What is the Well-being Hub?
The Macmillan Emotional Health and Well-being Hub is a central place for you to find resources to help with your well-being. Find out more about how to use it.
As healthcare professionals, we understand the enormous pressures you are under as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. It is easy to be so focused on the people you support, that you forget to look after yourself. So, it’s vital to try and remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
That’s why we have created this Macmillan Professionals Well-being Hub, as a central place to be able to easily access resources to help you strengthen self-care and look after your own well-being. You can visit this hub any time you need to and bookmark the page to easily come back to it.
As we develop the hub into 2021, we will continue to add resources that we think you may find helpful. such as:
- Ted Talks
- YouTube clips
- suggested books for wider reading
- and much more.
We want to ensure that ALL healthcare professionals have access to the support they need, now and in the future.
We understand that life can be busy and you may not have the time to read everything. We have therefore compiled a list of our 10 Top Tips for looking after your emotional and physical health. We hope that you find it useful.
- Be alert for signs of stress.
The challenge is that changes often happen gradually, over time. Symptoms can include reduced concentration or the ability to complete tasks. Physical signs can include body aches, headaches, trouble sleeping or digestive problems. Mood changes might be feeling more irritable, anxious or even angry. Staying self-aware at this time, is key! Talk about how you are feeling with friends, family, peers, colleagues - whoever you feel comfortable talking with - and ask them to be honest about any changes they might notice in you.
- Understanding what causes stress is an important step in managing it.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but you can improve the way you respond to stress - even when you cannot avoid or change some of the situations that create it. Keeping an ‘anxiety diary’ may help you identify what triggers your stress. It can help you to spot patterns and identify what strategies work to help you manage stressful anxiety-provoking situations. Reflecting on this will help build your confidence.
- Another important step in self-care is to ‘acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and open up’.
This is discussed as part of the FACE COVID approach. FACE COVID forms part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
- Mindfulness practice.
This supports well-being through increasing your awareness of what you are thinking and feeling.
Taking a few moments out of your day, at work or at home, to practice mindfulness, can make a real difference to feeling calmer and more centred. Macmillan has an 4-week online course called Be Mindful based on Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, and is available free for Macmillan Professionals. There are also some popular Mindfulness apps that you might find helpful such as: Headspace, Insight Timer, Pause Mindful moments and Calm.
- The charity Mind has created a resource called Taking Care of You.
This is specifically aimed at supporting people working in demanding, high-pressure healthcare environments and offering techniques you can use before, during and after your shift. Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty is another practical guide, containing a selection of exercises that anyone can use to manage worry and maintain well-being in these uncertain times.
- Consider ways of switching off from work at the end of a shift.
Reflecting on the day and sharing with others what went well, in addition to the difficult moments, before returning home. Creating and sticking to regular daily routines at home can help you feel more in control and bring some normality and balance to your day. Make sure your routine includes time for relaxing. Finding things for which you are grateful is also know to boost well-being.
- Becoming more aware of your breathing.
By slowing down the ‘out’ breath and taking a few slow, deep breaths, it helps us to remain in the parasympathetic nervous system. This is especially important if you are feeling overwhelmed. The breathing exercises on the NHS in Mind website may be helpful. Meditation helps with relaxation and managing anxiety.
- Being physically active is a cornerstone of well-being.
The NHS website has lots of exercise advice. They also have some home workout videos, including a cardio workout, and a strengthening workout. Yoga can help with flexibility and can also be calming. The NHS website also has a 45-minute home yoga video for beginners at any fitness level.
- Understanding and recognising the impact of Vicarious Traumatisation (VT).
There is a growing awareness in the helping professions. New understanding of how Trauma effects the mind and body has highlighted how the repeated empathic connection with people who are in pain or distress, can re-create symptoms very similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the helper. You can find out more about Vicarious Traumatisation here. Macmillan is currently offering virtual facilitated workshops, run by experts on Vicarious Traumatisation. To book a place, please visit here.
- Sleeping well and eating healthily.
This may be obvious, but are essential elements of well-being and resilience. Good sleep helps with clarity of thought, overall mood and decision-making. The Sleep Charity has many excellent suggestions for improved sleep. The app Sleepio is a clinically proven online programme that can help you to sleep better. This is currently free for all NHS staff. Eating regularly and healthily helps our mood, energy levels and overall well-being. The Eatwell Guide on the NHS website has advice to help you achieve a healthy, balanced diet.