If you have been hospitalised as a result of COVID-19, it may have an impact on your psychological wellbeing. This can be negative, but also has been evidenced to be positive.
You may have had experiences of being separated from your loved ones while you were in hospital, or having been confused or unconscious while you were being treated. These things can also have an impact upon psychological wellbeing.
There are a lot of different ways that you can help manage/improve your mood. We have outlined some ways below, but everyone is different and you may have your own preferences.
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 are worried about.
- Distract yourself. Doing things that distract you from your thoughts are good, anything where you lose track of time can be good.
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness. Relaxation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood management.
If you feel anxious your breathing rate increases which can cause a panic attack. A panic attack is an overwhelming feeling of danger/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.
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 and wait for it to pass. Some distraction techniques like counting or noticing sounds or colours can be helpful.
Here’s a task to try:
Three Minute Breathing Exercise
- Sit quietly, close your eyes and turn your attention to your breathing.
- Become aware of each in-breath and out-breath.
- Notice how the air feels as it enters your nostrils, fills your lungs and leaves again.
- Fill your lungs slowly, bottom to top, breathing in as though every cell in your body is breathing.
- Breathe in until you can breathe in no more, then breathe out softly.
- If your attention wanders, bring it gently back. Just focus on your breathing….focus on the physical sensation of breathing.
- Pay attention to your body, any sensations you notice and the sounds of the room.
- Continue this for 3 minutes
- When you feel ready slowly open your eyes, stretch and continue with your day.
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 after experiencing a traumatic event or being unwell. Low mood and depression are different. Feelings of low mood may develop into depression if not addressed.
- 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.
Resources for relaxation can be found on the Mind website.
Useful resources for improving mood and relaxation
Go to the Getselfhelp website for CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) self help and therapy resources.
Go to the Mental Health Matters Wales website for information and support.
Go to this YouTube channel for relaxing music.
Go to the Headspace website for tools and resources to look after your mental health.
Go to the Unmind mental health platform for help with mental health at work.
Go to the CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) website for top tips and more.
Go to the Mind website to find information and support with mental health problems.