Strategies to manage post-COVID-19 symptoms
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. Mindfulness tactics may help you better manage your post-COVID-19 symptoms.
Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.
Yoga is an ancient practice that encompasses many different elements beyond the poses you may be familiar with. Most yoga practices also focus on your breath, mindset and overall well-being. That makes yoga a practice that can truly benefit anybody — no matter how old you are, what shape you're in or what physical challenges you have. Yoga isn’t considered a treatment for any particular disease or condition, however, patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome may find yoga to be a helpful self-care strategy that can help manage ongoing symptoms.
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety and can also lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. Fight stress and find serenity by following along to yoga videos or try the slide deck of yoga poses.
There are also many electronic resources, such as smart phone apps, that can help with relaxation and mindfulness.
Get physical activity every day.
Even when you are uncomfortable, give your body a daily dose of moderate physical activity. Walking, swimming, bicycling, or some other gentle activity every day is essential for helping your body heal. When your brain relearns that movement is safe, you may feel less pain.
Do stretching exercises every day.
Your muscles tighten up when you’re uncomfortable. This makes it harder to keep moving. Doing stretching exercises for 15 minutes every day makes movement easier and more comfortable. Gentle yoga or daily stretching exercises can be found online, or you can ask your primary care provider or a physical therapist for suggestions.
Practice healthy sleep habits.
Your body needs healthy sleep to help it produce fewer danger signals. It is important to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day. You may need to relearn how to get healthy sleep. It is important to get up at the same time every day and develop a routine of going to bed at about the same time every night. Use your bedroom only for sleeping. Avoid use of TV, computers and other electronics within an hour of bedtime. Taking naps and spending time in bed during the day can disrupt your sleep.
Change your pain thoughts.
Many people find themselves constantly thinking about their symptoms.
Typical thoughts might include:
- “I’m in so much pain that I’m not going to get out of bed today.”
- “I’ll never be able to do what I want because I have no energy.”
These thoughts activate the danger mode in your brain, making your symptoms more intense. When you notice you think or say things about symptoms that sound scary or helpless, change your words.
For example, tell yourself, “I’ve had pain before and I got through it by using positive skills, such as deep breathing and relaxation.”
This can help you turn down the volume on your symptoms and help you cope better.
Find a support group.
Engage with a support group in our Connect Groups.
To learn more about program options at Mayo Clinic, go to our Next Steps.