Helping Each Other
How can we combat fears of not coping, not being good enough or letting others down?
Here are the top tips from our international panel of experts for helping each other and team support.
Look out for each other as a team, take care of yourself
- A small word, a little help, can make a big difference
- Help people to identify supports in their teams; buddy first, then team leader, then manager. Other team members may also be particularly supportive
- Be there for your colleagues and really listen. Offer practical support or advice when it’s needed
- A caring team is a strong team. It supports its members in difficult circumstances
- Allow time for discussion
- Encourage your colleagues to eat well, have regular sleep, be active (and remember this for yourself)
- Signpost colleagues to useful resources you have found online
Ask others how they are
- Genuine interest really helps, it's real ‘social scaffolding’
- Don’t approach others as having a problem that you have to fix
Listen carefully first, speak second
- People sometimes just need to tell you their story, to be heard, to be validated
- For others - they are processing stressful experiences by speaking them out loud
One antidote to stress is kindness
- Acts of kindness ripple across teams and services
This is a long haul, not a sprint, pace yourself
- Hang in there. Do not start sprinting, it’s a marathon
- If you feel useless when you are off duty or can’t help, remember that it’s a bit like being part of a large sports-team – there are people waiting on the bench and they are just as crucial for team performance
Make daily team time to check in with each other to be proud of yourselves
- Identify the positives - those who are getting better, as well as upsetting events
- Accept the situation, remember your real skills and capabilities
- Remember you have had to make really difficult decisions. You have done what anyone else in the same situation, with the same qualification as you, might well have done
Everyone should have regular short periods of rest and recovery
- Discuss whether these periods should be spent quietly, shared with a buddy
- Look for moments every day, where you connect with someone, share something, promote peer support or enjoy something with a colleague
Have things to look forward to
- Plan things that are pleasurable, rewarding, or a distraction from the work you do
- Have a virtual ‘work night out’. Here are some ideas:
- Play a board game online against friends and colleagues
- Microsoft Teams film viewing
Look after yourself– you cannot look after others if you neglect yourself
- Make time to do something for yourself every day. This may of course be with your friends and family. You have spent so much of your day looking after other people
- Make yourself a warm drink, be together, watch some lightly entertaining tv; take some exercise if you can. Your organisation should provide you with information about how to care for yourself during this time. The NHS England People support pages offer more ideas
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. Lots of people will be feeling the same way as you
- If you are receiving care from a mental health service such as IAPT, these may be disrupted. You should seek to maintain contact, have reviews with your therapist and ensure you continue to take any prescribed medication
Some of these tips may help you outside work for family and friends as well.
Further support is available from NHS England.
This document provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this document, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read in this document or in any linked materials. If you think you may have an emergency, call an appropriate source of help and support such as your doctor or emergency services immediately.
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elfh is a Health Education England Programme in partnership with the NHS and Professional Bodies.
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