Skip to main content

Psychological Wellbeing

Having Long COVID can have an impact on your psychological wellbeing. The impact of your symptoms upon your quality of life can result in low mood, frustration and anxiety.  You may have been separated from your loved ones while you or they were in hospital, been confused about where you were or unconscious while you were being treated, which can all affect you psychologically. 

There are many different ways that you can help yourself to manage your feelings. We have outlined some ways below, but everyone is different and you may have your own preferences.

Feeling anxious

We know that this is a time of uncertainty and it is natural to feel anxious. Anxiety can manifest in many ways both physically and mentally, this can include palpitations, tense muscles, stomach problems, over-breathing, worrying thoughts, poor sleep and many other symptoms.

There are things you can do to reduce anxiety.

  • Identify what triggers your anxiety. Ask yourself, “What am I anxious about?” Is there anything in particular that you are worried about, it may be that you can’t pinpoint it and that you generally feel anxious.
  • Challenge your thoughts. Our mind is very powerful and we often jump to conclusions. Look at the evidence for what you are thinking?  Is it the only possible scenario?  Are there other alternatives?  It may not be as bad as you think.
  • Distract yourself. Doing things that distract you from your thoughts are good, anything where you lose track of time can be good.
  • Practise Relaxation and Mindfulness - relaxation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood management.

Search mindfulness or relaxation on the Mind website.

Panic attacks

If you feel anxious your breathing rate increases which can cause a panic attack. A panic attack is an overwhelming feeling of danger or stress often caused by a trigger.

When stressed, our bodies react to protect ourselves from a perceived danger. This is a ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ or ‘freeze’ response when our bodies release adrenaline. Usually when panic attacks occur, there is no physical danger. Everyone experiences panic attacks differently but a common feeling is that they are having a heart attack— you are not. Whilst very uncomfortable, the symptoms are harmless and will pass, although there are some things that you can do to help:

Recognising a panic attack

You may experience the following sensations during a panic attack: heart pounding, chest pains, changes in breathing pattern, feeling breathless, pounding in the head, feeling faint, feeling terror, feeling anxious, feeling hot, sweating, choking feeling, stomach churning.

How to regain control after a panic attack

  • Practicing controlled breathing– breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Sit down wait for it to pass. Some distraction techniques like counting or noticing sounds or colours can be helpful.
Here’s a task to try:

3 Minute Breathing Exercise

  1. Sit quietly, close your eyes and turn your attention to your breathing.
  2. Become aware of each in-breath and out-breath.
  3. Notice how the air feels as it enters your nostrils, fills your lungs and leaves again.
  4. Fill your lungs slowly, bottom to top, breathing in as though every cell in your body is breathing.
  5. Breathe in until you can breathe in no more, and then breathe out softly.
  6. If your attention wanders, bring it gently back. Just focus on your breathing….focus on the physical sensation of breathing.
  7. Pay attention to your body, any sensations you notice and the sounds of the room.
  8. Continue this for 3 minutes
  9. When you feel ready slowly open your eyes, stretch and continue with your day.
Low Mood

Most people will suffer from low mood at different times of their life, which can be the result of an event or things not going the way we planned. These feelings normally subside within 2 weeks although this can be longer experiencing a traumatic event or being unwell. Low mood and depression are different. Feelings of low mood may develop into depression if not addressed.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 UK adults will have experienced a common mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression in the last week and this figure is likely to be higher in the face of a pandemic / critical illness.

Talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be really helpful for depression and anxiety and there are a number of agencies that you can approach directly for help such as MIND.

In North Wales there is a service called Parabl that offers various options for help and support.

Your GP will also be able to refer you to a professional therapist or counsellor and may also discuss with you options for medication that might be helpful whilst your mood is low.

Some Critical Care (Intensive Care) units have a dedicated Clinical Psychologist attached to them. Ask your hospital team if there is a Clinical Psychologist available to support you after discharge if symptoms persist. 

Parabl Talking Therapies provides short-term therapeutic interventions for individuals facing common mental health difficulties or challenging life events which may be impacting on their emotional wellbeing.

Contact Parabl to arrange a telephone assessment on 0300 777 2257 Or visit Parabl's website.

  • Using guided relaxation and relaxation breathing techniques boost your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and boost your energy levels.

Plan in time to complete relaxation and practice breathing techniques as part of fatigue management. Useful resources can be found here:

Other useful website resources for improving mood and relaxation: