog, palpitations, cognitive decline, rashes and shooting pains in the extremities, to name but a few.
What is rest?
It is hardly surprising that rest is recommended in Long Covid. Rest has been prescribed as the best way to heal from a viral infection for millennia. The treatment for Flu is rest. The treatment for Glandular Fever (or Epstein Barr Virus EBV) is rest. The treatment for severe back pain is rest. The treatment for most ills in the past has usually been rest.
Rest is the taking of time away from physical, mental and social activities to give one’s body and mind a chance to heal. Not all rest is created equal. Rest can be sleeping, lying down, engaging in relaxation exercises or cutting yourself off from stimulation. What we at The Long Haul Lounge recommend for Long Covid is what we refer to as Therapeutic Rest.
Rest can be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory and creative and can be shallow or deep depending on how much you out into achieving the state of rest. What we recommend is that you combine all these into one rest period, a couple of times a day, and completely and thoroughly rest every aspect of your being on these two daily occasions.
Therapeutic rest combines all these different types of rest:
Physical rest – taking time away from physical activities, such as exercise and housework, cooking and shopping, other work and travel
Mental rest – taking time away from mental activities, such as studying or problem solving
Spiritual rest – taking time away from spiritual activities, such as attending places of worship and regular praying
Emotional rest – taking time away from emotional activities, such as talking or worrying about difficult topics
Social rest – taking time away from social activities, such as spending time with friends and family
Sensory rest – taking time away from sensory activities, such as watching TV or using the computer and mobile phone
Creative rest – taking time away from creative pursuits, such as painting, design or writing.
Our recommended Therapeutic Rest involves the following twice daily:
Put your phone and laptop or iPad away. Turn off any radios or TVs.
Turn off the Wifi if others don’t need it.
Close the curtains.
Make sure anyone in the house is aware you can not be disturbed for around 30 minutes.
Lie down in bed or on a sofa. Make yourself very comfortable.
Place a pair of comfortable noise-cancelling headphones over your ears but with no sound. We are not going to listen to music, we are going to block out all sound.
Then place a soft and comfortable sleep mask over your eyes to black out all light.
Stay here like this for 20-30 minutes a day thinking about nice things. Imagine yourself in your favourite place with your favourite people (your Happy Place). If your mind goes back to negative thinking, return to your Happy Place. Alternative to your Happy Place, you can imagine your immune cells killing Covid cells. Just imagine an easy battle where the immune cells obliterate the Covid cells or dissolve them, without a struggle.
Research on the importance of rest for Long Covid
There is a growing body of research that shows the importance of rest for those with Long Covid. One study found that adequate rest was an important factor in managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. Additionally, a recent survey of people with Long Covid found that the majority of respondents reported that they had learned for themselves that rest was essential in helping them manage their symptoms.
Other studies have also found that people with Long Covid often experience difficulty sleeping, which can lead to a range of other symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty managing emotions. One study found that people with Long Covid who were able to achieve, through various means, improved sleep, reported an improvement in their overall quality of life and reduction in come of their symptoms.
Rest and inflammation
In addition to the studies mentioned above, there is also research that suggests that rest can help reduce inflammation, which is one major factor in Long Covid. One study found that people with Long Covid who took regular rest periods throughout the day had lower levels of inflammation than those who did not. Additionally, another study found that people with Long Covid who got more than 7 hours of sleep per night had lower levels of inflammation than those who got less than 7 hours of sleep.
Working and Long Covid
There are several things that people with Long Covid can do to ensure they get enough rest. The biggest and most difficult, challenging and often traumatic part is to take leave from work. Long Covid is now a recognised condition within the NHS and Long haulers are eligible to claim benefits to provide them with the basics required to survive without working. It is impossible to rest in an office or workplace. To create a restful environment we need to turn off screens and limit noise. We also need to take regular breaks throughout the day for Therapeutic Rest as well as engage in at least one activity that promotes relaxation a day, such as yoga, tai chi, gentle deep breathing exercises or meditation, to reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
Finally, it’s important to keep the use of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine to a minimum to retain internal relaxation.
The Long Haul Lounge’s AntiViral Life™ Programme for Long Covid teaches you how to look after yourself and speed up your healing to a maximun if you have Long Covid. Find out more and view/read testimonials here https://www.thelonghaullounge.com/
or get the programme here