Stress, Coping and Resilience

For front line healthcare workers

Hazel White
Mar 18, 2020 · 3 min read

This is some visual guidance created with friends in the Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship Programme (SQS Fellowship), a quality improvement and clinical leadership course managed by NHS Education for Scotland in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and NHSScotland.

The content and advice comes from Dr Caroline Cochrane, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Head of Psychology, NHS Borders. The content been sense checked by SQS Fellows across Northern Europe.

Stress, Coping and Resilience image — figures and diagram of Covid-19 and stress effects
Stress, Coping and Resilience

Stress, Coping and Resilience

The Covid-19 healthcare crisis is stressful for healthcare workers as you are on the frontline and dealing with a complex, threatening and unpredictable situation with multiple unknowns. You have your own fears of exposure and of getting things wrong. You have your own family to care for and worry about.

Sketch of balancing practical action and managing thoughts and feelings

Problem focussed coping and emotion focussed coping.

Creating a balance between action and taking care of our thoughts and feelings is important. We are by nature problem solvers, with a bias to action: making plans, trying things out and coming up with solutions. A situation like dealing with the Covid-19 crisis is full of uncertainty, which can cause us to feel fearful, angry and helpless. Acknowledge feelings in a way that suits you, rather than bottling them — otherwise they come out in ways which may not be ideal. Be compassionate with yourself — you are doing your best in challenging circumstances. Simple breathing excercises can help — think about breathing in to calm your body and breathing out to calm your mind.

Visual with extremes of behaviours p from looking after yourself to over-indulging — care, work, activity and connections
Visual with extremes of behaviours p from looking after yourself to over-indulging — care, work, activity and connections

Find your Balance

Care: care for yourself and others. Avoid excesses of junk food and alcohol.

You are working hard — you need to decompress.

Find ways to move around, connect with nature — and rest.

Connect to your values. Get your information from sources you trust — using technology and online platforms in a postive way. It is good to disconnect from technology now and then.

Resilience — sketch of individual v relational resilience and handwritten tips
Resilience — sketch of individual v relational resilience and handwritten tips

Resilience

Resilience is the ability to withstand and rebound from adversity

We have our own individual resilience — our own inner strength to draw upon — and we can also build relational resilience — the strength we draw from those around us.

Stress and crises challenge us — but they don’t necessarily damage us.

How do we Keep on, keeping on?

Be flexible, open to change. Reorganise to fit challenges over a longer time period.

Respect individual (and your own needs). We are all different and have different boundaries — pay attention where necessary.

Keep connected — offer and accept mutual support and collaboration.

Keep in touch with your values and what is important to you.

Remember there is a whole world out there and you are part of it.

Communicate. Always.

Rest and do something completely different when you can.

Seek help if you need it.

Open Book

Ideas and reflections on service design and organisational…

Hazel White

Written by

Director, Open Change. Make Work Better

Open Book

Open Book

Ideas and reflections on service design and organisational change from the Open Change company and its associates

Hazel White

Written by

Director, Open Change. Make Work Better

Open Book

Open Book

Ideas and reflections on service design and organisational change from the Open Change company and its associates

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