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. In this section, we explain how Long COVID can affect your mental health, as well as your physical health.
How can Long COVID affect my mental health?
While you're recovering from COVID-19, you might find you have time when you feel afraid, anxious, low or depressed. You might feel frustrated that it’s taking time to recover physically, which could make you irritable and angry.
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 think you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or another mental health condition, speak to your GP or another health care professional. Support and treatment is available, and the sooner you seek help the sooner you’ll feel better. 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.
Lots of people have shared their stories of recovering from COVID-19. Some of these people were treated in hospital, but many have been recovering at home.
Help us help you
We need to understand more about breathing and other difficulties after COVID-19. If this affects you, or someone you care for, we would like to hear from you.
By taking our survey you will contribute important information. The data we collect will help guide research and help us develop our services. This will allow healthcare providers and others to better meet your needs.