5 really powerful lessons from catching COVID-19

Nov 10, 2021

It was Monday evening, 11th October 2021 when I noticed that my left hand was feeling stiff, as if I had arthritis. I wondered if I was developing carpal tunnel syndrome like my dad. I thought it odd that my hand was hurting, but didn't really think anything of it

Tuesday arrived and it was my turn to drop our daughter Lilly, aged 2, off at nursery. I was feeling pretty rough that morning. My hand was aching, but again, I thought nothing of it. I wondered if I was developing repetitive strain injury

As the morning wore on, I was developing more and more muscle aches, specifically in locations where I was aware I had had previous trauma or inflammation - my neck, which was stiff, my lower back where I'd had an epidural two years previously, my stomach where I'd had a C-section

My husband phoned and asked how I was feeling

"Not good," I said, "I feel really achy and cold"

We'd just had a confirmed positive case at Lilly's nursery on the Friday and been away at the weekend to Cotswold Wildlife Park. The prognosis wasn't looking good

"Try a lateral flow test and see if you've got COVID," said my husband

So I promptly did. It lit up immediately like a Christmas tree. Positive. Yikes, so I scheduled a PCR test to confirm it. It was a 17 mile journey to get to the test centre and I wasn't looking forward to the drive there or back

The last test I'd had with my daughter Lilly was on Monday 20th September. The thought of having to stick a swab up both her nostrils again for 10 seconds each side was just awful - the experience was so traumatising for her

My husband came home early from work to undertake a test himself. He came up clear, but we booked both himself and Lilly in for a PCR test the next morning

By the evening I was a mess. My body was not happy - the aches and pains had increased. I was freezing cold and just had to lay in bed to try and warm up. Our master bedroom became the isolation room

I was thankfully still able to eat and had lost no sense of taste or smell. I was incredibly grateful for having my husband Dave there to look after me

Lilly became acutely aware that mummy wasn't well. Not being able to come close to me added to the trauma for her. It was a really confusing time for her

At night time, her sleep was chronically disrupted. She was so anxious that very unusually she wet her bed, adding another micro stressor to her. She was constantly calling out for mummy, yet I was so wiped out I was unable to serve her needs

Dave had to bring her to the entrance to the bedroom to assure her that mummy was going to get better

My heart sank for her

I wondered how other children coped with parents who were sick, and particularly those that knew they weren't going to get better. Children who couldn't have contact with them due to chronic health conditions, where their parental emotional safety blanket had been taken away from them

The next morning we all went to the test centre so I could administer the swab to Lilly whilst Dave pinned her arms down. It was such an awful experience - one that she had already endured with me just the month before

She was naturally so upset and angry afterwards - it took a good 20 minutes for her to calm down. I knew I'd have to undo the trauma we had inflicted on her later using the skills I'd developed as a brain health professional

By late morning my PCR test result had come back positive. We awaited the results for Dave and Lilly

With Lilly now off nursery until we got her results, the week was turned on its head. With my husband being the only one capable of working, I had the difficult task of looking after Lilly whilst feeling awful

That evening was incredibly difficult again for Lilly as she had to endure another night of no mummy cuddles that she finds so helpful for her emotional regulation. Her sleep was again disrupted with her becoming hysterical that she couldn't have mummy

Another visit to the bedroom door where I was isolating helped abate things, allowing her a little contact on the bedsheets to know that mummy was going to get better. Both her and Dave were incredibly frustrated

We were all exhausted

"Mummy is going to get better Lilly," I said, "you and daddy have to work together as a team to get through this and support each other. Remember TEAM - Together Each Achieves More."

By the next day the results had come in. Lilly had tested positive. Dave was thankfully COVID-free. Some sense of normality was able to resume with Lilly, but Dave now had to run the gauntlet of looking after her and me

I was incredibly grateful for having the knowledge and training as a brain health coach to have been able to optimise my brain health before contracting COVID. I knew I had done what I could to build a stronger immune system and minimise my level of inflammation in my body to have the strength to fight back

The virus never impacted my smell and taste. I experienced mainly major 'muscle' aches and extreme fatigue, sleeping most mornings for two weeks after receiving a positive test, which was followed by an irritating cough, that thankfully resolved in three weeks

Lilly experienced disrupted sleep, yet no loss in energy, and no notable changes in her sense of taste or smell. Had I not tested positive we would have not know she had COVID - we would just have been concerned about her disrupted sleep

We had thankfully made sure she too had optimised her brain health and immune system to the best of our ability. She only suffered an irritating cough for two weeks, which was helped with cough medicine

Having been born by caesarian, two years earlier she had been a child with constant chesty coughs that only antibiotics seemed to clear, so we were grateful for having taken the important lifestyle interventions to strengthen her immune system and give her the best chance of recovery

So what were the five really powerful lessons learned? And how did I optimise mine and Lilly's brain and whole body health to strengthen our defences and aid recovery?

