Coping & Self Care
Individuals

Coping & Self Care


Staying well

You’re busy looking after other people, how about looking after yourself? How’s your psychological first aid kit looking?

Self care is not selfish and it’s not a luxury. It’s what enables us to keep going despite the stresses of work and home life, and it’s never been more important.

In the current crisis you may need to adapt some of the things you usually do. Have a look at the ideas below.

There are lots of things you can do to maintain or boost your overall wellbeing. Because of the restrictions necessary during the pandemic, you may need to adapt what you’ve done previously or develop some totally new routines. Don’t be too daunted by this.  We know that it’s harder to try new things when we’re stressed so it might help to write things down or make a plan in advance. Have a go at some of the suggestions you’ll find here and watch out for less helpful coping strategies, like drinking more alcohol or withdrawing from others.

 

Resilience refers to your ability to navigate through and recover from stressors you are faced with on a daily basis. Whether you can bounce back depends on the stresses you face and the resources you have to help you cope. When your resilience is low, there is a higher risk of developing signs of burnout.

This film explains well how resilience works.

Our friends at the Resilience Engine have shared their resilience check in tool. Click here to see how you’re doing.

If your resilience is stretched, have a look at the suggestions on this page.

You can read more about resilience here: PRoMIS Resilience and here: Individual and team resilience.

The following link will take you to information on stress and resilience, and how to cope if you notice your resilience reducing: Stress, Coping and Resilience.

You might also want to check out the Resilience Alphabet, which is a downloadable resource to help you improve your resilience and inner strength.  It offers daily resources over a 26 day period. There’s also a Resilience Alphabet toolkit for young people aged 13-16, to help them work through and express their feelings and thoughts during this time of change. You can find this toolkit by clicking here.

 

Brains love a routine. As much as possible, stick to a balanced routine throughout the week; mixing in work, rest, exercise and fun activities. Try to stick to regular sleeping patterns and meal times where possible. Get outside for fresh air if you can, whether you have a garden, a balcony, or go for a walk and make this part of your routine. If you struggle to remember to add in self-care to your daily or weekly routine, you could set a reminder on your phone or ask someone to do it with you, for example joining an online exercise class.

Exercise is a great way to reduce or wash away some of the stress of the day. Try to exercise several times a week or daily where possible. Now is also a great time to try new things, such as online classes or exercises, for example Scottish Ballet’s Health at Hand resources. Scottish Ballet is collaborating with NHS Scotland to create and deliver a fortnightly package of movement exercises for on-duty staff within the health & social care system. Each 10-minute session is designed to address physical and mental health, and is accompanied by specially created music.

The sessions can be delivered with small groups of staff together in office or corridor spaces, following along on YouTube with a laptop screen/tablet during handover or team time.

The resources are also ideal for staff to follow on a smartphone alone at home to promote physical and mental balance.

The package of three video sessions offer exercises, tailored to warm the body at the start of a shift, create physical and mental balance during breaks, and release stress that the body contains at the end of shifts.

You can find out more here: Scottish BalletHealth at Hand: Movement and Breath Sessions for NHS and Social Care Staff.

 

 

It can be helpful to try to remember the things that you usually do to help you relax and unwind. Where possible, take the time to do them, e.g. going out for a walk, cooking, listening to music or watching an entertaining programme. You may have to adapt some of these things in the current situation and while they may not be as good as before, it will be better for you than not doing them at all.

Learning to relax your body can help reduce physical tension and make you feel less stressed. It can help you to feel calm and better able to focus on the present moment. Using relaxation techniques regularly or every once in a while can help. You might find that relaxation techniques work quickly for you, or you may have to practice them over time before they start to work.

Below are exercises for relaxing your body and for mindful breathing. Please also take a look at the resources in the ‘Is it normal?’ section for tips on for managing stress and anxiety.

Click on the links below for different relaxation exercises:

 

Here’s a great resource that you can use on your own or with your colleagues: Scottish BalletHealth at Hand: Movement and Breath Sessions for NHS and Social Care Staff.
Scottish Ballet is collaborating with NHS Scotland to create and deliver a fortnightly package of movement exercises for on-duty staff within the health & social care system. Each 10-minute session is designed to address physical and mental health, and is accompanied by specially created music.

The sessions can be delivered with small groups of staff together in office or corridor spaces, following along on YouTube with a laptop screen/tablet during handover or team time.

The resources are also ideal for staff to follow on a smartphone alone at home to promote physical and mental balance.

The package of three video sessions offer exercises, tailored to warm the body at the start of a shift, create physical and mental balance during breaks, and release stress that the body contains at the end of shifts.

