How to cope with COVID-19 stress and anxiety

With the constant stream of information surrounding the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it’s easy to feel stressed or anxious. But stress can weaken your immune system and make it harder for you to stay healthy. That’s why it’s so important to manage your stress and anxiety using healthy coping methods. We spoke with Diana Nichols, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at MD Anderson, about how to manage your COVID-19 anxiety and stress. Limit COVID-19 updates One of the easiest ways you can reduce stress and anxiety is to limit your exposure to things that trigger anxiety. Staying informed is important, but with so much new information coming out so rapidly on television and social media, it’s important to set boundaries for when and how much news you read about the pandemic. This can help keep feelings of anxiety at bay. “It’s important to choose your information sources carefully,” says Nichols. She recommends seeking information from trusted, reliable sources, including balanced media outlets, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health care organizations like MD Anderson. “Moderation is key,” says Nichols. She recommends checking updates two or three times a day to keep from being overwhelmed. “Check in often enough to get only the information you need to know,” she adds. Take care of your body Stress can impact many parts of our bodies, and can cause shortness of breath, sore muscles and even fatigue. To avoid these side effects, it’s important to take care of your body. Deep breathing, meditation and yoga can all help. “Taking a few minutes to go through a short meditation...