Health and wellbeing
In times of crisis it is more important than ever to prioritise self-care and mental wellbeing. As the outbreak of COVID-19 impacts our communities, SLTs – like other healthcare workers – will be under significant pressure. The RCSLT has curated a wide range of links and resources to help support its members.
Emotional resilience helps us cope with change and manage stress. Resilience is also a quality of leadership – resilient people are better able to shape their environment and perceive change in terms of challenge rather than threat.
The resources in this section are provided for informational purposes only. No endorsement is expressed or implied, and while we make every effort to ensure our pages are up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.
Need more urgent support? These resources may help.
Building resilience and managing self-care
- Set aside time each day to do something just for you! Try something new or pick up an old hobby, practice relaxation techniques or simply just chill.
- Foster your interests and hobbies outside of study/work and find something that helps you relax, such as mindfulness, yoga, running, walking or singing.
- Consider what support you might need in the workplace. Always be honest with your employers about how you’re feeling so that they can help you appropriately.
- Remember to ask for help when you need it. No one wants you to fail; asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of self-awareness.
- Try new things and do things that take you out of your comfort zone: don’t be afraid to fail.
- Do a perspective check. Ask yourself: how will I feel about this situation in a year? Will it be water under the bridge?
- Don’t expect to know everything, especially when starting a new post. Be confident in asking for help/guidance from more experienced/senior colleagues.
- Build positive connections both in and out of work. Social media can be great in helping you to build a professional network of support.
Want more SLT self-care? Check out these top tips from our members.
- MindEd COVID-19 staff resilience hub – MindEd have selected the best advice and tips from a large panel of international experts.
- Managing your energy – A guide to managing your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual energies, from The King’s Fund.
- Conversation and action guide to support staff wellbeing and joy in work – Tool from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, with practical steps to try to enable staff to feel heard, protected, cared for, prepared and supported.
- Resilience and emotional wellbeing video playlist – The University of California San Francisco Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences has put together a collection of short videos focused on ways we can protect and enhance our own emotional wellbeing.
- Get your personalised Mind Plan from Every Mind Matters
- Wellbeing during COVID-19 – To support self-care during this period of increased stress, these courses from the BMJ provide insight and strategies to help address some of the more challenging aspects of work on the frontline.
- Self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic – British Medical Journal – During a period of increased stress and uncertainty it is more important than ever for NHS staff to look after themselves, say Michael Farquhar and Shreena Unadkat.
- Support the workers – International experts share materials to support those providing psychosocial support to frontline workers
Happiful – How to de-stress in five simple steps
Counselling Directory – Ways to manage stress
Headspace – Tools and resources to look after your mind
Mindfulness resources – Relaxation downloads from Dartmouth College
The RCSLT’s learning team met up with Ruth Williams, Clinical Directorate Lead at iCares, in Sandwell and West Birmingham, to talk about the importance of self-care and resilience; and why it’s key to consider what’s going on under the surface for others.
Empathy, self-care and resilience, with Ruth Williams, Clinical Directorate Lead
Working from home
COVID-19 has forced many SLTs to re-plan their work schedule and to work from home. Although this has many benefits, it may also present challenges when it comes to maintaining a balance between work and home life.
Finding the balance
Here are some tips to help you to find a balance when working from home:
- Structure your day as if it were any other working day, eg plan in when you will have breaks
- Take a lunch break and enjoy making up something delicious to eat
- During breaks, turn your laptop off or put it to sleep and mute your phone to minimise work distractions
- Dress for work (it will help you to get in the zone!)
- Plan an end of day activity, something which marks the end of the work day and start of the social evening, eg walk the dog, read a book, take a bath
Information for leaders and managers
Supporting colleagues when working remotely
When working remotely, there are additional things to factor in when considering how to support the wellbeing of your colleagues. This infographic (PNG) contains some key considerations that you may find useful.
