Living with a chronic illness like Long Covid can be very challenging mentally as you adjust to many changes in your life and outside of your control. It can mean not being able to participate in family or social events, so patients often report feeling lonely and isolated. It can mean you can’t do the things you usually do for enjoyment or exercise. It can create financial challenges if working has to be reduced or stopped. All of this can add up to feeling overwhelmed, scared, anxious and depressed, and so it is important to take care of your mental health.
There are several things you can do for your mental health:
- Be kind to yourself. It is not your fault that you are sick. Be gentle and lower your expectations of yourself and try to accept the slower pace.
- Join a support group where other people understand your situation and can offer emotional guidance and advice. Our Facebook support group is a safe space (confidentiality assured) and is actively moderated.
- Talk to your GP who may refer you to counselling services or suggest medication to help you should you feel unable to cope.
- Talk to a trusted family member or friend. Sometimes sharing how you are feeling can make a difference.
- Find things you can enjoy each day, even if it is just watching nature, a favourite show or listening to an interesting podcast.
- Try to accept your current situation, whilst remaining hopeful for the future. Cultivating acceptance and hope is a powerful tool in keeping strong mental health in difficult situations including chronic illness. Most people do improve over time, there are many people working on clinical pathways too – things will not always be this hard.
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Grieving, crying, and even expressing anger, at the situation can help you process emotions rather than bottling them up. Keeping a journal or creating expressive art can be a helpful way to process difficult emotions.
- Spend time in nature. Plenty of research shows that spending time in nature can be beneficial to mental health. Sunlight, the sounds of birds, and grass under your feet can all help to boost your mood. Grounding is an excellent (and free) way to feel connected.
- Ask for help with life tasks. Reducing stress by getting support with looking after children, or household chores can be very helpful. Talk to your employer, friends, and family about ways they can support you.
For further information on Long Covid and mental health please see our symptoms articles on anxiety and depression and check out these resources from the Mental Health Foundation and this blog on chronic illness.
Living with Long Covid can be really difficult. But with support and a few tools you can maintain your mental health throughout your journey.