Everyone across the medical and life sciences sectors have faced many challenges during the pandemic and looking after your wellbeing and taking time to care for yourself is as critical as ever. As the restrictions gradually ease, many may experience unease and anxiety whilst returning to work and re-adapting to the “new normal”.
These resources can help support this transition, as well as offer basis for reflection on the pandemic and what positive changes we have implemented in looking after our mental wellbeing.
For more information and resources on dealing with stress and how to take a break, visit the 'Stress and overwork' page in the REFLECT section of our COVID-19 Support Space.
[Page last updated 10 June 2021]
Dr Rashidatu Kamara, specialist in infectious diseases at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, shares her thoughts on resilience during epidemics, looking after yourself and adapting to new situation. Dr Kamara was among the first responders to the 2014 Ebola epidemic.
Professor Subrata Ghosh, Professor of Translational Medicine and Director of the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Birmingham, shares his tips on developing resilience both from his own experience and also from talking with colleagues and developing leadership, mentorship and resilience courses across the UK and Canada.
Dr Neil Hill, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and former member of the British Army, shares his tips on dealing with stress:
"Hello. I'm a consultant at Charing Cross Hospital; I specialise in diabetes and general medicine and I'm going to very briefly discuss decompressing after work. I don't think this is a skill that I particularly excel at; I’m often quite stressed after I have been on-call. What has helped me in the past (and continues to) is having an opportunity to clear your thoughts, for you to let your mind free wheel and let the day’s events sort themselves out a bit. I like to exercise, but anything will do – a commute, listening to some music, a walk, an
activity that you don’t have to engage with too much.
"The military do ‘decompression’, the idea is that for people who have been on a potentially traumatic tour of duty abroad there is an enforced stop for a couple of days on the way home. It gives an opportunity for some rest and relaxation and to do some enjoyable
activities with people who have shared challenging experiences – a chance to put things in context away from the front line. In the current situation in the NHS those opportunities don’t really exist, but I strongly recommend talking to people about difficult experiences and
decisions you have encountered, colleagues, family, friends, partner – anyone will do.
"The last thing I wanted to say is that, if you're in doubt, if you are worrying about a patient, or you need someone to look-up a test result, or double check that you prescribed the right dose of something, please call and ask someone who is there to check for you. People, your
colleagues, are in hospital at all times and will happily put your mind at rest. Don't go to bed worrying.
"They’re my thoughts. Thanks for reading."
The Academy's mentoring scheme trainer Alexis Hutson has produced a resource intended to help support individuals during a challenge (be it pandemic or beyond) and reflecting on self-care.
Following our report on mental health research priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, we shared 7 top tips on how to support your mental wellbeing. Our work was driven by 24 world-leading experts in mental health science, alongside surveys of more than 3000 people.
The much-anticipated gradual easing of pandemic restrictions brings a return to usual workspaces and schedules for many. Whilst this is a welcomed change, it is not necessarily an easy one. In the summer of 2020, Dr John Tregoning has reflected on his return to the office in a Nature column.
"Building a meditation routine for a more productive, creative and happier scientific life". In this Nature article, Ana Pineda reflects on how mindfulness has helped her to juggle the demands of academic research in a foreign country alongside parenting responsibilities.
The University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians have created a free course on 'COVID-19 Critical Care: Understanding and Application' on Future Learn. By the end of the course, you'll be able to develop a range of specialised self-caring practices, including being present, self-kindness, compassionate listening, soles of the feet, walk a mile in their moccasins. Whilst the course has a specific COVID-19 focus, the lessons can be a useful supporting resource for a variety of challenges.
Project5 aim to create meaningful impact on the wellbeing of healthcare workers. They have created a 'Self-Help Resources' page, which serves as a link to self-help resources that are evidence based - with the aim to keep it light so that you can easily find what you need. The video below discusses how to decompress after a high stress healthcare shift.
The Royal Society of Medicine have created a webinar series dedicated to give healthcare workers on the frontlines, regular and easy-to-access updates from healthcare leaders on COVID-19. The episode below discusses the emotional and psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the mental health of doctors, how to build resilience, and the extraordinary response of the NHS to the crisis.
NHS Practitioner Health have a variety of wellbeing resources for healthcare workers including webinars, apps, podcasts, support services and access to therapy. They have also posted a range of videos on the topic of wellbeing and resilience:
The video below is from doctors, psychologists and researchers at the NHS Traumatic Stress Clinic in London, the UCL Institute of Mental Health and the COVID Trauma Response Working Group to colleagues in the NHS and all over the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental Health at Work provides documents, guides, tips, videos, courses, podcasts, templates and information from organisations across the UK, aimed at helping frontline health, care, emergency and key workers get to grips with workplace mental health.
The TEDxNHS videos aim to bring strength to our health and care heroes and beyond, spread joy and make you smile, and provide a moment of pause. Watch The East London NHS Foundation Trust choir, ELFTIn1Voice, with their performance of 'See Me As I Am'. The song highlights the importance of co-production and people participation in healthcare.
All Mental Health aim to increase access to mental health education. They have created a resource hub to support mental health during coronavirus, where you can choose resources that focus on:
Intensive Care Society have created a wellbeing hub to examine wellbeing from all angles - individual, team, and system. Examples include: