Building my Resilience – practical strategies
It has been a pleasure to create and run this workshop for you, and I truly hope that you find it useful. The key now is to remember to implement the ideas and actions that you have created, and remember to be kind to yourself as well as others around you.
If there are any issues that arose or questions you would like to discuss, please do contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07779 646976.
As I mentioned, sadly I don’t have a magic wand. So the next best thing is to provide you with some resources which you will find on this webpage. There is extra information on the topics we discussed and some links to other resources, and places to go for support for your own well-being both within the NHS and outside.
Remember only you can guage how well you are coping, thriving or how resilient you are feeling or how close to burning out you may be. Reaching out for help and support is a sign of strength, so do so if you need to.
Building Resilience and Avoiding Burnout
Stress is “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it,” that is, the rate at which we live at any one moment. All living beings are constantly under stress and anything, pleasant or unpleasant, that speeds up the intensity of life, causes a temporary increase in stress, the wear and tear exerted upon the body. A painful blow and a passionate kiss can be equally stressful. (Selye 1976)
Stress has become synonymous with negative events, but that wasn’t always the case…
HSE definition of stress: ‘The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work’.
There are good types of stress and a certain amount keeps us motivated and ‘on the ball’. Each of us have different levels of negative stress that we can cope with. The key is recognising where you are before you get too close to not coping.
Burnout is not a sudden one-off event, but more like a “gradual emotional depletion and a loss of motivation and commitment” (Freudenberger 1974)
Three characteristics were identified by Maslach, Jackson & Leiter (1986):
Emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and reduced accomplishment.
How to recognise whether you are coping. (see Skills for Care questionnaire)
CIPD fact sheet:
VUCA short Harvard Business Review article: https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you
Coping and Confidence
Have the confidence & courage to speak up for yourself. Ask for what you need. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish, it is self-care (remember the flying and oxygen mask analogy).
Beliefs cycle: beliefs, feelings, behaviour, results…
Watch out for the tendency to need to be the rescuer – not helpful if you take away others’ abilities to look after themselves. Support by listening, but don’t take over.
Loving Kindness Meditations:
To others: May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease
And to yourself: May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I live with ease
Shad Helmstetter’s book “What to say when you talk to yourself”, and he has a Facebook page facebook.com/drshadhelmstetter/
Kristin Neff is a researcher in self-compassion, her website is https://self-compassion.org/
And here is a link to a YouTube video of a Loving Kindness Meditation youtube.com/watch?v=tY3NnodM3Ww
Five practical ways to increase wellbeing
Here is a short explanation of the New Economic Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing:
Connect – social distancing, should really be physical distancing. We still need social contact. How are you connecting? If managing others, do more now. Informal, phone, text, Zoom/Skype/Teams, quizzes, virtual cuppas. Wobble Rooms – to download/offload/ just wobble & recover. Wellbeing Hubs.
Be Active – government advice was to exercise once a day right from the start of lockdown. Why? Because the importance of being active was recognised. Not just for physical health, but for mental well-being too. Small activities as well as longer runs/walks, games of tennis or golf, gardening.
Do whatever works for you, but don’t stay in front of the TV to relax!
Be Curious – this used to be called “take notice” but has been renamed. Curiosity encourages a state of wonder, of seeking to understand rather than of knowing. What are you curious about? Where could you ask more questions? What small things can you look at and wonder, rather than know? Flowers, sunsets & sunrises, birdsong, as well as work issues, your clinical skills and people.
Keep Learning – at the start of the lockdown, so many people were signing up to learn a new language, complete an online course, learn how to sew etc… While it is likely that working for the NHS you had enough on your plate already!
But what have you learnt? It might not have been on a formal course or workshop but we have all learnt new skills and new ways of working in the past few months. We don’t often stop and reflect on the skills we’ve learnt. Take time to acknowledge the new ways of working, the online processes, the methods of coping and many other things you will have learnt over the past few weeks and months. And post-pandemic, we will continue to learn. New skills at work, new skills outside of work new recipes to cook, new routes to work, new ways of being rather than just doing.
Give – we can give gifts to each other, and research indicates that the giver benefits from this as well as the receiver. Many have also volunteered their time in the last few months. Time is a precious resource and giving it, even in the terms of listening to a colleague, is hugely important.
Other things that are important to give is praise, feedback and thank yous. Give these to others, to recognise them, not just for what they do, but also for who they are. Saying a heartfelt thank you, with reasons, is hugely important.
A version of Kate’s Building Resilience slides
Skills for Care booklet, with coping questionnaire
Psychology Trauma’s Wellbeing Personal Action Plan
The Feelings Wheel
4-Box Action Plan
Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Body Language
Alternative Energy Exercises
I am often asked how to manage the impact of the negativity coming from others. While it is easy to say “don’t let them get to you”, it’s not as easy to do. These two short videos are of exercises are from the alternative field of Energy Medicine and may, or may not, suit you (could all just be placebo, but if it works don’t knock it…)
Prune Harris – daily energy routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN2uq78Y2bE
Prune demonstrating the “zip up” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVWCjgNDKC8
Resilience & Wellbeing
You’ll find a diagram of some areas of resilience via this link: Emotionally Resilient Living
This link will take you to Liggy Webb’s “Little Book of Resilience” in pdf form.
TED talk by Jane McGonigal – at 12min 20 secs she covers 4 key ways to build resilience
Also see the Action for Happiness website
And the New Economic Foundation’s Five Ways for Wellbeing
Other Useful Links on Wellbeing and mental Health
Mental health Apps:
NHS ‘Supporting Our people’ website: people.nhs.uk
NHS Horizons: horizonsnhs.com/caring4nhspeople
MIND – advice on taking care of your staff: mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/useful-resources
Rethink mental health charity: www.rethink.org
BMA – Counselling and peer support for doctors and medical students: bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/your-wellbeing/wellbeing-support-services/counselling-and-peer-support-for-doctors-and-medical-students
Dr Rachel Morris podcast: youtube.com/watch?v=j2LQEpJPfcM&t=1973s
Dr Rachel Morris’ wellbeing toolkit shapes-toolkit.mykajabi.com/free-team-wellbeing-toolkit
What Works Wellbeing – Burnout and Wellbeing: whatworkswellbeing.org/blog/burnout-and-wellbeing
WHO evidence for burnout: who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out
Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28977041
Supporting the Health Care Workforce During the COVID-19 Global Epidemic: jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763136
Remember… #bekind especially to yourself.