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Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic - strategies to support yourself and minimize anxiety

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

March 24, 2020
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Self Care » Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic – strategies to support yourself and minimize anxiety

We are going through an unprecedented experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of us, the constant updates and changes to day-to-day life can be stressful.

We experience anxiety can as a result of fear and uncertainty. With daily changes in the status of the pandemic, anxiety levels are rising.

Stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Here are some suggestions on how to best adjust to these ongoing transitions:

Know the facts. Gathering information from reputable sources, such as the CDC and the WHO, will ensure accuracy. Being confident in the information you are consuming will displace rumors that might increase anxiety. Don’t allow fear and anxiety to become pandemics too. Remember what you can control and let go of the things you cannot control.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. It can also be a mood booster.

Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

 Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

CDC “Manage Anxiety and Stress” Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Should you find that additional support is needed, feel free to contact a member of the team:

Tracy Tierney, MSW, LCSW can be reached at (703) 208-9383 or Tracy.Tierney@USOncology.com. Won Cho, BSW can be reached at (703) 208-9389 or Won.Cho@USOncology.com. Your oncologist and other team members can also refer you to our social work team.

For more information on Oncology Social Work see here