 

Most of us have had nights where we can’t get a good night’s sleep, and given the current challenges it’s possible that your sleep may be affected.  When you’re worried or stressed you might struggle to get to sleep, wake up in the night or have nightmares. This is because the survival parts of your brain are more active and reluctant to switch off. This is helpful at times when you need to stay awake to keep yourself safe, but not when you’re exhausted!

Sleep can be affected by other things as well, such as caffeine, alcohol or changes in our daily routines. You might also find that you can’t stop thinking about a difficult experience you’ve had recently.  If sleep disturbances are prolonged, this can affect physical and mental wellbeing, for example it can affect concentration and make us irritable.

Where possible, try to have a bedtime routine and do things before bed that help you to feel calm and relaxed. There are lots of resources available to help you sleep better.

 

Spending time with people we like is good for our wellbeing. The pandemic has disrupted this and many of us are adapting and learning new ways of staying in touch with family and friends. Where possible, try to find time to balance home and work responsibilities with spending time with family and friends in whatever form that may be. Be mindful of not focusing all of the conversations on the current crisis, and take time to talk about and do other things too, for example playing a game or quiz.

You may also want to try making new connections by exploring opportunities to e-socialise with people who share similar interests to your own. For example, Prescribe Culture is a heritage-based initiative led by the University of Edinburgh’s Museum Service that harnesses the ability of cultural activities to boost mental wellbeing. The programme is now open to Scotland’s health and social care workforce, offering you virtual tours of local and international heritage venues and exhibitions, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Foundling Museum, the New Zealand Museum of Technology and Transport, and the National Museum of Qatar. You can sign up to the Prescribe Culture T30TV programme by emailing: PrescribeCulture@ed.ac.uk.

Whatever you do, be kind to yourself and recognise that it’s also OK to want time to yourself as well. It’s normal to want some time away from friends, family and colleagues, particularly when stress levels are running high.

Working in health and social care means that we are often caring for others, sometimes to the detriment of ourselves.  To care well for others, however, we also need to care well for ourselves.

“Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent, we cannot nurture others from a dry well”  (Jennifer Louden).

Consider for a moment how we all accept the instruction before a flight to put on our own oxygen mask, before we help someone else with theirs. Self care and self compassion are based on the same principle. One of our Occupational Therapy colleagues has put together a document to help explain this, together with some useful tips and suggestions, which you can find here.

Here are some other links you might find helpful:
Compassionate Mind Foundation.
Three Good Things.
Susan David TED Talk: The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage.

 

Do you want to be more active in caring for your health and wellbeing during Covid-19, but not sure what to focus on?

Do you want to make the most of your strengths during this time, and preserve your energy as much as possible?

Are you supporting other colleagues or team members during the Covid-19 pandemic?

If the answer to any one of these questions is “Yes” you may want to think about taking up one of the free coaching options designed specifically to support all health and social services staff in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Wellbeing Coaching

Download leaflet

Sleepio: An evidence-based sleep improvement program.

Daylight: A smart-phone based app that helps with anxiety and worry.

Silvercloud: A structured programme based on CBT that focuses on supporting your wellbeing, including managing your mental health, resilience, stress and sleep. Use code NHS2020.

Take the Lifelines Scotland Staying Well Road Trip. 

Living Life to the Full: Free online courses covering low mood, stress and resiliency.

Feeling Good: a positive mindset app to overcome stress, low mood and worry.

Jo, a GP, talks about using the Feeling Good App:

We’ve made a little collection of things to lift your spirits ……

 

Scottish Ballet and NHS Scotland have created a programme of 10-minute movement exercises especially for you:  Scottish BalletHealth at Hand: Movement and Breath Sessions for NHS and Social Care Staff.

 

Join virtual tours of local and international heritage venues and exhibitions, such as Edinburgh Castle, the New Zealand Museum of Technology and Transport, and the National Museum of Qatar. You can sign up to the programme by emailing: PrescribeCulture@ed.ac.uk.

 

Paris Opera Ballet: Dancers at home
A film from the Paris Opera Dancers.

 

Palle Alone In the World

Lovely short film about a wee boy who wakes up to find that everyone has disappeared, so he drives a tram and flies a plane.

 

Another Company Meeting

A humorous reflection on the video and conference calls many of us are part of.

 

Gary Tank Commander

A message from Gary Tank Commander.

 

Mummy pig

Home schooling can be like….

 

How to write “hello” in Mandarin

Last but not least, how to write hello in Mandarin.

 

 

Dave, Doctor.

Keeping his head above water with a decent soundtrack

Winnie, Aberlour.

Top Tips for good mental health.

Download guide

Linda, Doctor.

“I walked through a field… and sang at the top of my voice.”

Margaret, Care Assistant.

“I’m keeping up my hobbies and not constantly watching the news.”

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