Tips and information to support your wellbeing:
Coping with COVID Course
We know that responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of pressure on you all. We’re all having to work in different ways, we’re missing family and friends and we can’t do the things we normally do.
With all of that in mind it’s understandable to be stressed, anxious or worried.
To help support staff IAPT are offering you all a place on their new four-week long ‘Coping with COVID’ course. Any support provided by IAPT is completely confidential.
The course will be live streamed so you can take part from the comfort of home, and it will look at everything from the importance of a routine and managing worry, to sleep and how to calm our bodies.
If you would like to find out more about the course, or book a place visit iaptsheffield.shsc.nhs.uk or call IAPT on 0114 226 4380.
*Every Mind Matters (NHS)- guidance on mental wellbeing, wellbeing whilst staying at home. The website covers coping with anxiety, stress, sleep, low mood….
*Public Health England (PHE)
Guidance for the public on mental health and psychological wellbeing. It has links to ‘Every Mind Matters’ but has more information too. The style of the website is quite formal though.
Government Stay at home guidance – including different languages
Sheffield Flourish – local, voluntary sector organisation who link to the Sheffield Mental Health Guide online with updated resources about local support at this time.
Stress Control – via Youtube – Stress Control delivered via Youtube by Dr Jim White.
Information on COVID related anxiety and some pre-recorded webinars about: how to manage yourself, tolerating uncertainty, OCD & how to manage it, mental health & staying at home, sleeping well, dealing with panic, dealing with health anxiety.
Helpline 03444 775774 Text Service 07537416905
BBC – Some helpful tips & advice on managing your mental health
Kings College London (KCL)
Some short films with useful advice about maintaining health & wellbeing during COVID-19 pandemic
· Do I or don’t I have COVID-19: The Anxiety Trap
· Acting with Uncertainty: COVID-19 & emotions
· Health Behaviour for COVID-19: The good, the bad & the ugly
· Sitting it out: Top tips to reduce sitting at home
· Me, myself & exercise: keeping active during COVID-19
· Maximising sleep in these uncertain times
· Lonesome no more: Ways to feel connected while physically isolated
· Focusing on the horizon: Continuing management of LTCs during COVID-19
· And more films about safe drinking, coping with children at home, and managing relationships
Mental Health Foundation – How to look after your mental health during the corona virus outbreak. The site includes: tips for better mental health, look after yourself while staying at home; cooping if you already have a mental health problem, coping with loneliness, advice about housing, finance & unemployment, advice for children, older adults..& much more.
MIND – Corona virus and your wellbeing. Practical tips and advice on coping with self-isolation and managing your psychological wellbeing
Information about how to manage anxiety problems
RPsych (Royal College of Psychiatry) – COVID-19 & mental health – info on managing anxiety in adults & children
https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/about-us/responding-to-covid-19/covid-19-and-mental-health (two short films of psychiatrists talking about managing COVID-19 related anxiety in adults and children)
Rethink – online hub with lots of information, support and a helpline for adults with mental illness and their carers
Tees, Esk & Wear NHS FT Recovery college – a 10 session on line ‘Coping during the pandemic’ course free & open to any adult.
They have also produced 2 courses for young people
University College London – Coping with COVID
Some really helpful hand-outs for coping with COVID-related distress:
Managing anxiety during the Coronavirus epidemic
The worry time technique
Managing mood with activity scheduling
Setting values-based goals
Staying on top of sleep
Self-care during social distancing
Being ready for the worst days
And many more….
Wellness Society – A free workbook for coping with Coronavirus related anxiety
Doing what matters in times of stress (WHO)
Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide is a stress management guide for coping with adversity. The guide aims to equip people with practical skills to help cope with stress. A few minutes each day are enough to practice the self-help techniques. The guide can be used alone or with the accompanying audio exercises.
You might find some of the health and wellbeing apps listed below useful over the coming weeks and months:
•Sleepio – a clinically-evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep.
•SilverCloud offers online programmes to help ease levels of stress and help you maintain a healthy mind during this challenging time. Its programmes use methods including cognitive behavioural therapy and positive psychology.
