Cancer and COVID-19: Tips to Help YOU Cope

2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least! It has been downright stressful for everyone in some way! Let's be honest, most of us did NOT predict there would be a global pandemic in 2020 that would linger for an unknown amount of time.

On top of all that is going on in the world right now, some of you may be fighting the toughest battle of your lives: CANCER. Coping with a cancer diagnosis is tough enough on it's own without adding in the stress of COVID-19 and societal stressors occurring in our country right now. Both cancer and COVID-19 are trauma producing events and can require a period of grief in order to cope.

According to Webster's Online Dictionary, trauma is defined as:

a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time. medical : a serious injury to a person's body.

Trauma causes a person to grieve.

Below is a depiction of Kubler Ross's 5 Stages of Grief:

We typically think of stages as occurring in sequence, but these can occur simultaneously or someone can identify with one of these more than another.

In the midst of the social distancing, with respect to chemotherapy and/or COVID-19, mental health concerns are at an all time high. According to Mental Health America, anxiety and depression numbers are on the rise due to COVID-19. Depression and a diagnosis of breast cancer, often go hand in hand as well. In a recent study, 69.4% of breast cancer study participants had serious levels of depression.

Knowing this, we all have to ban together to find ways to cope with the trauma we are experiencing.

Coping Tips:

According to Karen Whitehead Counseling, LLC, our usual ways of coping prior to a cancer diagnosis and COVID-19 may not look the same, but we can modify them so they can still give us a similar sense of satisfaction and fulfillment as they did prior to the pandemic and cancer.

  • Physical: exercise classes, yoga, stretching

  • Emotional: Identifying and expressing emotions

  • Social: Connecting with individuals

  • Spiritual: Feeding soul, journaling, meditation

  • Professional: set clear boundaries with work and free time

Physical Coping, Cancer and COVID-19

Since Be Strong Therapy's aim is to improve quality of life through physical wellness, we want to provide practical ways you can physically cope throughout your cancer journey and COVID-19.

Mental and physical health often go hand in hand. Physical activity has been shown to improve mood, confidence and enhance overall general health.