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.

The most common Mental Health symptoms of Post-COVID are Anxiety and Depression.

Anxiety

What does anxiety look like in everyday life?

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.

Management

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

    • Seeking social connections and peer support
    • Taking a break from the news or social media
    • Sticking to a schedule or routine
    • Engaging in physical activity
    • Hydrating
    • Getting good nutrition
    • Exercising mindfulness and meditation

    Speak with a member of our interdisciplinary healthcare team for specific strategies to help you manage anxiety.

    When should I speak to a
    healthcare professional?

    Speaking to a healthcare professional experienced in Post-COVID is important if the strategies you’re using at home to manage your anxiety aren’t effective and anxiety continues to impact your life.

    If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you need urgent attention. Please proceed to your nearest emergency department or call 911.

    What does depression look like in everyday life?

    Depression affects people in different ways. It can affect your mind, body and behavior.

    You might feel:

    • Sad, upset or tearful
    • Guilty or worthless
    • Restless or irritable
    • Unable to enjoy things that usually bring you pleasure
    • Helpless or hopeless

    Physical symptoms can include:

    • Tiredness or lack of energy
    • Moving or speaking slowly
    • Sleep problems
    • Changes to weight or appetite
    • Constipation
    • Unexplained aches and pains
    • Low libido

    You might behave differently. You may:

    • Struggle to accomplish small things
    • Miss appointments
    • Avoid other people, including family and friends
    • Find it difficult to function at work or school
    • Find it difficult to make decisions
    • Be unable to concentrate
    • Find things that you normally enjoy feel like a burden

    Depression

    We all have times when we feel down, but depression is about more than feeling sad for a few days. Depression causes a low mood that lasts a long time and affects your daily life.

    A mood disorder is a mental health problem that primarily affects a person’s emotional state. Your general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances and interferes with your ability to function. You may be extremely sad, empty or irritable (depressed), or you may have periods of depression alternating with being excessively happy (mania).

    What causes depression in people with Post-COVID?

    Experts believe that a COVID-19 infection can affect your mental health in two ways: your body’s immune response to the virus itself and the psychological stress of Post-COVID. Some people may also experience a depressed mood, which can be an appropriate response to drastic Post-COVID health and life changes.

    Management

    The following tips may help you manage your Post-COVID depression:

      dramatic portrait in the dark of attractive depressed and worried man on bed suffering depression crisis and anxiety feeling lost sitting sleepless in insomnia and life problem concept
      • Engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is based on the idea that our feelings, thoughts, and actions are all connected. By changing one of these, we can change the others.
      • Talking about how you are feeling to someone you trust or a counselor.
      • Getting good nutrition.
      • Staying physically active.
      • Getting enough sleep.
      • Spending time in nature.
      • Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.
      • Practicing mindfulness meditation.

      Speak with a member of our interdisciplinary healthcare team for specific strategies to help you manage depression.

      When should I speak to a
      healthcare professional?

      Speaking to a healthcare professional experienced in Post-COVID to help diagnose and manage the symptoms of depression is important if the above strategies do not help and symptoms persist beyond two to three weeks. If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you need urgent attention. Please proceed to your nearest Emergency Department or call 911.