•My Possible Self is a mental health apps which supports you to develop skills to manage anxiety and stress and improve your wellbeing.
•Relax your body and mind with this series of NHS audio tracks designed to help you build confidence, energy and a positive mindset.www.nhs.uk/apps-library/feeling-good-positive-mindset
•Useful resources for students – https://www.studentminds.org.uk/coronavirus.html
Tips for homeworking
We have all been asked to practice social distancing and to minimise movement wherever possible to assist with the management of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are all now working from home unless we need to be at work to do our jobs.
We understand that this can feel frustrating and that we all want to do our bit to ensure that our services continue to deliver high quality care. This guide is aims to support you personally if you are working from home and to help you to support colleagues who will be continuing to deliver their role from Trust sites.
Before you start
Set your workspace up. This could be a small desk set up in a corner of your room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table, but it should be comfortable.
Clear your work area and surface of clutter and set up your equipment to avoid physical strain – do a self-check using the guidance at NHS Live Well. If you don’t have a chair with back support, you could add a firm pillow. Avoid sitting on the sofa or the bed each day with the laptop on your lap. See our other guidance on risk assessing homeworking for more detail.
At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items. If the documents contain sensitive information, ensure they are left somewhere secure.
Keeping to a work routine
Starting each working day
Aim to wake up around the same time every day. This helps stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to concentrate throughout the day.
Keep to your established morning routine if you can – get ready, washed, and dressed as if you are going to the office. This will help you get into the mind-set that you are at work. Try and distinguish your day between work and home mode.
Have a plan
Make a conscious routine for your day, plan your work in short blocks followed by a short-break away from your screen to have a stretch or grab a snack. Make sure you take a lunch break, and try and eat your meals away from your workstation. It’s important that you work flexibly around family life, but also set boundaries around work time and non-work time.
Agree your schedule of work with your manager and ensure you are accessible at agreed points in the day.
Plan telephone meetings in and try not to run back-to-back calls. We are all going to be communicating more by phone and SKYPE. It can be exhausting.
Make sure your signature has any information about availability clearly marked. Use your calendar to show when you are out of the office and when you are available.
If you have issues with connectivity make sure colleagues know and know how to contact you.
Be realistic and patient
Set yourself some goals for what you want to achieve each day. It’s better to feel a sense of accomplishment over what you have achieved, rather than feeling disappointed you didn’t do everything. We recognise that for some it’s going to be challenging balancing home-life with working from home, focus on outputs rather than time spent working – we don’t expect you to work late into the evening just to reach your hours if you’ve achieved what you need to that day.
Remember people are not all set up with offices at home. People will be working from home with families or pets in the background. Be understanding of this and be patient!
Working remotely can be a huge challenge for communicating well. We will all need to apply a little bit of flex for miscommunication and remember that working remotely is far more challenging than being at work so be kind.
Including some movement into your work from home routine will help maintain your physical and mental health. You’ll feel more awake and alert, and your concentration and sleep will improve.
If you’re not self-isolating, do something outside if possible before you start work for the day – this can help you to feel like you have mentally ‘arrived’ at work. Getting some fresh air when you finish your working day can help you to leave your work mind-set behind and switch off.
If you’re indoors, look online for an activity that suits you, such as a home yoga video or a fitness class. There are lots of live streamed exercise classes, so you could even join a fitness community in your local area. No matter what exercise you choose, try to take regular screen breaks and stretch throughout the day.
Adapt your working style
Make sure you keep communication open with your team, as often and frequently as appropriate. Use Skype or the phone instead of emailing where you can.
Can you have short check-in and checkout calls between managers and teams?
Check out the support from IT on best use of SKYPE and make it work for you.
Virtual social sessions
If you usually schedule time in the workday for an activity or exercising with your colleagues, continue to make time for this over webcam, Face time or on the phone.
Here are some ideas that colleagues may enjoy:
•Turning your morning or afternoon coffee break into a virtual coffee break
•Sharing photo updates of your daily exercise (to motivate colleagues!)
•Daily online quiz session
•Friday night Virtual social
How to cope with children in the house
Many of us will need to balance looking after children with working from home. This is a unique challenge. Here are some ideas to help you.
