The effects of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and life after cancer can lead to feelings of anxiety and isolation, especially when outside factors can cause added stress. At Cancer Services, our goal is to improve the lives of those living with cancer, and with COVID-19, we want to do even more to provide coping mechanisms as we navigate the current situation. Following are six easy ways to deal with anxiety:
Try breathing exercises
Noticing and controlling your breathing is the quickest and most effective way of calming your nervous system. By paying attention to your breathing, you can shift from a mindset of excitement to one of calm by intentionally taking deeper, longer inhales and slower extended exhales. Simply noticing when you inhale and when you exhale diverts your attention away from what is worrying you to the rhythm of your breath, which can also soothe your anxiety.
Walk with awareness
Moving helps release some of the anxious energy we hold in our bodies when we feel afraid. When wanting to reduce anxiety, it is helpful to walk while being aware of your surroundings. Stroll at a slower pace than normal and give great attention to what you encounter – what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. By doing this, your mind becomes quieter and more focused, allowing your nervous system to calm.
Connect with friends through technology
Feeling disconnected from social life can get overwhelming and may lead to feelings of isolation and depression for some. If this is the case, try to connect with your friends and loved ones through technology. Give them a call or FaceTime, talk through text or connect via social media. If you experience effects from isolation and feel overwhelmed, we are here – call us at (225) 927-2273 to talk to a team member.
Work on a new project or hobby
Engaging in any kind of hobby or project is extremely helpful in reducing anxiety during a stressful situation. Creating simple art has been shown to have a powerful effect on calming the body and focusing the mind. It can also help express feelings that are too difficult to put into words. Try activities you enjoy, such as doodling, journaling, reading, etc. The carefree act of doing such activities helps release some of the anxiety you may have.
Practice meditation or yoga
Mindfulness meditation is the very simple process of sitting still and focusing your attention on your breathing. By carefully noticing each inhale and exhale, your scattered thoughts quickly become focused on your body and your nervous system can relax. Yoga helps to ease the physical and mental discomfort that is caused by anxiety, as well as enhance your overall mood and sense of well-being.
Create a safe space
Your imagination can help relieve your anxious mind and body. In order to create a safe space, find a quiet spot and picture yourself in a special location that brings you comfort, whether imaginary or real. Notice what you hear, see and smell in this place. Allow yourself to become fully engaged in the image you’ve created in your mind and enjoy the safe, comfortable feeling it brings you. This can provide the body and mind a much-needed break.
Dealing with anxiety during stressful times is essential to the well-being of our clients. We are here for you and want to help in any way we can. For more information and tips on how to deal with anxiety during this time, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html or call us at (225) 927-2273.