What is Long Covid?

Long Covid is an informal term that is commonly used to describe signs and symptoms that continue or develop after an acute infection of Covid-19.

In the UK, it is estimated that one in five people will exhibit Covid-19 symptoms for five weeks or longer after infection with coronavirus. One in ten people will exhibit symptoms for 12 weeks or longer and may therefore experience long term effects of coronavirus (Long Covid or Post Covid Syndrome).

Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.

There are lots of symptoms you can have after a Covid-19 infection. Common Long Covid symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

Are you experiencing any of the symptoms above? Or if you are not sure about your symptoms, have a chat with one of our Keeping Well practitioners. We can also give you guidance on where to go for more help.

Our Keeping Well service is running three different groups on offer to support NHS and care staff in North West London.

Long Covid CBT Recovery Group for staff - 8 week online course

Have you had Covid-19 and are still struggling with symptoms of Long Covid, such as fatigue, breathlessness or brain fog? Join our eight week online course to speak with others and learn strategies to manage the physical and emotional impact of Long Covid.

Unfortunately, this group is currently full due to high demand. However, should you wish to express your interest if a potential group should run again in the future, you can contact us to let us know.

How to join:
To register your interest in joining, you will need to complete the online referral form. There is an option on the referral form to state that you are an NHS staff member and that you are looking for support for Long Covid.

North West London monthly peer support group for staff

This peers support group offers a safe, respectful virtual place where staff with Long Covid can connect with other staff and have an experience of belonging whilst offering and receiving support. Members of the group can use the space to share ideas, experiences and knowledge about things that have helped and sources of support. The group is facilitated by a qualified Psychologist and Occupational Therapist.

When is it?
Next dates: Monday 8 August 2022.

How to join:
To register your interest in joining, you will need to email the Keeping Well Team at keepingwell.nwl@nhs.net 


Monthly Mindfulness Group for staff with Long Covid

Experienced NHS mindfulness practitioner Peter Helmer will be facilitating a regular mindfulness group for staff affected by symptoms of Long Covid. For more information about Peter, please click here

How to join:

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 862 3350 1034

Passcode: 553340

If you would like to ask any queries, staff can email Peter directly at peter.helmer@nhs.net 

The recovery time is different for everyone. The length of your recovery is not necessarily related to the severity of your initial illness or whether you were in hospital. If new or ongoing symptoms do occur and they are causing you concern, you should always seek medical advice and support.

Breathing techniques

Physiotherapy for Breathing Pattern Disorders has produced two useful information leaflets on how to breathe through your nose and good breathing whilst recovering from Long Covid. 

Daily activities

Modify daily activities to help find the balance between rest and action and subsequently help reduce symptoms. Examples include: breaking tasks up into smaller tasks throughout the day, planning rest breaks and using specially adapted equipment. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists have tips and information which can be found here.

Heart rate monitoring

Wearing a heart rate monitor to help pace more accurately. Advice suggests using resting heart rate as a benchmark and aim to keep within 15 beats per minute of your resting heart rate.

Speak to your GP

Try and write down key points to help you explain your experience. 'Long Covid Support' provides a letter template to give to your GP to help get your symptoms across and get the help you need.

Speak to Occupational Health

Liaising with Occupational Health can help make your workplace aware of your condition and put in place any arrangements needed. You can also visit the NHS Employers website for further information.


Visit 'Your Covid Recovery' is an NHS website which provides free self-management for people recovering from Covid-19.

Guidance for employees

Below you will find guidance for workers on how to manage getting back to work after Covid-19 infection and Long Covid.


The Vocational Rehabilitation Association have developed guidance for employees affected by Long vro1_sr0sbq.pngCOVID who are planning on returning to work. 

You can read their webpage here.

The key points include:

  • Staying in touch with your workplace
  • Talk to your manager about your difficulties early, don't wait until you have recovered
  • Return to work when you can
  • Take it step-by-step when you do return
  • Plan a 'flexible' return to work if possible
  • Reach out for additional help and support
  • The guidance also includes information on your rights as an employee



Supporting Occupational Health and Wellbeing Professionals (SOM) have released a detailed return to som-return-to-work-guidepng_sx5psr.pngwork guide for employees. 

Read and download the leaflet here

In this leaflet there are key points:

  • Workers and employers working together
  • Returning to work
  • Examples of adjustments to work duties
  • How can occupational health services help you?
  • The overall employers responsibilities




Guidance for managers

Below you can find guidance on how managers can support workers to get back to work with ongoing symptoms following Covid-19 infection and Long Covid.

The Royal College of Physicians (Faculty of Occupational Medicine) have developed guidance for fompng_1ca0s0n.pngemployers and managers on facilitating return to work for employees with Long Covid. 

You can read the full document here

The document includes information on:

  • General Occupational Health principles
  • Symptoms of Long Covid
  • Practical steps for managers and employers
  • Adjustments to work



Supporting Occupational Health and Wellbeing Professionals (SOM) have released guidance for Managers on supporting employees with Long Covid.som-covid-managerspng_1l2r87l.png

Read and download the guidance leaflet here

The leaflet provides information on:

  • What is the post-COVID experience?
  • Why are managers important in supporting return to work?
  • The importance of working together to find a solution
  • Examples of job modifications

Leaflet: Post Covid-19 Recovery

Read and download this leaflet by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust which contains information on how to manage ongoing physical symptoms, and where to find support to manage feelings of anxiety, low mood, or unpleasent memories since having Covid-19.

There is also an Easy Read version and the translated versions, which are in BengaliHindiSwahili and Somali, available to download.

Leaflet: Breathing techniques

Physiotherapy for Breathing Pattern Disorders has produced two useful information leaflets on how to breathe through your nose and good breathing whilst recovering from Long Covid. 

Information on Post Covid Syndrome by NHS North West London

This webpage provides information on Post Covid Syndrome (Long Covid), including how to access local services, frequently asked questions and case studies.

RCOT: How to manage post-viral fatigue after Covid-19

This webpage by Royal College of Therapists offers practical advice for people who have recovered at home.

Looking for further Covid-19 resources? Click here for more signposting information and resources.

Talk to us at Keeping Well

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