Post-COVID Depression: 5 Little Known Ways To Fight And Beat It

The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is having an impact on the mental health of COVID patients. Research is showing many COVID-19 patients are getting symptoms of depression, which some choose to call post-COVID depression. For example, one study found that over 50% of patients surveyed had depression about three months after COVID-19 infection.    

Symptoms Of Post-COVID Depression

Some of the symptoms of this kind of depression are:

  • Severe headaches
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping a lot
  • Pain
  • Labored breathing or shortness of breath

Causes Of Post-COVID-19 Depression

There are two causes of this type of depression:

  • The medical cause
  • The psychological causes

The Medical Cause

When a person gets infected with the coronavirus, his or her immune system produces higher levels of a certain chemical called cytokines. These chemicals cause inflammation and then enter the central nervous system CNS). In the CNS, the cytokines damage cells there and cause inflammation. The inflammation releases even more cytokines. The cytokines decrease the level of antioxidants like glutathione in the body. Research has shown that activation of the immune system and the associated inflammation, as well as reduced levels of antioxidants, have been observed in people with depression.

The Psychological Causes

Social isolation- Some patients who are quarantined, or who are prevented from getting visits from relatives during hospital stays, can feel isolated and lonely and that can cause depression.

Survival guilt- Some patients feel guilty that they have survived the infection while some relatives and/or friends have died as a result of COVID-19 and they may suffer depression as a result.

Negative thoughts-  Worrying about death of loved ones, job losses and the financial implications, businesses that may have folded up because of the pandemic, or thinking about the uncertain future etc. may cause depression.

The stigma associated with an infection- Patients who think they will be stigmatized because they have contracted the infection may suffer depression.

You may have post-COVID depression and may be taking the traditional treatment for it. However, because of the side effects of the medications you want to try other ways of dealing with your depression. Or, you are one of those people who don’t respond well to those treatments.

Here are some other things to try to help you fight and beat your post-COVID depression.

  1. Bouldering Therapy

This kind of therapy, which involves climbing rocks or walls, can help to lower symptoms of depression and give you hope for the future.

Some studies, including this one, suggest bouldering can be effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. And what makes this therapy great is that the benefits last for a very long time. A small study published in December 2019 showed that people suffering from depression who engaged in this activity felt better immediately after finishing the sessions. And one year later the participants still felt less depressed when the researchers did a follow-up study

How It Works

Climbing rocks will make you focus all your attention on now, the present, rather than reminisce about bad things that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, or worrying about what might go wrong in the future.

Furthermore, when you finish a session, you will experience a sense of conquering a challenge. That sense of achievement can help give you the confidence that you can face other challenges still confronting you as a result of the COVID-19.  Consequently, you will find it easier to feel more hopeful about the future and battling the feelings of hopelessness that normally accompany depression will become easy for you.

Number Of Sessions To Do To Make It Effective

Practice it for at least three hours a week, and at least for eight weeks. You can make it more fun by doing it in a group with your family members or with other post-COVID depression patients so you can interact to kick away feelings of isolation.

 2. Do Acupuncture

This involves piercing the skin with thin needles. A  very large study that assessed 64 studies involving more than 7,100 participants, found that acupuncture is moderately effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.  

How It Works

Acupuncture can help relieve the pain that you suffer as a result of the COVID-19 and the depression.

Acupuncture can also restore vitality in your body, boost your energy levels, and fight the fatigue and listlessness you may be experiencing because of the depression.

Acupuncture will also stimulate the brain to release chemicals that will make you feel good and stimulate your body to heal itself.

Number Of Sessions To Do To Make It Effective

The number of sessions that will be effective varies from person to person. One session a week may be effective for some people. Others need two or three sessions a week before they feel better.

If you are scared of the needles, relax. Acupuncture is very safe. The only downsides are the discomfort you will experience when the needles are stuck in your skin, sores at the site of needle penetration, and just a little bleeding. Optionally, you can choose heat stimulation, friction stimulation and other types of stimulation.


Make sure you go to a licensed and board-certified practitioner. You can find one in the directory of licensed practitioners of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the body that gives professional licenses for Chinese medicine in the USA.

