How To Manage Stress While You’re in the Hospital

Time to Read: About 3 minutes

Being in the hospital can be hard. Being away from your friends and family may make you feel lonely or scared. Here are some tips to help you manage stress while you’re in the hospital.

Stay connected to friends and family

You can call, text, or video chat with friends and family even when you cannot be with them. You may find it helpful to plan daily calls with them that you can look forward to. If you feel up to it, you can try video chatting while playing a game together.

Read How To Use Technology To Connect With Family and Friends for more information.

Try relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breaths, stretching, and meditating, can help you manage stress. Visit to listen to our Integrative Medicine Service’s free, guided meditations.

You can also find meditation, guided imagery, and other relaxing videos on the interactive TV screen in your room. Go to the “My Learning” section on the screen to search for videos.

Take a break from the news

Take breaks from watching or reading the news, including news on social media. You can watch movies and relaxation videos in the “Entertainment & Relaxation” category on the interactive TV in your room.

Do things that keep your mind busy

Activities such as reading, coloring, crossword puzzles, and word searches may help keep your mind busy. If you don’t have anything like that with you, ask a member of your care team for some.

Schedule a visit with a therapy dog

Many people find that petting and spending time with dogs helps them feel relaxed. Therapy dogs are specially trained and can visit you while you’re in the hospital.

To schedule a visit with our therapy dogs, call MSK’s Caring Canines program at 646-899-2248. Email the Volunteer Office at [email protected] or visit for more information.

Use MSK’s Integrative Medicine services

Integrative Medicine at Home program

The Integrative Medicine at Home program offers a variety of live, online group wellness and fitness classes. Our specially trained instructors teach classes every day. There is a small monthly fee to join.

Visit for information about the program and how to join.

Musicians On Call

Watch free, live concerts on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Visit for more information. Use passcode: mskcc

Resources at MSK

No matter where you are in the world, there is support available to you and your family. MSK offers resources to help you manage stress or anxiety.

Social Work

Our social workers provide emotional support and guidance to patients and their families, friends, and caregivers. Social work offers programs, including both in-person and online support groups. They can also help with practical issues such as transportation to and from medical appointments, temporary housing, and financial concerns. Social workers are available at every MSK location. To talk with a social worker, call 212-639-7020.

Visit the Virtual Programs website at for more information and to sign up for an online support group.

Counseling Center

Many people find that counseling helps them manage their emotions during cancer treatment. MSK’s counselors provide counseling for individuals, couples, families, caregivers, and groups. They can also prescribe medications to help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. For more information, call 646-888-0200.

Spiritual Care

At MSK, chaplains are available to listen, help support family members, pray, and contact nearby clergy or faith groups. They can also be a comforting companion and spiritual presence. Anyone can meet with a chaplain, no matter their formal religious affiliation. MSK also has an interfaith chapel that’s open to everyone. For more information, call 212-639-5982.

Patient and Community Education
MSK’s Patient and Community Education virtual library has written educational resources, videos, and online programs.

Virtual Programs
MSK’s Virtual Programs offer online education and support for patients and caregivers, even when you can’t be here in person. Through live, interactive sessions, you can learn about your diagnosis and what to expect during treatment. You can also learn how to prepare for the various stages of your cancer care. Sessions are confidential, free, and led by expert clinical staff. Visit for more information.

Last Updated

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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