In addition to this, we suggest that you:
- Adhere to any policies and procedures developed by your organisation;
- Consult any nationally available guidance and support (eg COVID-19 guidance for NHS workforce leaders)
- Work within the boundaries expected by your employer and the HCPC
- Maintain communication with your wider clinical and non-clinical colleagues on a regular basis
Supporting your team with health and wellbeing
- NHS Start Well End Well – Practical approaches for teams to support each other
- NHS #ProjectM – A range of resources for managers, including peer-to-peer support, advice on keeping your team well and self-care information
- MindEd’s staff resilience hub brings together the best advice and tips from a large panel of international experts. It also includes a section for leaders and managers.
Support for leaders
- NHS coaching and mentoring for leaders – options to help leaders overcome current blockers and reflect on decision-making in crisis
Preparing for and managing redeployment
Preparing for redeployment may feel overwhelming. For many, it may be the first time they have been in this situation and it may require quick learning of new skills and re-visiting the evidence-base should the client focus change along with the location or setting.
With redeployment specifically in mind, Dr Ellie Atkins, Chartered Clinical Psychologist (St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust) has kindly shared her mini-webinars for RCSLT members to access during this time:
Resources designed help you to manage your mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
- It’s not you, it’s COVID-19 video – If you feel like the pandemic is impacting your mental health, you’re not alone. In this video, psychotherapist Nicola Glucksmann shares some in-the-moment coping strategies.
- Psychological safety first aid training during COVID-19 – Open to all frontline and essential workers and volunteers. Explore the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do to help people to cope. The course will teach you the key principles of giving psychological first aid in emergencies. This course has been produced by Public Health England and is based on international guidance from the World Health Organisation, United Nations and partners.
- Mental health during COVID-19 – From Health Education and Improvement Wales covering physiological needs, impact on patients, resources and references.
- Coronavirus and your wellbeing – The mental health charity MIND has lots of useful advice about how to manage stress and protect your mental wellbeing.
- Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health – BBC.
- Anxiety: Every mind matters – NHS.
- Coronavirus anxiety support and resources – AnxietyUK.
- Look after your mental health during Coronavirus – Council for Intellectual Disability.
- NHS England and NHS Improvement are pleased to announce that the offer of free access to a range of mental health apps for our NHS staff has been extended until 31 March 2021. If you or one of your colleagues would like support with managing stress and anxiety, building resilience, aiding better sleep, or taking a moment to be mindful, you can visit the NHS wellbeing apps page or read more about the individual apps:
- NHS mental health helpline – NHS England have launched a helpline for NHS staff dealing with COVID-19.
- Mental Health Foundation provide several useful resources:
- University of California Department of Psychiatry – Resources to support mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Reading Well – Information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences.
- Aliss (‘A Local Information System for Scotland’) – Health and wellbeing information for people living in Scotland.
- Samaritans – Mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Calm – Free resources to support our emotional wellbeing during this time.
- Frontline 19 – Free and confidential psychological support for all people working in the NHS and frontline services in the UK.
- Climbing out – Outdoor activity programmes aimed at rebuilding confidence, self-esteem and motivation in people who have been through trauma.
- Neurosequential Network – Freely available videos related to stress, distress and trauma.
- Mental Health Foundation resources:
- British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association – Snoring and sleep apnoea journals.
- Every Mind Matters – Understanding sleep problems, tips and quiz.
- Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust – Relaxation techniques.
Resources for others
These resources may be helpful to share with service users, families and carers.
- British Psychological Society (BPS) advice for schools, parents and carers – Being out of school with no access to their usual social spaces is likely to be tough for many young people. The BPS advises schools, parents and carers on meeting children’s needs over the coming months.
- Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) – Staying well when social distancing.
- Women’s Aid Scotland – COVID-19 and what it means for women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.
- Citizens Advice Scotland – Help for domestic abuse.
- Safe Lives – Staying safe during COVID-19 – For victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
Urgent and crisis support
If you are in need of more urgent support, the following resources are available:
- Contact Samaritans online or call 116 123 – free service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – call 0800 58 58 58 or use their webchat service both are available 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year.
- Give Us A Shout frontline text service – 24/7 free confidential text service for all health and social care workers in the UK. Text FRONTLINE to 85258.
Support line for health and social care workers
NHS People have introduced a confidential staff support line, with free access from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.
- For NHS and social care workers in England:
- Call 0800 069 6222
- For health and social care workers in Wales:
- English line – 0800 484 0555
- Welsh line – 0808 164 2777