If you have any of the conditions below then acupuncture may not be safe for you:

  • You have a bleeding disorder
  • You have chronic skin problems
  • A pacemaker has been fixed in your heart
  • You are a pregnant woman
  • You have breast or other implants

 3. Do Massage

This involves the use of the fingers, hands, arms, elbows to knead and pressure muscles to treat emotional problems.  This study suggests massage can help you when you are suffering from depression. It reviewed more than 12 massage studies done by the University of Miami School of Medicine and concluded that massage therapy can help you when you are suffering from depression.

How It Works

 When you are massaged, the levels of “feel-good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine increase in your brain. These chemicals help calm the mind and help one feel happy.

Massage can also relieve muscle tension, as well as ease physical aches and pains.

Number Of Sessions To Do To Make It Effective

Different studies have shown different results. Generally, though, studies show doing between one session a week and 24 sessions in a week, will be effective. Each session should last at least 30 minutes.

Research has also shown massage is even more effective if it is done with scented oils such as lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood.

Let your partner or relative watch massage videos and then give you a good, soothing massage. Or visit the American Massage Therapy Association website and find a professional massage therapist.

 4. Travel From Home Regularly

Depression can make you stay indoors or at home perpetually because that may feel more comforting than venturing out. However, according to a study done in Taiwan, doing the opposite will help you. That study found that people who travel often feel about seven per cent happier than those who don’t.

How It Works

Traveling promotes happiness and it will help you take your mind off all the stressful thoughts about COVID-19.

Furthermore, seeing how different people in different places are coping with COVID-19, and interacting with people who have also been adversely affected by COVID-19 but who are showing resilience and are hopeful about tomorrow will help broaden your perspective. You will re-evaluate what has happened to you, find it easier to change perspectives and see the positive side of things.

The new experiences you gather on the trips will also help rewire your brain, hence helping to boost your mood.

Even the act of planning to travel out of your house or neighborhood will help make you feel happy, that’s according to a study done at Cornell University.

How To Do It To Make It Effective

Travel at least seven miles from home

Research shows visiting a variety of places helps induce more positive emotions.

You can also improve the effectiveness of these trips by visiting parks and other places where you can interact with nature because research shows walks in nature help improve the symptoms of depression in people suffering from clinical depression.

Furthermore, walk about mindfully and admire the trees, vegetation, flowers etc during the trips to help break the constant rumination about the COVID-19.

 5. Do Yoga

Yoga involves doing different body poses while breathing mindfully and meditating at the same time. Research shows yoga can be a good way to boost your mood and improve depression symptoms

How It Works

The physical movement will help increase levels of serotonin, a hormone that boosts mood, in your body to make you feel happy. It will also increase the production of endorphins — “feel-good chemicals” in the brain — to make you feel good. Yoga can also help increase levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), another mood-boosting hormone.

One study has shown that the mindful breathing exercises that accompany yoga are effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.

When someone is suffering from depression, a region of the brain known as the default mode network (DMN), becomes very active. Research from 2011 suggested that regular meditation can help reduce activity in that region. Meditation will help clear your mind of all the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked in your life and stop your mind from dwelling on negative thoughts.

How To Do It To Make It More Effective

A study done by Boston University suggested going for yoga classes as well as doing yoga sessions at home (you can learn from instructional videos and yoga apps). Each session should last at least 90 minutes.

With regard to the poses to do, the poses most used in most of the yoga studies were:

  • Asanas
  • Mindfulness-based meditation (with yoga)
  • Hatha yoga
  • Pranayama

If you have post-COVID depression, these are some of the strategies you can use to help you deal with it. Discuss all these strategies with your doctor before using them. Tell them about what is working and what isn’t. They will work with you to help you beat and fight the depression.

11/9/2022 2:21:24 PM
Isaac Nunoofio
Written by Isaac Nunoofio
Isaac Nunoofio is a freelance writer and copywriter for hire. He has over 10 years of experience writing health and wellness articles. He is a Google-certified digital marketer, Content Marketing Institute-certified content marketer, and SEO expert. He helps bloggers, websites, magazines, health, and B2C and B2B healthca...
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