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How to cope with post-viral fatigue after COVID-19

There are still many questions about long COVID and the lasting effects of the coronavirus. Which is why it continues to be a concern in the post-pandemic world we find ourselves in.

An Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey estimates that 1.1 million people were affected by long COVID in the UK in February.

The survey asked if people faced issues such as fatigue lasting more than four weeks after a COVID infection. In fact, fatigue was the most common COVID-19 symptom after 5 weeks.

Image source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56601911

With fatigue being such a common factor amongst people who are recovering from COVID-19, we thought we’d provide some practical advice on how to cope with post-viral fatigue after COVID-19.

What is post-viral fatigue?

Post-viral fatigue is when you have an extended period of feeling unwell and tired after a viral infection.

You’ll feel drained of energy, feel unsteady on your feet and probably want to sleep more.

Why do people suffer from fatigue after COVID-19?

Fatigue is a normal part of the body’s response to fighting a viral infection like COVID-19.

This feeling is likely to continue for some time after the infection has cleared.

It’s important to plan your days when recovering from COVID-19 and try to conserve as much energy as possible.

Coping with post-viral fatigue after COVID-19

When recovering from COVID-19, rest is very important to help your body fight off infection. This includes resting both your body and your mind.

Here are 6 tips for managing post-viral fatigue:

  • Keep screen time to a minimum and reduce the time you spend watching TV or other devices.
  • Music, relaxation, aromatherapy breathing techniques and meditation can all support quality rest.
  • Follow a bedtime routine to ensure you get a healthy sleep.
  • Keep to a normal routine for eating and drinking. Drink plenty of fluid and stick to a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg.

  • Keep active but don’t overdo it. Move slowly and gently and only do a small number of activities (both physical and mental) each day.
  • Give yourself time. COVID-19 affects people in different ways. Don’t feel pressurised into becoming too active too soon. Don’t rush and don’t return to work until you are fully recovered.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has put together some practical advice on how to manage post-viral fatigue.

Top tips on conserving energy after COVID-19

When you’re recovering from an illness, simple tasks like putting on your shoes can feel like hard work.

The 3 Ps principle is a process that can help you to save energy.

The 3 Ps principle: 1. Pace

Pacing yourself will ensure that you have enough energy to complete an activity.

This could include breaking activities into smaller tasks and spreading them across the day. You could also build breaks between activities, resting whenever possible.

The 3 Ps principle: 2. Plan

Develop a plan for the activities you normally do on a daily or weekly basis and spread the activities out.

Plan ahead and collect all the items you need before starting a task. Have rest days between activities and organise certain tasks when you know that family or friends are visiting and can help (so long as you are no longer self-isolating).

The 3 Ps principle: 3. Prioritise

Some activities are necessary, but some aren’t.

Ask yourself what you need to do and what you want to do.

What can you put off for another day?

Could you ask someone else to do something for you?

The answers to these questions should tell you what activities are necessary.

RCOT has put together a helpful guide to the 3 Ps principle and conserving your energy. It includes practical tips on how to plan daily activities, including washing, dressing, cooking, shopping and housework.

Supporting employees with post-viral fatigue

COVID-19 is still a new illness. So, every day we’re learning more about how people can recover from it. But the speed of recovery will vary from person to person.

Don’t rush into returning to work or your normal daily routines until you’re fully recovered.

The support of an occupational health specialist can help you return to work safely after COVID-19.

If you’d like to find out how our occupational health coronavirus services can support employees with post-viral fatigue, get in touch with the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: CoronavirusHealth & WellbeingOccupational Health

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