Skip to Main Content

Manage and prevent anxiety, stress with the '5 Cs'

While we may experience stress and anxiety differently, there are proven strategies for coping with the type of stress you may be feeling. We suggest you use the Five Cs for healthy coping strategies for stress.

Stay connected

Connecting with family and friends is one of our most basic ways of coping with stress, anxiety and sadness. Current research shows that social support, like sending a card or connecting with a friend reduces the effects of stress. When you’re feeling lonely, reach outsending a text takes only a few seconds, and that moment of connection can help ease your stress.


Control what you can

Focusing on what we can control reduces anxiety because it turns our attention away from the uncertain. Examples of ways you can take control include:

  • Take care of your health. You’ll feel best when you practice self-care, eat proper meals and get regular sleep.
  • Schedule designated time for recharging activities. Eating, sleeping, exercising, working and socializing are all recharging. Prioritizing time for friends and yourself can bring you joy and reduce stress. Give yourself permission to take things off the list if your day doesn’t go as expected.
  • Do something physical or get outside. Get out at the same time each day, meet a friend for a walk, or challenge yourself with a workout.
  • Take time to do the things that bring you joy. Read a good book, try a new recipe, do some crafts, write, learn a dance or pick up an old musical instrument.

STAND Tip: Add more structure to your everyday

Stay calm

Engage in activities that make you feel calm. Stress about uncertainty affects our bodies. Calming our minds means calming our bodies and finding what feels good and relaxing. We recommend exercise, yoga, meditation and slow breathing. Many other activities can be soothing, too, like doing a jigsaw puzzle, drawing and, yes, even doing chores. Remember to build these activities into your schedule rather than waiting until you need them.

On your own: See our how-to guide to relaxation

On your own: Practice slower breathing

Cut down on the news

While it’s important that we stay informed, it’s not uncommon to binge on the news or “doomscroll,” increasing our worry without actually helping us figure out what to do.

Next time you find yourself down a news rabbit hole, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. “Do I feel better or worse?” Sometimes, we might feel better at first, but this feeling doesn’t last for very long. Most of the time, we feel worse.
  2. “Did I learn anything that I could do to change the situation?” Probably not.

STAND Tip: Create a balanced news diet

Care for others

Caring and acts of kindness help us feel better about ourselves and decrease our anxiety and sadness. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference. We can be kind to our housemates, we can reach out to a friend, coworker or neighbor who might be feeling lonely. And for those who are able, we can donate time or money to local causes. And, when we do something kind for someone, there is a ripple effect — that person is more likely to show kindness to others.

On your own: Make a list of people you might help

Downloadable resources to use on your own

Information Sheet

Strategies to Ease Anxiety & Stress

4 Steps to a Balanced News Diet

Pre-Work List

People to Help

How-To Guides

Steps for Relaxation

Practice Slower Breathing