5 really powerful lessons learned

Lesson 1 - Being vaccinated doesn't prevent you from catching COVID

This is a really important lesson and one I was aware of, but perhaps didn't give enough credence to until I caught COVID-19. Being vaccinated is very important as it reduces your risk of hospitalisation, yet it doesn't stop you from catching it, spreading it, or indeed experiencing long-COVID

The important lesson here is that it is OUR responsibility to reduce our risk of catching it through preventative measures. It is also our responsibility to strengthen our defences and to optimise our overall health and wellbeing to give ourselves the best chance of recovery, whether this is from COVID-19 or any other common virus or bacterial infection

Key items to focus on are getting quality sleep, regular exercise, optimising your nutrition and reducing your stress levels. See lesson 4 on how to strengthen your defences

To support your immune system optimising your Vitamin D levels it vital, and to reduce inflammation it's important to optimise your Omega 3 index as well. In the winter the best way to improve your vitamin D levels is through supplementation

To optimise your Omega-3 index focus on minimising your consumption of processed foods and increasing your consumption of food that contains high levels of Omega-3, such as wild salmon, wild sardines, walnuts and avocado. Get your levels tested and supplement with high quality Omega-3 supplements to ensure your levels are optimal

You can get both your Vitamin D and Omega-3 index levels checked very simply worldwide through OmegaQuant, who will send an at-home testing kit that you post off to them for analysis. Enter the code RuthMaryAllan at checkout to get 5% off

Lesson 2 - The emotional impact on children is huge and largely goes unreported and unsupported

We were lucky. Lilly was fortunate to be able to hug me after two nights, however many children are less fortunate based on the circumstances they find themselves in. Despite being qualified in brain health and having the tools to support my child in unchaining her pain from the trauma she was experiencing, it was still incredibly difficult to witness

When Lilly first experienced the disruption to her normal routine, unable to physically connect with her mummy, she became very upset, angry and disruptive, saying 'No' to everything and not wanting to go outside

Her sleep was hugely disrupted, with her wetting the bed and having many nightmares. Fortunately I was able to help her through her nightmares using Havening, which she herself has learnt. Yet had I not had the skills to support her in unchaining her pain, it could have resulted in a very difficult outcome, both near and long term

Much like a broken leg, the time to heal from emotional trauma is as soon after the event as possible to avoid the seed taking root and strengthening. However it is very easy to dismiss the impact on our children and 'blame' bad behaviour on the child or the parenting styles, rather than looking for any underlying root cause, that is often linked to emotional trauma

When children are young, they don't have the emotional development to express themselves verbally as to what is wrong, and so often express their emotions physically through disruptive behaviour. This is their outlet. It's vital as parents and carers that we recognise this, and seek to get curious, not furious with them and equip ourselves with the appropriate tools to support them in unchaining their emotional pain

Havening is a fantastic tool. You and your child can learn how to apply this simple, yet powerful approach to reduce day-day stress and anxiety, and support your child experiencing disruptive sleep or nightmares. Support is available at:


to get access to our online course for you and your child. If you'd like to learn more about Havening and how we can help you on a 1-1 or group setting visit www.ruthmaryallan.com/havening

Lesson 3 - Have your emotional ship together to be able to sail through the storm

When caring for someone, whether an older family member or younger one, it's really vital to have your emotional ship together. By this I mean having the knowledge to be able to manage your emotions when the storm comes

That doesn't mean not feeling and not expressing your emotions. That doesn't mean burying your emotions, as often can be the case for carers. Quite the opposite

It's important that you give yourself permission to feel. That you equip yourself with appropriate tools to be able to manage your emotions and not absorb the emotions of others

Emotions are like a wave, they come and go. When the sea gets stormy, the waves get bigger and more challenging. We need to learn how to ride the waves and choose which waves we want to dive beneath

That doesn't mean we ignore the wave, as is the case when we bury the emotions. When we do this, the wave still comes and crashes on us, slamming us into the ocean floor unexpectedly

Yet when we learn how to read the waves, how to read the water, we can see and feel what emotions are coming, learn to embrace them and learn to ride the ones that will serve us in getting where we want to go and dive beneath the ones that don't serve us, allowing them to dissipate of their own accord

