Dealing with anxiety

It's important to keep making sure that your own mental health and wellbeing are being maintained.

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Anxiety should not be ignored.  Anyone is capable of feeling overwhelmed, and we have a duty to care for ourselves as well as others. It's fine to stop for a moment and ask yourself 'Am I OK?'

Is it normal to feel anxious?

This is an unprecedented and potentially stressful situation. While we're entering a phase where all of us may have to work differently and adopt new behaviours, it's important to recognise that anxiety and worry are perfectly reasonable in abnormal situations.

This will become ‘the new normal’ for a period. What we need to do as individuals working within healthcare is recognise that pacing ourselves as much as possible will be of benefit to others and to ourselves. It is important to be patient with our colleagues and ourselves as we adapt and learn new ways of delivering care.

Top five tips to help manage anxiety

1. Manage your media exposure

Reading and watching lots of news can sometimes increase anxiety and cause confusion. Check reliable sources and keep up to date with relevant advice. Limit the amount of time spent checking social media and try to avoid replying to personal views and opinions. To get up-to-date advice, we recommend checking the gov.uk website for national updates.

2. Create your safe space

Have a safe space in your work and home environment – working from home can induce anxiety and stress as this is extremely new for most people and difficult if families are also in the same space. Create an area or room in your house that you can go to and not be disturbed. Equally, have somewhere at work that can allow you some quiet time away from the factors making you feel anxious.

3. Check in 

Remember to speak with family and friends and be open about how you feel – speaking to others will help you to control how you are feeling and allow you to share ways of coping with any anxiety. Try virtual chats as well as text and email. Face-to-face interaction virtually can be really useful to reduce anxiety rather than relying on text alone.

4. Encourage and stay positive

We are all vulnerable in a situation like this, and all staff and senior managers will feel vulnerable, too. It is important to help each other by being encouraging and reminding everyone of what a good job you are all doing. Get to know your team and people around you, and if you notice any changes in their behaviour, do a little extra for those who appear more vulnerable. 

5. Support

For people who have pre-existing mental health conditions and even those who haven't, being in a situation like this might lead them to disclose a new mental health problem that won't have been discussed at work before.  Remember to treat any disclosure with respect and understanding, as everyone will react differently. 

For further links to mental health websites and charities, please see our resources and helplines section.

Last updated: 11 May 2020

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