Coping With COVID-19: 6 Tips to Protect Your Mental Health When You’re Sick
If you have COVID-19 and are recovering at home, it’s important to take care of both your physical and mental health while in isolation.
It’s normal to feel anxiety, worry and grief any time you’re diagnosed with a medical condition – and that’s certainly true if you test positive for COVID-19, or are presumed to be positive.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Isolation protects others from getting sick – but for the person who is sick, it might seem like one more thing on top of an already stressful situation.
Here are some ways to keep anxiety and sadness from creeping in while you recover from COVID-19:
You may not know how you got infected, or how long it will take to recover. Instead of focusing your energy on regret or what ifs, double down on what you can do. Your job now is to take care of yourself, get well and avoid spreading the infection to anyone else.
Ask loved ones to check in on you regularly via phone, email or video chat. Talk to them about how you’re feeling. If you’re worried about taking care of children, pets or household duties while you’re sick, identify family members, friends or members of your community who aren’t part of a high-risk population and may be able to help.
Feed your body nutritious food (over comfort food) when your appetite allows, and stay hydrated. If you’re able, take deep breaths, meditate or stretch to help relax your body.
Puzzles, books and crossword puzzles can help keep your mind occupied and your thoughts from ruminating. Keeping a journal of what you’re experiencing may also help you sort out your thoughts and stay positive, Dr. Anand says.
Your body needs rest in order to recover, so now isn’t the time to stay up till 3 a.m. binge watching a new show.
All the chatter online can make you feel even more upset and overwhelmed. “If you’ve reached that point, take a break, or set a time limit for yourself around TV-watching and social media usage,” Dr. Anand says.
Being socially isolated can increase your risk of depression and anxiety. While you recover, watch out for these common red flags:
Dr. Anand notes that many behavioral health professionals are now seeing patients virtually, so if you can’t seem to control your negative thoughts, or experience any of these signs for more than two weeks, ask your healthcare provider to refer you to someone.