Managing your mental health
Being ill for a long time can be very distressing, and many people find that this experience has an impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
How can Long COVID affect my mental health?
While you're recovering from COVID-19, you might find that you have time when you feel afraid, anxious, low or depressed. On top of this, you might feel frustrated that it’s taking time to recover physically, which could make you irritable and angry. You might have other symptoms as well, depending on what has happened during your illness.
There are things you can do to help yourself, such as:
- distracting yourself when you’re feeling anxious, perhaps by taking a gentle walk or calling a friend
- gradually starting to do things you enjoyed before you were ill, like gardening or DIY
- trying mindfulness meditation: you might want to try mindful breathing exercises or you could take a look at the NHS Be Mindful online course
- sticking to a good sleep routine, going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day
- not drinking too much alcohol, as this can affect your mood
- setting yourself a realistic plan for the day, with small goals that will give you a sense of accomplishment.
NHS Every Mind Matters also has lots of advice on looking after your mental health.
If you’re still feeling very low or anxious after a couple of weeks, if your anxiety is getting worse, or if you’re having thoughts of self-harm, it’s a good idea to see your GP. You can also refer yourself for free NHS talking therapies through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service without needing to see your GP.
The NHS Your Covid Recovery website also has advice on:
- managing fear and anxiety
- managing your mood
- coping with fear and frustration
- memory and concentration.
Long COVID and your lungs
How to manage your breathlessness and cough when recovering from Long COVID.