With anxieties running particularly high this week, we thought everyone could use a bit of a refresh on ways to deal with stress. Check out this article from GHC and Clinical Psychologist, Liqun HU, on signs to look out for and how you and your family can make some small changes to effectively cope.
Clinical Psychologist at Global Health Care (GHC)
Languages: English, Mandarin
Psychologist Hu received doctoral degree in clinical psychology from California School of Professional Psychology, USA and Master’s degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis on marriage, family, and child counseling, from Pepperdine University, USA. She has been working in mental health field since 1994 under different settings (e.g., hospital inpatient service and outpatient service, government-operated service, international hospital, school-based service, community-based service).
In recent weeks, a resurgence of the virus in China has put many of us on edge again. At times like this, successfully coping with the stress is crucial to individuals, families, and communities’ mental and physical health.
Coronavirus is a large-scale public health crisis. Individuals react to such a crisis in different ways. Many people might have some of the following reactions:
- Obsession (e.g., constantly think, read, and talk about the coronavirus)
- Compulsion (e.g., frequently wash hands, clean the room, check body temperature, seek physician’s consultation, etc.)
- Physical complaint (e.g., pain)
- Change in sleeping and eating pattern (too much or less)
- Substance use (e.g., alcohol, cigarettes, etc.)
- Difficulties in interaction with others (e.g., withdrawn, irritable, needy, etc.)
It is normal to have some of the above emotional and behavioral reactions when people are in the middle of crisis like coronavirus. However, if these reactions become persistent and lead to a dramatic change in mood and routine, an individuals’ mental health can be in danger.
To cope with the stress during the coronavirus crisis, individuals can make a conscious effort to do the following:
1. Create a new routine and maintain it.
2. Pay attention to your emotions and accept them; write about these emotions; share these emotions with family and friends. Limit the number of the times and duration in a day for processing these emotions (no more than three times per day, totally no more than sixty minutes per day).
3. Identify activities that help you stay calm, feel alive, and joyful (e.g., cook, read, watch movies and TV, exercise, take an on-line course, learn a new hobby, etc.)
4. Manage information overloading by limiting the number of times you read and watch the news each day (no more than three times per day, totally no more than sixty minutes per day). Try to focus on scientific, reliable news sources.
5. Identify and practice the coping skills that helped in the past.
6. Identify the resources among your family, friends, community, company/school.
7. Most importantly, try to stay connected with family and friends and help one another. If you can’t physically be with family and friends, stay connected via WeChat, email, video message or Facebook etc.
When you or someone you know becomes overly worried, anxious, fearful, obsessive and compulsive, can’t maintain routine or eat and sleep normally, it is time to seek a mental health professional’s help.
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