Cancer specialist offers tips on mental wellbeing during lockdown

Alex Stephens

Alex Stephens, Macmillan clinical psychologist at Weston General Hospital. - Credit: Macmillan

A Weston psychologist who supports cancer patients has shared tips on how to boost your mood during the lockdown.

Darker nights, more restrictions and uncertainty over Christmas gatherings is taking a toll on people's emotional health and wellbeing.

Clinically vulnerable people are more at risk due to longer isolation periods, added anxiety about the consequences of catching the virus, delays to treatment and less face-to-face support from family and friends.

Macmillan psychologist Dr Alex Stephens, who is based at Weston General Hospital, said: “Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening at any time, but even more so now during a global pandemic.

"This year our patients and their families have had to cope with the extra worry of Covid-19, the isolation of shielding earlier this year and now the national lockdown.

“Whether you are living with cancer or are simply finding the lockdown particularly hard, I hope these tips and advice will help you find small ways to support your mood and psychological wellbeing.”

Alex's tips include sticking to a daily routine, planning in pleasurable activities each day and getting outside in the sunlight.

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When feeling anxious, people are encouraged to acknowledge their feelings before refocussing on their surroundings.

Alex said it is also very important to be kind to yourself and others.

She added: "Even if you are not consciously feeling worried, all of us will be operating at a higher level of ‘threat’ than we are used to.

"This will mean we will be more tired, less able to think straight, and more snappy than usual.

"Give yourself and others a break; try not to put pressure on yourself to do or be anything."

Support for patients, their families and friends during the lockdown is still available from the Macmillan Cancer Support Centre at Weston General Hospital by calling the centre team on 01934 881078, 881079 on Monday to Friday from 9am–4pm.

You can find ways to help you stay healthy, mentally and physically, and information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting cancer care, on Macmillan’s new coronavirus hub by logging on to www.macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus


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