Fatigue = feeling tired all the time
Why do I feel so tired?
It is normal to feel tired for quite a while after having coronavirus. This is because fighting an infection uses a lot of energy. You may continue to feel tired because your body is still trying to get better.
Fatigue can also be the effect of a serious illness. For example, extreme tiredness caused by pneumonia can take up to six months to get better. People can also feel fatigued even if they had very mild symptoms of COVID-19.
The Physios for ME website has more information about fatigue if you’ve been living with symptoms of COVID-19.
Some people have fatigue for longer than others during their recovery – everyone is different.
What can I do to help my fatigue?
How much energy you need and how tired you are can vary from day to day – even hour to hour.
If you have a task or activity to do that will use a lot of energy, it’s important to plan ahead for this. Try to take regular breaks – waiting until you need to stop can make you feel more fatigued.
You can use breathing techniques to help you do things if you get breathless when you’re more active. Getting your breathing right can help your fatigue. The NHS Your Covid Recovery website has more on what you can do about fatigue if you’re recovering from COVID-19.
Ideas to help your energy levels
You can help your energy levels by addressing the causes of your fatigue. You could try to:
- pace yourself with keeping active – it is important to keep active, but try not to do too much too soon, as you may become more fatigued. Try to pace yourself
- set a daily routine – create a realistic routine that you feel comfortable with. Planning your days and setting a regular routine can help you manage your fatigue. Try keeping a symptoms diary, so you can track what activities cause your symptoms. It’s important to know your triggers for fatigue, as this will help you manage it. For example you may finding staring at a screen for too long gives you brain fog
- get help for low mood, anxiety, or stress – we have more information and support for your mental wellbeing
- get help with your sleep – the NHS Every Mind Matters website has more information on managing sleep problems
- get enough rest during the day – it’s important to plan breaks throughout the day. You may need to save time and energy by getting help when you need it. For example, instead of going to the supermarket, you could do an online shop instead. You could ask family and friends for help too.
It’s not just physical activity that can drain you. It can be spending too long thinking about or doing a task, spending time with friends, as well as emotional stress and worry. There are different types of fatigue, which may affect you in different ways.
I am getting help and advice via virtual sessions led by specialist nurses and occupational therapists. They are addressing the effects of Long COVID with the aim of trying to understand the symptoms and to help us manage them.
As a group, we are learning to manage symptoms using awareness, mindfulness, good breathing techniques, rest, energy management, and relaxation. Most of the patients suffer from fatigue, and the sessions being online mean we don’t have to deplete our energy by travelling to appointments. We can do it from our own homes.
It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one going through the sometimes overwhelming symptoms of Long COVID.
- Syeeda, who is living with Long COVID
When will I have more energy?
Some people recover from coronavirus in a few weeks, but for others it can take much longer. It can be hard to cope if you are feeling unwell for a long time.
Try to make time for things that make you feel happy and are enjoyable. This may be physical, or it might be something more relaxing. The recovery from COVID-19 might be slow and frustrating. Track what you do and each few weeks you should see some progress.
Ask for help from friends and family if you need to. Doing too much too soon could set your recovery back, so it’s important to listen to your body. It’ll tell you if it’s tired or in pain, so rest regularly and be prepared to slowly increase your activity levels. Try to increase your activity a small amount each week, if you can.
Even if you have Long COVID, it’s important to get your COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, if you haven’t already. You can read more about the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to some common questions, on our vaccine FAQ page.
Movement support course
Our movement videos have been designed to help people who are living with Long COVID. This information is available in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Mandarin and Urdu:
- Watch: Before you start
- Watch: 1 Introduction to movement
- Watch: 2 Warm up
- Watch: 3 Lower body
- Watch: 4 Upper body
- Watch: 5 Cool down
- Read: 6 Tracking your activity