Things to do before and after your COVID-19 vaccine
Is that “Here comes the sun” by The Beatles I hear playing in the background?
This past weekend I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and this song has been stuck in my head ever since. Now I am well aware that the pandemic is far from over and that we still have a very long road ahead of us; but wow, it sure does feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Not only am I one step closer to leaving the pandemic untouched by COVID-19, but I am also doing my part to keep every single person that I come in contact with safe and healthy. I’m not going to lie, it feels pretty cool.
As thrilled as I was for getting the vaccine (it’s all I really talked about in the week leading up to it), I will totally admit that I was a little nervous the day of. I have read the science and the literature, I have listened to credible sources of information, and have kept up to date on all of the most current evidence for the vaccine since talks started last April. Yet I still felt a little nervous. I asked myself things like “well, what if I have a reaction?” Or “What if it doesn’t work?” And even had the occasional thought of “maybe I should wait a few more months to get it.”
These thoughts were becoming almost invasive as I got closer and closer to getting the vaccine, and then I just stopped and back fired at these questions. Instead of asking “what if I have a reaction?” I asked “what if I don’t have a reaction?” And when I thought “what if it doesn’t work?” I thought “what if it does work?” And slowly, I was able to gain more control and muster up the courage to show up, sign the papers, get the shot, and schedule my second dose.
And just like that, I showed up, signed the papers, got the shot, and scheduled my second dose. All on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon. As I walked into the parking lot afterwards, the sun felt warmer, the birds sang more beautifully, and I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement.
And then my arm started to hurt. Like really hurt.
No I wasn’t having a crazy reaction or anything like that, I was just having all of the normal and expected side effects. So today, I am not only going to (hopefully) inspire you to get the vaccine, I am also going to share some of my selfcare tips to help ease some of the side effects that you may experience after getting the vaccine.
Drink lots of water the day of; before and after getting the shot. If you’re anything like me and can always count on getting lightheaded when stuck with a needle, drink some water! Being well hydrated may not necessarily help prevent this, but it will certainly make you feel a little better. After all, being dehydrated, and then lightheaded isn’t a fun combination.
Have your ice pack and Tylenol ready. Even though the pain wasn’t immediate, I took Tylenol and used an ice pack as soon as I got home in order to get ahead of the pain.
Eat a nutrient-dense meal. Having a bunch of calorie-dense foods almost always leaves you feeling groggy and sluggish, so have a nutrient-dense meal after your vaccine to avoid this feeling.
Drink your tea and go to bed early. Within a few hours of getting the vaccine, I did feel a little sleepy so drinking tea and going to bed early gave my body the rest it needed and allowed me to stay well hydrated into the night.
Honor yourself and your body. This is the most important tip. Make sure you thank your body for keeping you healthy and safe throughout the pandemic and up until now. Your body has been carrying a lot of stress and sadness during the past year all while trying to keep you healthy. So after you get your vaccine, honor your body, listen to it, and let it rest while you let the vaccine do its job to keep you healthy and safe.
And if you are still hesitant about getting the vaccine, I invite you to lean in. Ask questions, and get information from credible resources. Yes, this is a new vaccine and may seem kind of scary. But once you learn more about it, what it means, and how it works; I promise it is not that bad.
Until I get my second dose, I will continue to wear masks, wash my hands, and keep my distance. I will continue to do my part. Finally, if you have decided to get the vaccine or have already gotten it; I want to thank you for doing your part to keep yourself and others (including myself) safe. You are caring, courageous, and selfless. Thank you.