Not only do you have to deal with the threat of the disease during Coronavirus outbreak, but you also have to actively or passively receive a lot of negative information every day, some of which is hard to tell true or false. These information will more or less cause your anxiety and make you more worried about your health, your future, and even the whole society. Over time, this negative state can erode your reality and affect your daily work and life.
If you find yourself have trouble falling sleep or focusing attention, you should be alert to concern your mental health, since in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic, a healthy mind is as important as a strong body.
Possible Body and Mind Reactions under the Threat of COVID-19
- Cognitively: fear that you or your family & friends will be infected; Fears that the outbreak will be difficult to control; Fear of medical difficulties, shortages, etc.
- Physically: dizziness, chest tightness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, weakened physical quality, etc.
- Emotionally: irritability, loneliness, depression, panic, fear, worry, anxiety, depression, emotional fluctuations, etc.
- In behavior: frequently refresh the social media to get information related to the epidemic situation; over washing, disinfection and repeated temperature measurement; inability to concentrate; irregular schedule and lack of sleep; addicted to watching TV, playing games, etc.; lack of physical activity.
Why do we have these reactions
1. Stress Situations
In daily life, various stressors will cause non-specific reactions, including physiological and psychological reactions.
Physiological reactions include increased blood pressure, accelerated heart rate and accelerated breathing; Psychological reaction includes emotional reaction, self – defense reaction, coping reaction and so on.
That is to say, when we are aware of a major change or threat in the outside world, both our physiology and psychology activate a series of mechanisms called the stress response.
At present, the pneumonia epidemic infected by novel coronavirus is a relatively strong stressor for people who care about themselves, their family and friends, and have a strong sense of social responsibility. Therefore, it is normal to produce a certain degree of stress response.
Quarantine is not a common condition for ordinary people. But during the Coronavirus outbreak, the most effective defense is self-quarantine. In the face of sudden restrictions on personal freedom, after the initial feeling of “I can finally have a good rest”, we will face a certain degree of panic and confusion.
The joyful social activity during the holiday is canceled, and we can’t play ball games, go out and chat with our friends. For the energetic young people who attach great importance to friendship, it is easy to feel empty, depressed, lonely, even angry. This is a natural emotional response to an unusual stressor – the quarantined situation.
To correctly understand the psychological response. The first thing to recognize is that the outbreak of infectious diseases can cause us enormous stress and even psychological trauma. It is very normal to have some negative emotions, there is no need to have too much psychological burden. So don’t worry too much, accepting these emotions will help us to adjust our mentality and actively respond to the epidemic.
How to Maintain a Healthy Mindset
1. Receive information moderately
In this age of information explosion, people tend to feel more anxious and uncertain because of the information overload, and it also takes us more time to digest and distinguish the information.
To maintain a healthy mindset, you should not receive too much information, especially before going to bed. It’s important to control yourself to receive relevant information in a limited period of time, like no more than 1 hour a day.
2. Get information correctly
Also, be sure to get information about the epidemic from official sources. Do not hear through the grapevine nor over-interpret the rumors.
Get to know the facts and data about the new coronavirus pneumonia timely, and understand it correctly. Take the initiative to learn prevention and control knowledge, try to be an active information collector rather than a passive recipient.
If you don’t know how to tell if a theory is true or false, don’t hesitate to ask an authority or knowledgeable friend.
3. Get enough sleep every day
Sleep is essential for maintaining the immune system. When you rest quietly, the immune system kicks in, and the lack of sleep can lead to decreased immune function and the body’s ability to fight off viruses.
In addition to this, sleep also plays a decisive role in one’s thinking and learning ability. Sleep insufficiency impinges on concentration, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and also problem solving. So if you don’t get enough quality sleep every day, not only will your body deteriorate, but you will also be more vulnerable to negative psychological effects.
4. Do things you can control
Anxiety is an excessive fear of an uncontrollable outcome that causes the brain caught in ruminant thinking. To alleviate this, do more things you can control, such as watching movies, reading, cleaning, doing sports, etc.
Although your living space is limited, you still need to arrange some activities to gain control and pleasure in life. Besides, doing some indoor sports can also promote the secretion of dopamine, which is conducive to enhance the degree of emotional pleasure.
5. Express your emotions appropriately
Excessive suppression of bad emotions can harm health, therefore, we should vent these emotions through right way. Try keeping a diary, writing down recent events and your feelings, or expressing your emotions through other interests, like drawing, singing, dancing, etc. Of course, you can also have a good cry.
Try asking yourself: can you think of any other results? If it is a better result, how do you feel? If it’s not the worst, then what evidence can you refer? Would someone else run in to the same situation? If so, what would they think? Ask yourself these questions and try to organize your answers.
6. Communicating with others.
Although you are quarantined physically, it doesn’t mean you are truly isolated.
Communication is an effective way to express your feelings and vent negative emotions, you can’t cut it off just because you can’t meet others face to face. There are many means allowing you to keep in touch with family and friends in modern society, like phone-call, message app, video-chat, etc.
To get connected with the outer world and feel been supported, you better actively find the chance to communicate with your loved ones, especially when you find it’s already difficult to process emotions.
7. Arrange a reasonable schedule
When living in disorder, it’s easier to feel out of control, numb and even desperate. The best way to fight this feeling of emptiness is keeping a reasonable schedule and a good pace of study and life.
The epidemic may has disrupted your normal order of life, but it is also a test of your self-management ability. While taking a full rest, you should also avoid reversing the day and night, sleeping too long, being addicted to TV or the Internet, etc. In particular, you should manage the time spending on your mobile phone and keep a reasonable and orderly rhythm.
8. Learn skills and develop hobbies
The “hobby” here is an activity that is relaxing, but also requires you to think and make effort to find the enjoyment.
Take the opportunity to do something you usually want to do but don’t have time to do, such as reading, playing chess, cooking, handwork, playing musical instruments and so on. In the process of devoting yourself to these hobbies, you will feel peace and happiness deep in your hearts and have a psychological experience of concentration and selflessness, which can not only reduce the anxiety and boredom caused by the epidemic, but also improve the quality of life and enhance your communication with family members.
One day the epidemic will pass and your life will go on. It’s not worth disrupting your own rhythm just because a short experience. Life is multifaceted. Even if you’re quarantined at home, unable to work, study, and socialize as you normally would, there are plenty of interesting things to put your energy into. It’s true that you should be sensitive to the news about the epidemic, but a healthy mindset is also the cornerstone to protect yourself as well as your family and friends.
Be precautious to coronavirus and be responsible to yourself. Even in the epidemic, you deserve a wonderful life.