Recovery in the Time of Covid-19

Blueberries Eat Healthy Nutrition

Recovery in the time of Covid-19 can be challenging. Let’s face it, this has been a year like no other. 2020 has challenged every person I know in ways that were simply unimaginable before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Uncertainty, restrictions, and fear have impacted our mental and physical wellbeing.

In the time of Covid-19, simple tasks like going to the shops, throwing away the trash, or taking a long walk can cause anxiety and strike a chord of fear in us as we try to guard our health while avoiding a virus some experts say is airborne.

I live in a country that is an outlier in that it’s coronavirus strategy is to remain open and not lockdown. The government has left precautionary measures largely to the devices of people at the local level. Initially, there was a lot of criticism as the death toll soared until, at one point, it was the highest in Europe. However, over time some have come to view this relaxed strategy as a success.

Unique health challenges for survivors of narcissistic abuse

All over the world, survivors of narcissistic abuse are facing unique challenges in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of us are still in relationships with the perpetrator and the health crisis may have made escape more difficult or even impossible at this time. Others have gotten out of the relationship with the narcissist and must navigate recovery in the midst of a pandemic that has transformed our ability to socialize, earn a living, and care for ourselves.

In the aftermath of narcissistic abuse, survivors often battle health consequences ranging from inflammation in the body to chronic illnesses like post-traumatic stress and autoimmune disorders.

Prioritizing health and fitness

Many survivors of narcissistic abuse have a tendency to put the needs of others ahead of our own. For some of us, this is the residue of childhood conditioning in which we learned that the practice of extreme selflessness was a virtue. For others, it is part of the ever-changing rule book we were coerced in to obeying in a relationship with an abusive partner. Either way, the reality is that self-sacrificing behavior can cause serious harm to our wellbeing.

Part of building healthy boundaries is recognizing that we matter, our needs are important, and getting our needs met first should be our main priority. Part of our recovery is embracing the fact that if we do not take care of ourselves first, we will fail in our efforts to take care of others.

This is especially true when it comes to looking after our health.

Re-grouping after disrupted self-care routines

Even though many years have passed since I lived in a narcissist matrix, I am still managing a chronic illness. I developed asthma in adulthood, which may be due in some part to long term exposure to narcissistic abuse.

As a child, I was a fiery ball of energy and fit as a fiddle. Today, I must be selective about what I eat and which cardiovascular exercises I engage in because of my condition. Few things can slow you down like an asthma attack.

Covid-19 has meant long stretches of self-isolation for me. Initially, I devoted myself to baking and trying out new recipes which was incredibly fun!

But over time I found myself struggling to adjust to the new habits I was forming. I started having asthma attacks daily, my energy levels were dropping and I was becoming a lot less productive.

With this realization, my goals have shifted and now my focus is on achieving optimum health.

Health and Fitness | Covid 19 | Narcissistic Abuse Rehab

Small consistent wins can be transformative

My strategy is to start the day by taking care of myself first. This means nourishing my body with high quality foods that fills me with energy.

Everyone is different and what works best for me in terms of generating energy is a vegan diet.

I start the day with a cup of black coffee. Black coffee is great as it tends to kick start my metabolism.

If the weather is warm, I’ll make a smoothie but if it’s cool, I’ll use the same ingredients to cook high protein oatmeal:

  • 1 dl oats
  • 1 banana
  • A handful of blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds or hemp powder

I choose this meal because it’s a bit like a wet log that is easy for my body to burn but will still power me through the morning until my first snack: crisp bread with lots of sliced tomato or cucumber.

My next priority is making sure my surroundings are clean and organized which is a bit of a warm up for the thirty minutes of cardio I do to get the ball rolling before I start work.

Simple, small changes done with consistency can lead to transformative results over time. I’m sharing this example of self-care because these are things many people can do, whether you are still in a relationship with a narcissist or if you have managed to escape.

Tell me, how have you been managing your recovery during the corona virus pandemic? Please share what works best for you in the comment section below.

Your’s in recovery,

Manya Wakefield is an educator and recovery coach specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma. She is also the author of 'Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?' and host of the Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.