It’s OK not to feel OK
This is an unprecedented scenario, and it is okay to feel stressed or anxious at this time. This is entirely normal, and it is highly likely that many of your colleagues, family and friends will be feeling the same way.
You can get support from the following:
National Wellbeing Hub
Scottish Government launched a National Wellbeing Hub for health and social care workers. The digital platform is to help health and social care workers look after their physical and mental health.
The National Wellbeing Hub, it has been developed with PRoMIS, a collaboration between Scotland’s two specialist psychological services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Anchor Centre service and NHS Lothian’s Rivers Centre.
The hub is the first of its kind in the UK and its content has been created by trauma and other specialists in Scotland. Its launch follows the £3.8 million extra funding announced in March to increase the capacity of NHS 24’s mental health helpline services and expand digital therapies.
Specifically tailored to support the challenges being faced by everyone in health and social care, the hub will provide advice on self-care and personal resilience to help users to recognise their own ‘warning signs’. Comprehensive information about services and resources available at national and local level within NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) and local authorities will also be available.
This Hub is part of the Scottish Government’s wider work on support mental well-being and complements the new mental health Clear Your Head campaign which launched on 21 April to provide advice and support to help people cope during COVID-19.
Dealing with Isolation and Loneliness
Social Isolation and feelings of loneliness can affect anyone, at any time. It’s important are aware of your psychological wellbeing as well as your physical health. During this pandemic many people will experience feelings of loneliness as a result of not being able to spend the time with people that you normally would.
There are some things you can do when feeling lonely that might help you connect to what matters and who matters to you:
- Think about times you have felt most connected with other people before – who was it and what was most helpful about it? How can you take action to repeat this?
- Reach out to people by phone or text message; at the start of each week consider making a list of people that you will contact. If you have access to social media, this can be a valuable additional way to keep in touch with family, friends and work colleagues.
- Find things you enjoy and try to think of ways to share these with others.
- If you know someone who is self-isolating or shielding, contact them by telephone to offer a chat and to ask if they need anything brought to them. If you know a person who lives alone and who has no access to a telephone, you might find it helpful to ask them if they have what they need, taking account of current physical distancing guidance.
- If you know someone who is caring for a vulnerable person, check in with them to see if they need any practical help, or would just like to chat.
- We all have a part to play in supporting each other. Times of crisis can be a good time to make connections to our neighbours and wider communities. Don’t be afraid to offer or ask for help if you need it.
NHS Inform have produced a ‘5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing’ resource which includes advice on staying connected.
Being resilient doesn’t mean that we’re unaffected by the adversity we encounter in life. Instead, resilience refers to the ability to recover, and this ability to "bounce back" depends on the balance between the demands that are made on us and the resources we have available at any given time.
The current pandemic is disrupting this balance as it places extra demands on us while limiting our ability to do the things that help us cope. It can be hard to bounce back when things are so out of kilter
Have a think and/or talk to someone you trust to see if there are any demands that can be reduced, either at work or at home. And what alternative or additional resources might sustain you during this difficult time?
Try to keep things in balance as best you can. Please take care of yourself and make use of the support on offer.
Stress - What is Stress?
“Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure”, NHS Choices
These pressures can come from a number of different sources including work and relationships, and pressure can turn into stress when people feel they cannot cope. People have different ways of reacting to pressure, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else. Stress can affect anyone.
How do you recognise stress?
There are many symptoms of stress, but not everyone who is feeling stressed will experience all of them.
- Feeling tense
- Feeling irritable
- Can’t be bothered
- Having no time
- No energy
- Drinking more alcohol, smoking more, using recreational drugs
- Unable to concentrate
- Lack of confidence
Dealing with Stress - Coping Strategies
Always speak to your GP if you are concerned about your health.
- Take a look at your work/life balance
- Make time to relax
- Keep physically active
- Eat well – have a healthy breakfast, eat regularly, and plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Be careful with caffeine intake particularly before bed time
- Talk to others about how you are feeling
- Help others
- Get involved and make a contribution – volunteer
- Make time to meet friends and family
- Plan fun
- Learn a new skill
- Take breaks and go for a short walk
- Ask for help
- Accept things you cannot change
Clear Your Head Scottish Government campaign highlighting practical things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing whilst continuing to stay at home to support.
Steps for Stress a Scottish Government website that provides valuable information on stress.
NHS Inform website for information on stress.
NHS GGC Guide to coping with stress.
Self care is important at this time, we should make sure that we take time for ourselves. Practicing emotional first aid will support us with this and some tips for this are below:
6 Wellbeing Tips
Click on the document section below for 6 wellbeing tips for self care.
The NHS describe mindfulness as it involving sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander. Yoga and tai-chi can also help with developing awareness of your breathing.
There is more information to support you in practising mindfulness in the documents section.
Eat Better, Feel Better
What we eat is very important as it not only affects our physical health, but what we eat may also affect the way we feel.
Improving your diet may help to:
- improve your mood
- give you more energy
- help you think more clearly.
Click here to Watch How to manage your mood with food - 8 handy tips.
During these strange times, there may be greater temptation to reach for high calorie, sugary, comfort foods.
To get some more ideas on eating well, click here to download Eat Well Guide.
Some other useful links are: