Having Post-COVID (also known as Long COVID) can be hard on your mental health, especially if your symptoms last an extended amount of time. Feeling stress, anxiety or depression is common when you’re unwell and as you recover. You may experience distressing images or thoughts related to your COVID-19 illness or hospital stay, or reminders that lead to intense reactions.

Your mood may be affected by feelings of frustration from not being able to return to daily activities that are important to you. Managing these feelings is an important part of your recovery.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE

When you feel anxious, your body goes on high alert, looking for possible danger and activating your fight or flight responses. As a result, common symptoms of anxiety include nervousness, restlessness, tension and feelings of danger, panic or dread.

Anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, you may experience a wide range of physical symptoms, including pounding heart, sweating, headaches, stomach upset, dizziness and insomnia.

POSSIBLE CAUSES

Post-COVID anxiety can be caused by inflammation in the brain and nerve cell damage in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 survivors. Those with symptoms of anxiety showed cognitive impairment and high levels of the biomarkers of brain inflammation.

Other possible causes:

Psychological distress of a new, debilitating health condition

Financial distress due to health-related job leave/unemployment

Previously high-functioning individuals requiring family members and friends to be caregivers

SYMPTOMS

Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

Irritability

Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

Difficulty sleeping, including falling or staying asleep

Palpitations or being aware of heart beats

Being easily fatigued

Having difficulty concentrating

Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains

MANAGEMENT

Various strategies that can be used at home to help manage anxiety include:

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Seeking social connections and peer support

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Taking a break from the news or social media

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Sticking to a schedule or routine

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Engaging in physical activity

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Hydrating

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Getting good nutrition

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Exercising mindfulness and meditation

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Engaging in physical activity

Take Charge of Your Recovery

Learn self-management techniques with other long haulers in the Post-COVID Support Community. Start your free trial and connect with members today.