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Managing low mood

 

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Getting better after COVID can take some time and could affect your mood.

Some information on this page may be upsetting. If you are affected by any of the subjects mentioned, there are useful links below to get support.

People can often feel low when they have been ill with COVID. Sometimes their friends, family or carers can also feel low because they have been worried about you. The people you trust will be able to help and support you if you are experiencing low mood.

What might I be feeling if I have low mood?

Low mood can affect people in different ways. The following are all common signs of low mood:

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Wanting to cry a lot
  • Getting angry and annoyed with people
  • Not wanting to do things you normally enjoy such as going out
  • Not wanting to have contact with friends and family
  • Using unhealthy life choices to take your mind off how you feel, e.g. eating a poor diet
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Thinking about hurting yourself
  • Having thoughts about ending your life

Low mood can also make you:

  • Move or speak slowly
  • Want to eat more or less than you normally do
  • Not want to eat at all
  • Have no energy
  • Not want to have sex
  • Find it hard to get to sleep
  • Not have a good night’s sleep
  • Not want to get out of bed
  • Wake up earlier than normal

Most people experience low mood at some point in their life. You should not feel ashamed to tell somebody if you are feeling low. Keeping your feelings to yourself can make you feel worse and it could affect your health.

If you need support you could:

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What are some things I can do to help myself if I feel low?

Start by accepting that your mood is low at the moment, however, this does not mean that you will always feel this way. For most people, low mood will get better on its own but some people do need to practice self-care and ask for support as needed.

Here are some ways to help you feel better:

  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling (e.g. family/friend) – this may seem frightening, and you may be worried about burdening them, but also certainly they will know something is wrong and want to help but not know how to – remember, “a problem shared is a problem halved”
  • Stay in touch with people – talking to people can cheer you up – you should try to talk to people you trust, if you cannot meet face to face, talk over the phone or online even if you feel as though you might not have much to talk about, you might enjoy hearing their news and they are probably interested in finding out how you are recovering from COVID
  • Keeping a mood or thought diary – this might help you to notice changes in your mood and to notice the good or bad things that have happened that day that might have affected your mood
  • Try to get back to your routine as soon as you can – this might mean getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, or completing your mood/thought diary at a certain time of the day – if you are struggling to get back to your old routine, you can try to keep a new routine that is more suitable with what you can and cannot do at the moment
  • Plan what to do each day – choose something you enjoy and plan when you will do it and make sure it is something you can do easily such as making your favourite meal or meeting you friend – try to do what you have planned for the day even if you do not feel like it as people who stick to their plans often feel better for having achieved them
  • Eat well – try to eat regular meals and healthier foods as healthy eating is an important part of living a health life and there is a lot of evidence to show that this can make us feel better physically and mentally – sometimes eating unhealthy food can make you feel better for a short time, but that does not usually last long
  • Do not drink too much alcohol (you should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week) – if you are feeling low, you might start drinking more to cope with your mood or for something to do, but alcohol will not solve your problems and could make you feel worse
  • Keep active – exercise is good for your body when you have been ill and it is also good for your mood – if you have not exercise for a while, start with something simple (like a short walk around your home or garden) and slowly build it up to a longer walk around your local neighbourhood – as you start to feel better, you can start doing more exercises and activities that you enjoy

What other tips can I use?

  • Tell people you trust that you want to talk
  • Try to spend at least 10 minutes every day talking to people about how you are feeling
  • Try to talk about other things not just your low mood
  • Try to talk about something good that has happened, or that you enjoyed doing
  • Talk about how you are feeling about getting over COVID
  • You could talk about something you feel happy about such as having good friends or sharing something you are good at
  • Think about a happy time or a time that made you laugh and talk about it – there is evidence to show that when people smile more, they feel better

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What are some guides I can use to help me with my mood?

You could take an NHS mood quiz to measure your mood.

The NHS has put together some audio guides to help you with low mood, stress and anxiety.

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Where can I get help for my low mood?

If you are still struggling with a very low mood a few weeks after your acute infection of COVID, you should talk to your GP or another healthcare professional.

The GP might say you need:

  • Help from a specialist doctor such as psychiatrist
  • Some special therapy such as ‘talking therapy’ which means talking to someone who is trained to help you deal with bad or negative feelings
  • Some medication or a change of medication

There is a special NHS service called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies or IAPT.

Your GP or healthcare professional can refer you to IAPT or you can get in touch yourself – find your local psychological therapy service or IAPT service.

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What if I need urgent help?

If you cannot cope or your mood and feelings get out of control, there is more help.

Call NHS mental health helplines in your local area by going to this NHS website to get:

  • 24-hour advice and support for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for to speak to a mental health professional
  • An assessment to help you decide on the best care

Call 116 123 to talk to the Samaritans.

Email: jo@samaritans.org for a reply within 24 hours.

Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line.

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