It's vital as a parent and carer we are able to manage our emotions, so that those that need emotional support are able to receive it, able to see us as a safe haven for emotional regulation, without us becoming overwhelmed ourselves

If you'd like to learn more about our Emotional Mindset Management Approach to support you in learning how to regulate your emotions, please connect with us, or register for weekly group coaching to support you

Lesson 4 - Take action to strengthen your defences before you come under attack

There are many layers of defence that we can put in place in the context of minimising our risk of contracting COVID-19, developing severe illness and facilitating our recovery from it, including reducing our risk of developing long-COVID

Step 1 - Prevention

The first lies with taking preventative measures, that includes isolation, wearing of face masks and gloves and minimising contact with others, as well as cleaning external surfaces. These measures all reduce, but do not eliminate the risk of getting infected

Step 2 - Resistance

The second lies with strengthening our outer bodily defences. What's important to remember here is that

Vaccination doesn't prevent you from catching the virus, what is does is reduce the risk of you experiencing severe illness. This fact is often forgotten

To help explain how the virus SARs-CoV-2 causes COVID-19 without all the medical jargon, imagine your body as a Kingdom, within which you have many castles

A castle has outer defences beyond the castle walls, such as a moat. The inner defences include mechanisms to prevent entry into the castle wall itself and perhaps the inner keep where the crown jewels are held

These defences typically includes thick castle walls to avoid penetration, a portcullis and thick internal doors to prevent entry - with no key available. Archers on the roof and soldiers in the building to fight back in case the castle is breached

The same applies to our bodies - our kingdom. The castles are our cells. The inner keep are our mitochondria, the energy powerhouses within our cells. The outer defences are associated with preventing the virus from entering our cells

Entry of the virus into our body typically occurs through the nasal cavities, which provides the virus with access to our cells. So outer defences typically include hand washing, avoiding touching our face and mouth

Vaccination is an inner defence mechanism. It is the equivalent of arming your immune system soldiers within the castle walls with weapons and body armour

There are of course many other steps we can take to defend our castle and inner keep beyond simply arming our soldiers

Vital steps to enhance your resistance to the virus and chance of recovery are listed below:

  • Look after Kingdom, including the castle and all those that reside in it. If you don't look after your people in your kingdom, your kingdom can't thrive or defend itself. This is about optimising your lifestyle. This importantly includes the three most vital elements to optimise our health
    • Quality sleep
    • Regular and appropriate exercise
    • Optimising your nutrition to feed all those that reside in your kingdom. A very well controlled study has shown that a 40% increase in vegetable consumption led to a 70% reduction in the risk of moderate to severe infection. Consume a whole foods diet rich in vegetables, fruit and spices to provide fibre, prebiotics and polyphenols. Ensure you take a high quality mutivitamin and mineral supplement, such as BrainMD Neurovite Plus to ensure your kingdom is optimally fed. Your nutrition matters!
  • Defend your castle walls. Take steps to strengthen your castle walls to prevent the invaders penetrating them. For any virus to make you sick it has to penetrate your cells - i.e. enter your castle. In the context of COVID-19, the virus SAR-CoV-2 enters the castle is through the gate (ACE-2). Unfortunately the spike protein on the virus is the equivalent of a duplicate key that fits in the lock of your castle gate, so we need to avoid the virus reaching that gate by defending the portcullis and creating thicker walls. The focus here is building the outer layers of your cells to avoid the virus unlocking and then subsequently destroying the ACE-2 gate to gain entry. This can be achieved by using scientifically proven substances such as Curcumin found in turmeric, Luteolin, Resveratrol found in grapes. See below for more details on quantities recommended
  • Strengthen your inner defences in the event of a breach. Unfortunately a breach of your castle is highly likely, so the next step is to ensure that within your castle walls (your cells) you have stocked the castle with sufficient food and weaponry to sustain the castle under attack and eradicate or force the surrender of the invaders (the virus) by making it harmless
Step 3 - Recovery

In the context of the castle analogy, recovery is about re-equipping and resupplying our inner defences with reinforcements to eradicate the invaders that have occupied our castle walls. The better resupplied our castle is from the point of invasion, the faster the counter attack and recovery

Recovery in the context of COVID-19 includes taking steps to enhance ACE-2, which is destroyed by the invading virus (i.e. rebuilding your castle doors). ACE-2 is a vitally important enzyme that supports numerous healing effects, is anti-inflammatory, prevention of blood clots, tissue healing and supporting circulation

All complications related to COVID-19 are reported to be traced to ACE-2 deficiency. So it's vital that you focus on replenishing it. People with asthma often have ACE-2 deficiency, which is why many people with chronic lung conditions can have worse outcomes

When the virus attacks our inner keep - the mitochondria, we need to take action to rescue it

It's also important to note that recovery also includes the repair of the outer defences and recovery of the operations centre. This includes your brain that has been involved in the command and control of the battle and may have been damaged in the process or developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other brain health struggles as a result of the onslaught

More details on all the steps you can take to prevent, resist and recover from COVID-19 will be detailed in the next blog

Steps A and B are recommended by Dr Leo Galland, MD, pioneer in studying the impact of intestinal microbes (the gut microbiome) and intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) on health and disease are:

A. To support mitochondrial recovery supplement with:

  • Vitamin D3 (1000-6000IU daily taken with main meal) - optimise your vitamin D levels. Studies have shown the at the mortality rate of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is inversely proportional to the blood level of vitamin D. You can get your Vitamin D and Omega-3 index checked here
  • Niacin (100 mg a day) maybe combined with N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) (600mg twice a day with main meal)
  • Vitamin B2 Riboflavin (100mg - 400 mg a day)
  • Vitamin B1 Thiamine (100 mg daily)
  • Resveratrol (75mg to 1000mg daily)
  • Rosmarinic acid (150mg daily)
  • CoQ10 (100mg) as ubiquinone (three times a day); as ubiquinol (twice a day)
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (500mg to 1000mg a day)
  • Liposomal Curcumin (750mg to 1000mg a day)

B. To aid ACE-2 rescue and increase activity supplement with:

At a minimum you should be taking a high quality multi-vitamin, optimising your vitamin D levels, optimising your Omega-3 index to between a level of 8-12 and supporting your gut health through the use of prebiotics in food and a high quality probiotic supplement

Steps we took as a family prior to contracting COVID-19 was to optimise our Vitamin D levels and Omega-3 index, taking a high quality multi-vitamin and probiotic. Our daughter Lilly, aged 2, takes a daily probiotic and multi-vitamin along with Omega 3 (DHA only due to her age)

Immediately on contracting COVID-19 I continued with my nutritional and supplement plan, ensured I prioritised sleep to aid recovery, increased my vegetable and fruit intake, in particular berries and red grapes, took NAC and Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) to improve my brain function and slightly increased my Vitamin D and Zinc intake.

Lesson 5 - Protect others by continuous testing and minimising transmission

It is unclear where myself and my daughter Lilly contracted COVID-19 from, but it is most likely nursery as a positive case was reported on the Friday before. My daughter Lilly showed no signs of COVID-19, so it was only through me experiencing symptoms that we were aware we had it

The week before my mother, aged 78 years, had been in contact with us going swimming. It was fortunate she wasn't present with us on the weekend, or she too could have contracted COVID-19

It's important to note that your health status or age is not a factor in whether you contract it, it is purely the amount of contact you have with others

So the more you limit your exposure, the lower your risk

Also of note is that the more contact we have, the increased likelihood there is that the virus will continue to mutate to the point that existing anti-viral treatments don't work

Vaccinations are not the 'saviour' to defeat COVID-19 and unfortunately provide a false sense of security as we all seek to return to 'normal,' increasing the likelihood of further mutations as the virus spreads amongst the population

A multi-faceted, functional approach specific to the person is required to optimise your brain and whole body health and minimise your risk of severe illness, as well as taking action to strengthen your internal defences and aid recovery as discussed above

All of this can be achieved without drug intervention. All of this we can achieve by taking appropriate action ourselves

Key messages:

  • Take action before you contract the virus to strengthen your outer and inner defences
  • Be rigorous in your testing as adults to reduce the risk of infecting your family and others
  • Isolate if you contract COVID-19
  • Take immediate action to rebuild your internal defences and aid recovery if you contract COVID-19
  • Recognise that the impact on COVID-19 isn't just physical, but also psychological on both yourself and children in your care. Equip yourself and your family with appropriate tools to support you in managing your emotional ship and recovering from any trauma you experience

Further support

If you'd like more support please contact us

We are here for you to support you on your journey to recovery

Register for weekly trauma recovery group coaching by visiting www.ruthmaryallan.com/traumarecovery

To support you or your child in managing day to day stress and anxiety that may have been induced as a result of COVID-19, sign up for the course www.ruthmaryallan.com/haveningwithlilly

 If you would like to register for LIVE brain health training and Q&A specifically focused on COVID-19 and the Brain, register here. The live event takes place on Wednesday 8th December 2021. Recordings will be made available if you are unable to make it.

This blog is for educational purposes only. For professional advice specific to your needs, please connect with us or consult with your primary care doctor.

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