Stress can occur from many factors, but high levels of stress can start to have physical impacts. Within the workforce, we also know that job stress can have a causal effect on physical health (Cooper et al., 1994). It can narrow your ability to think clearly, function effectively and enjoy daily life. It can also change how you feel emotionally.
Coping with stress: advice to hospital staff
Tips to cope and enhance your resilience
Here are some tips from the CDC for key workers on how to build resilience. We recognise it's been difficult to carry on as 'normal', when normal has changed.
- Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors, and employees about job stress.
- Talk openly about how the pandemic is affecting your work.
- Identify factors that cause stress and work together to identify solutions.
- Ask about how to access mental health resources in your workplace.
- Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
- Identify and accept those things which you do not have control over.
- Recognize that you are performing a crucial role in fighting this pandemic and that you are doing the best you can with the resources available.
- Increase your sense of control by keeping a consistent daily routine when possible - ideally one that is similar to your schedule before the pandemic.
- Try to get adequate sleep.
- Make time to eat healthy meals.
- Take breaks during your shift to rest, stretch, or check in with supportive colleagues, coworkers, friends and family.
- When away from work, get exercise when you can. Spend time outdoors either being physically activity or relaxing. Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting, especially since you work with people directly affected by the virus.
- If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or other drugs (including prescriptions), ask for help. See also our resources on drug, alcohol and tobacco support.
- Engage in mindfulness techniques such as breathing exercises or meditation.
- If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment and talk to your provider if you experience new or worsening symptoms.
Here are also some audio guides on Soundcloud for free, set up by NHS Scotland.
Reading Well for mental health provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.
This is led by the Reading Agency, which aims to tackle loneliness and support mental health through the power of reading. They also run campaigns with the UK government to incentivise wellbeing through reading and communicating.
We regularly discuss tips for coping with stress and burnout at our Hot Chocolate Hour – find the dates of upcoming sessions.
Updated on 21/04/2022