How to better cope with COVID-19 outbreak mentally? |Guidelines
Association for Mental Health

In order to relieve people's mental pressure, increase their psychological immunity, and boost their confidence in prevailing over the epidemic, Chinese Association for Mental Health organized experts to compile Guidelines for Psychological Self-help and Counseling for Public 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia.

Here, we will introduce you to ways of maintaining better mental health during the epidemic.

I. Correct knowledge of your mental health status

First of all, we should recognize the anxiety that comes with the outbreak of infectious diseases. Some may even suffer psychological trauma, so it is quite normal to develop a negative attitude. 

Even if you find yourself in an unusual low mood, you should neither treat it as a big danger nor develop too much psychological burden. These changes are absolutely normal. Embracing these emotions will help us live and cope better with the epidemic. 

II. Read epidemic information with a positive attitude

At this critical moment, we should gather information about the 2019-nCov through reliable sources, and filter out rumors that are intended to create panic.

We should trust the information made public by the government and have faith in its epidemic prevention and control measures. We should also carefully understand the relevant scientific reports and the efficacy of scientific research in the treatment of the disease. 

With increasing infection numbers, we should pay more attention to the epidemic prevention measures without panic. Facing the panic, we should follow careful, scientific and moderate personal protection guidelines. Good protection can bulldoze all unnecessary worries. 

III. Actively communicate with family and friends

Currently, people may feel lonely when they are "forced" to stay indoors. However, on the brighter side, we can communicate more with our family and friends via telephone and the internet. We must encourage and interact with each other to strengthen mutual mental support.

On the other hand, we can also communicate with people in similar situations, especially suspected and diagnosed patients should find new bonds with other isolated cases and build an emotional alliance to fight against the epidemic while under medical observation.

IV. Maintain a stable and healthy lifestyle

Although in a limited space, we should still take a positive view of life, and keep the original daily routine as far as possible, for example, get up, study, work, eat and rest on time. 

Leading a regular and well-controlled life is the best antidote for alleviating anxiety and panic. We should also establish good living and health habits - take a good diet, and have sufficient sleep. Do not try to ease stress through the use of tobacco and alcohol.



V. Other ways

(I) Positive association

Meditating and maintaining a positive and relaxing atmosphere is conducive to developing a peaceful mindset. This can also help in boosting the patient's immunity. 

For positive associations, we can recall the happy times of our lives, imagine the tranquil and beautiful scenery of the world, and associate these positive situations with ourselves to realize that the future is still full of hope. 

(II) Relaxation training

Relaxation is carried out in turn from the hands, upper limbs, head, lower limbs, feet to other parts and then to the whole body, enabling people to learn how to hold the feeling of relaxation.

First of all, take one or two deep breaths, hold your breath for a while, and then exhale slowly. Stretch out your forearm, clench your fists and feel the tension in your hands; then try your best to relax your hands and experience the relaxed and warm feeling. Repeat. Bend your arms, tighten the muscles of the arms, feel the tension of the muscles of the arms, and then relax thoroughly and experience the feeling after relaxation.

Next, practice how to relax your feet. Tighten your toes, hold them for a while, and relax your feet thoroughly. Repeat. Then come to your calf muscles, lift up your tiptoes and tightly press your heels downward and backward to tighten calf muscles, hold for a while, and then relax calf muscles thoroughly. Repeat. Then for your thigh muscles, tightly press your heels forward and downward to tighten thigh muscles, and then relax thoroughly after holding for a while.

Finally, relax the head muscles. Wrinkle and tighten the forehead muscles, hold for a while, about 10 seconds, and then relax thoroughly for five seconds. Close your eyes tightly for 10 seconds, then relax thoroughly for five seconds. Rapidly move your eyeballs anticlockwise, then clockwise, and finally stop and relax thoroughly for 10 seconds. Hold your teeth tightly for 10 seconds, and relax thoroughly for five seconds. Hold your tongue against your chin for 10 seconds and relax thoroughly. Press your head back firmly, hold for 10 seconds and then relax for five seconds. Tighten your chin inward with the neck, hold for 10 seconds, and then relax thoroughly. Repeat the head relaxation one more time.

(III) Vent your emotions correctly

Suppressing bad emotions will damage health, therefore, it is recommended to take correct ways to vent your emotions. 

Expression plays an important role in relieving emotions. We can keep a diary to note down recent events and our feelings. We can get psychological support through effective communication with friends and relatives. 

If the bad emotion develops severely, please seek professional help. Many formal psychological consultancy institutions have set up a hotline, through which you can get strong support in the critical period with safety, secrecy and professional guidance.  

(IV) Adjust your cognition

We may fall into a circle of stress and bad emotions because of the epidemic. For example, infinitely exaggerating the possibility of bad outcomes and underestimate what we can do and change.

At this point, we must try to ask ourselves: Are there any other outcomes? What if there are not-so-bad or better outcomes? What is the evidence of denying the bad ones if they are not 100 percent sure? What is the possibility of good ones? How would others think in this case?

This self-questioning process can make our cognition more flexible and practical.

(V) Do something meaningful and worthwhile

The most effective way of fighting against anxiety is to overcome your fears and move on to something more rewarding and meaningful. 

When we are able to help others, care for others, and contribute, we develop better self-approval and self-affirmation, which may further confer us more strength and a better sense of control over our surroundings. 

During the period of self-quarantine, we can express our love and affection to our friends in affected areas, learn something valuable, read a good book, and reject rumor mongering on social media. 

Stories in this series are contributed by the Tencent Medpedia medical team and are written and reviewed by medical experts from China's top hospitals. It is intended for informational purposes only, not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or go to the hospital.