To say it’s been a tough year for everyone would be an understatement. With coronavirus completely changing the way society functions in the UK, more people are feeling stressed than ever before. A recent study showed that those working on the frontline in healthcare are more susceptible to feelings of stress, depression and anxiety because of the added pressure of COVID-19 (Link
October was World Mental Health Day, but that doesn’t mean the focus on mental health is for one day. We wanted to pull together some general tips on relaxing during the downtime between shifts, so you can face work feeling refreshed and in a better state of mind.
This is in no way a replacement for mental health support and advice, so if you think you need to see a professional, please get in touch with your local GP who can put you through the relevant support system. There are also mental health charities across the country which can provide support. Please click the link below for the full list on the NHS website.
Mental Health Helplines / Charities
We would also like to mention Able Futures, a non-profit support service which Kare Plus has worked with throughout 2020 to bring free support and advice to our healthcare workers across the United Kingdom. Working alongside the Department of Work and Pensions, Able Futures provides free guidance and support to help you manage mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. If you would like to find out more about Able Futures, please click the link below.
Create an in/out of work routine
One of the best bits of advice you can take into any role is to visualise two versions of yourself, a work version and a home version. Healthcare can be a tough job and many nurses, HCAs and homecarers face issues and scenarios that many people would never even consider. Being able to switch off your work side will enable you to dissociate and relax once you are out of the working environment.
Creating a structured work routine will further reinforce this, as your body and mind works better to a routine. You could associate being at work with drinking your morning coffee or tea or maybe even having breakfast, whatever fits you should work perfectly fine though. It’s also important to have a wind down routine after work, so you can get out of the mentality of being at work. It could be a few minutes to sit and reflect during your journey home, or even a nice long shower afterwards. Winding down in this manner will enable you to enjoy your time off work while at home.
Find what helps you relax
Everyone relaxes in different ways, it’s what makes every one of us unique. Whether it’s watching the soaps, doing some gardening or even listening to heavy metal, doing the things we enjoy is a great way to reduce stress levels. Whatever your preferred method is, it’s likely that it will encourage the production of dopamine in the brain, which is a hormone that promotes happiness.
Now you’re probably thinking - why would I want to exercise after a long shift - and that’s a fair point, but not all exercise has to be an hour-long run or a visit to the gym. There are plenty of low-impact home workout routines that will help you keep fit without having to go to great lengths. Yoga is one of the best low impact exercises available, and it is perfect for doing at home. Not only will yoga help you relax, it will also help your body destress after spending a long shift at work.
Yoga is known to help people with high blood pressure, depression, stress and aches and pains! Whilst it certainly won’t cure any serious health issues, it can help facilitate smaller improvements to joint and muscle use. If you would like to find out more, please visit the NHS Guide to Yoga page by clicking the link below.
NHS Guide to Yoga
Socialising is difficult at the moment with current guidelines and restrictions in place, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time with friends. There are plenty of ways to talk without putting one another at risk! You could go for a social-distanced walk in the park or spend time together in a weekly group call over the internet. Socialising is a vital part of destressing as it acts as a release for any stress or problems you may have, problems that you would have internalised without spending time around friends. Socialising also increases the amount of oxytocin in the brain, a hormone which can decrease anxiety and calm your nerves.
Go for a walk
If exercise isn’t your thing, why not go for a walk? Find somewhere nice and green, take in your surroundings and process your working day or week. The physical act of walking will produce positive endorphins in your brain. You can even combine socialising and walking for an extra boost of endorphins and oxytocin, providing you the perfect opportunity to wind down from a hectic work week!
We understand that it’s been a hectic year for everyone, and the entire team at Kare Plus truly appreciates the hard work and support of key workers across the country throughout this pandemic. We hope that this list of ways to destress has helped you; if you have your own ways of destressing, then please let us know in the comments!
Additional Tools / Support
Our Frontline provides one-to-one, round-the-clock support to frontline healthcare, emergency, education and key workers. There are many resources and toolkits available, as well support by call or text. Click the link below to find out more.
CARE Workforce App
The CARE Workforce is a free app which features wellbeing resources such as Sleepio, Silvercloud and Daylight all year round. Search CARE Workforce on your app store to find out more or click the links below.
CARE Workforce on Google Play
CARE Workforce on Apple Store
Working alongside NHS England, The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to healthcare and social care workers who might need a safe space to offload. Their trained specialist advisers are only ever a call away on 116 123