Wear them out in the morning
Can you create some interruption-free work time by wearing out your kids in the morning? Try online PE lessons or your own circuit in the garden. Maybe 1000 jumps on the trampoline before 9!
Break the day into chunks
Consider creating a rota that splits the day across two parents or helpers if possible. You could have two uninterrupted blocks e.g. early start to lunch and then post-lunch to evening.
Let the children know what to expect
Plan the day so your children know what to expect. Schools will likely have provided you with a timetable. Look to turn that into a poster they can stick up. Where you can, keep play times too, morning and afternoon ideally outside.
For younger children, could they stay connected with friends by doing some artwork and sharing with classmates via parents on email or social media?
Create a ‘do not disturb’ zone
Where possible create a work area at home end ensure your children understand that it’s a do not disturb zone.
Practise family mindfulness
This may be a great opportunity for the whole family to take up mindfulness or meditation to help all remain calm.
Support for carers and the elderly
- The Silver Line – The Silver Line offers a confidential, free helpline for people aged 55 or over which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90. Silver Line offers advice, information and friendship; such as weekly friendship calls, facilitated group phone calls between people who have shared topics of interest, as well protecting and supporting older people from abuse and neglect. Website: www.thesilverline.org.uk
- Carers UK – Carers UK have published guidance for carers regarding what support is accessible to them, and the person they are caring for, during the Coronavirus outbreak. Website: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Coping with your feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include
•Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
•Children and teens
•People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
•People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include
•Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
•Changes in sleep or eating patterns
•Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
•Worsening of chronic health problems
•Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
First of all: there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel
It is normal to be feeling stressed, anxious and scared right now. We haven’t experienced anything like this before. That’s true right around the world.
One of the scariest things is uncertainty, especially as everything unfolds so fast. Human beings hate uncertainty, and want guaranteed answers. Because there aren’t any, our anxiety is likely to be high. Again, this is the most normal thing in the world right now.
Anxiety brings with it lots of different physical feelings. This can include a racing heart, chest pain, sweatiness and a shortness of breath. Again, all of these are very normal. In response to those feelings, our minds might say: “What if it’s coronavirus?” That’s normal too.
When we can’t go out and do what we usually do, that is also going to give rise to very understandable frustration, confusion and worry.
What we can all do (and what we can’t)
The most important thing is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. It’s OK not to feel OK. Our thoughts and feelings might keep changing very rapidly: that’s totally normal.
Different people will feel different things at different times, and that’s OK too. We’re not always going to be on the same page as our family and friends.
We can’t switch off, or get rid of, difficult thoughts and feelings. But we can learn ways of coping with them and responding to them. We’ve put together some ideas below, and we’ll keep updating this over the coming weeks.
It’s tempting to spend a lot of time looking online for news – especially at social media. However, this can make us feel worse. So, if you’re going online to look for updates, try to do it only once or twice a day, at specific times.
Use trusted sources which have links to the latest reliable information. The Mental Health Foundation has useful information about looking after yourself during the Coronavirus outbreak and is updated frequently.
How you can help your own mental health
The key thing is to be kind to yourself. Try to eat healthily. Take some exercise where you can. Stick to a sleep routine. Pace yourself. And, most of all, don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up if you feel you’re not coping as well as you’d like. This is new, for all of us. We’re not suddenly going to become perfect at working from home or looking after our children all day.
Be kind to others, too. Doing this makes us feel good about ourselves as well.
Take time to do the things you enjoy. Even when we can’t go out, we can watch, read, play, listen … and learn.
Stay in touch with people you like and trust if you can. When you’re physically distancing, or if you’re having to self-isolate, why not reach out by phone, message or video call?
Remember that alcohol and drugs are never good coping strategies. Even if they feel it in the short term, they very quickly cause problems to mount up.
More things that everyone can try
How we breathe always makes a big difference to how we feel. There’s a short, simple technique you can try on the NHS website. There are also some recordings of helpful exercises at the Stress Control Audio website.
Russ Harris, a leading therapist, has also a short video summing up helpful strategies to face COVID-19.
Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on staff . There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:
•Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
•Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
•Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
•Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
•Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
•Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients/Service users as you did before the outbreak.
For people who have been released from quarantine/self isolation
Being separated from others with suspected or tested positive for COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include
•Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
•Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
•Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
•Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
•Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
•Other emotional or mental health changes
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include
•Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
•Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
•Excessive worry or sadness
•Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
•Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
•Poor school performance or avoiding school
•Difficulty with attention and concentration
•Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
•Unexplained headaches or body pain
•Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
•There are many things you can do to support your child
Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
The World Health Organisation has this short guidance on helping children cope with stress.
We have a range of self help guides available which can be found here.
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak | World Health Organization. Information handout download archived copy
- Advice for Sustaining Staff Wellbeing in Critical Care During and Beyond Covid-19 | Intensive Care Society. “It is okay not to be okay”. A fantastic resource for those who will be working to support front-line healthcare staff link
- Sustaining The Well-Being Of Healthcare Personnel During Coronavirus And Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks | Center For The Study Of Traumatic Stress. Includes strategies for sustaining healthcare personnel well-being download archived copy
- Managing Healthcare Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak | National Center For PTSD. Details institutional support and self-care strategies download archived copy
- Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty | Psychology Tools. Practical help and guidance link
- FACE COVID | Russ Harris. Practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). link
Samaritans is a free, 24-hour helpline which is open 7 days a week offering support to anyone if they are feeling distressed or in despair. Contact 116 123 or visit their website here.
Support for people living with a long-term health condition
There are a number of National Organisations providing helpful advice about COVID-19 ,for people with a range of Long-Term Health Conditions. Some organizations also provide helplines, and webchat options. Most of the websites are being updated regularly.
Focusing on the horizon: Continuing management of LTCs during COVID-19 (scroll down to find video) – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/maintaining-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
British Heart Foundation
The BHF recommends that everybody closely follows the advice provided on the NHS and Government webpages, as they are updating their information daily. If those living with heart and circulatory diseases, or its risk factors, would like to speak with a cardiac nurse, they can call 0300 330 3300, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, or email email@example.com.
Whatever your concern, speak to our team of expert asthma nurses by calling our confidential Helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can also contact us via WhatsApp chat on 07378 606728.
Lung Conditions/ COPD – British Lung Foundation helpline – 03000 030 555. All calls cost no more than a local call from a landline or mobile and will be included in your call package. Available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. (Can email via the website – they aim to reply within 3 days).
(The following charities have developed this guidance:
Anthony Nolan, Bloodwise, Bowel Cancer UK, Brain Tumour Research, Brains Trust, Breast Cancer Now, Cancer 52, Cancer Research UK, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Leukaemia Care, Lymphoma Action, Macmillan Cancer Support, Myeloma UK, Ovarian Cancer Action, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Sarcoma UK and Teenage Cancer Trust.)
Kidney Care Uk helpline 9am – 5pm, Mon–Fri 01420 541424
Children and young people
Hints and tips from Liverpool CAMHS https://wakelet.com/wake/564d7bc8-4bc9-462f-a9e1-2deb03150c3f
National Autistic Society – guidance and helpline for parents’, young people and staff: https://www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/vanguard/news/2020/march/coronavirus-(covid-19)-advice.aspx
Mencap – Easy Read guide to Coronavirus: https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/Information%20about%20Coronavirus%20ER%20SS2.pdf
Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing: https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Young Minds – Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
Carers UK – Guidance for carers: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
- Amaze – information pack for parents https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/
- Public Health England have produced an easy read version of their Advice on the coronavirus for places of education. You can download it here
Supporting children and young people with worries about COVID-19 Emerging Minds (University of Reading, University of Oxford). Advice for parents, carers and people that work with children and young people download archived copy
Talking to children about illness (and COVID-19) | British Psychological Society. Much of the information that children hear about Covid-19 is intended for adults. Because children don’t understand risk in the same way that adults do many children are unsure of how worried they should be but many are very worried indeed – about themselves, their parents, grandparents, their pets, and their friends. We’ve written this short leaflet to give health professionals, educational professionals, parents and early years providers an informed understanding of children’s understanding at different developmental stages. link