It's important to keep making sure that your own mental health and wellbeing are being maintained.
What is stress and anxiety?
Anxiety can be defined as "Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We all feel anxious at times, but anxiety may be a mental health problem if your feelings are very strong or last a long time". Stress can be defined as "The feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure". (Mentalhealth.org.uk)
Stress related to the working environment can also have a negative impact on your mental health.
Dealing with anxiety
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?
It's important to recognise that anxiety and worry are perfectly reasonable in abnormal situations.
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. Symptoms of anxiety can be both physical and mental. For more information on anxiety, visit the www.mentalhealth.org.uk website.
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.
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
As healthcare professionals we are all vulnerable 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.
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.