Who takes care of the nurses who take care of us?

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Who takes care of the nurses who take care of us?

May 12th, the anniversary of Florence Nightingales birth, is a day to celebrate nurses around the world. Without nurses, most health services would not exist. Nurses are taken for granted even though they save lives. They sit by the bed of those who have no family and carry out tasks the average person could not.

The International Council of Nurses chose the theme of 'A force for change: Care effective, cost effective'. In the UK, The Royal College of Nursing have chosen the theme '#WhyInurse' for Twitter. This is to show the public the reasons why they chose that path. The International Council of Nurses have released a toolkit for nurses in the industry which supports health system financing. (quality care in a cost effective manner.)

Nurses are often busy, helping to save lives or supporting those who have recently lost a loved one. It is not surprising this can have a negative impact on their mental health. Though they have years of training, it is not often that nurses can assess their own symptoms. `Especially those symptoms linked with mental health. Some symptoms of depression can be vague or similar to everyday work stresses, which makes hard to see. Depression can have devastating effects. It is all the worse when the person going through it is somebody who our lives may depend on.

Nurses can often be prone to depression, anxiety and stress due to their fast paced work, intense workloads and long shifts. According to a (2012) study, around 18% of hospital employed nurses experienced depression. This is double the rate of the general population. 'Daily Nurse' states that 'Nurses worry that even a hint of mental health troubles could impact their careers. Depression makes  health headlines, but many still feel the stigma and worry that someone will tag them as a less capable professional if they struggle with mental health issues.'

A study from 'HealthLenders' suggests that one in five nurses have depression. Other than being responsible for a number of people in general, nurses typically perform 160 tasks in one 8 hour shift, whilst having 7 or more things to remember at any given time. Nurses should be looking out for one another as they understand the pressures of the job role. They should be showing the same understanding and support they show their patients. 

NurseTogether suggests that there are three things which nurses should be looking for in their colleagues: 

  • Absenteeism. Look out for colleagues taking sick days, having constant physical illness, and complaining of inability to sleep or get out of bed.
     
  • Isolation. Look out for colleagues not being as talkative as before and not being as social as before.
     
  • Negative self-talk. Look out for colleagues losing their confidence and talking about feeling worthless.

Nurses show compassion and kindness for their patients and do the things the majority of us would not even imagine doing. However, due to this, they may often disregard their own mental wellbeing. It is up to each and every person to look out for those who look out for us.

Show your thanks this International Nurses Day!

 

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Healthcare workers - Surviving or Thriving?

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Healthcare workers - Surviving or Thriving?

‘Surviving or thriving?’ is the new angle that many will be looking at for Mental health awareness week (8th - 14th May). The focus will be on why so few are thriving with good mental health rather than on why so many suffer from poor mental health. Those who work in the public sector are more prone to workplace stress and anxiety. This is due to pressures, scarce resources, tight deadlines and huge workloads. Eighty eight percent of health care workers cannot sleep, are getting headaches, depression, and panic attacks related to work stress. It is important to decrease these numbers so they can give care to those who need it.

It seems that a lot of people, especially those in the health care industry are simply surviving with their own mental health. Thriving is about finding meaning in the things you do. It is about doing what you love with a happy, healthy mindset. Thriving starts with self-care. Too few people take part in self-care and instead they let their bad thoughts take control. Self-care includes things you can do in order to improve your mental wellbeing, from positive thinking to improving physical health.

Healthcare workers look after other people's health. This includes doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers. Healthcare workers tend to have long shifts with high amounts of pressure. Many healthcare workers feel their job is emotionally tiring. Suicide in the healthcare industry has continued to rise over the last 15 years, being almost double the national average. Over a quarter of the nurses who take care of us, our children, our siblings and our parents are going through depression and/or anxiety. This does not mean they can't to do their jobs. Yet, the quality of care will improve if the healthcare workers well-being is optimal. If you are going through any symptoms of severe stress, anxiety or depression, you should visit your GP.

Here are a few things to try to make sure you thrive:

  • Accept that some things are out of your control. Accept that blaming yourself is not going to get you anywhere. Blaming yourself for things out of your control will only cause stress. Stress can decrease quality of future work. Talk to others in your job role. Talking about problems with other team members could end with a solution. Just remember that you cannot help everybody and as long as you do your best, that is all you could have done.

  • Engage in activities which improve your wellbeing. Try to take part in activities which improve your energy levels and also your well-being. These activities can be anything from a 20 minute walk to eating well and talking to friends/family.

  • Find a balance. Jobs that deal with the public are under a lot of the pressure. It is important to have a work/life balance. Try not to bring your work home unless necessary. You need time to relax so you enter a new workday feeling well rested and relaxed. Nobody performs well under pressure. Talking about your stress is a good way of lifting some weight from your shoulders and others' support should make you feel slightly better. 

  • Keep your body healthy and your mind will follow. When you have other things on your mind, it can be easy to forget to take care of your body. You can do this with a balanced diet, plenty of water and exercise. These things can improve your physical health, which will also allow you to feel better in yourself. Even small changes such as a 20 minute walk can improve your heart health and lift your mood. Reduce your intake of things which can negatively affect your mood including nicotine, alcohol and other drugs. Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Turning off mobiles an hour before bed can also improve your sleep.

  • Think positive, practise mindfulness. Thinking positively is a great way to feel inspired to complete your tasks to the best of your ability.  Writing down 1 thing you enjoyed about the day before you go to bed will allow you to realise that not everything is bad. If you are feeling stressed at work, there are a few things you can do including deep breathing and meditation. With the wide range of apps, it is now possible to do guided exercises which allow you to remain calm and positive.

Feel Stress Free is a mobile app, created by UK leading Psychologists and Psychiatrists, to prevent and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild depression through clinically proven techniques. Thrive Therapeutic Software (creators of Feel Stress Free) are offering a free code for the month of May for all healthcare workers by using the coupon code: CALMISLAND0517

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Clubs are STILL not prioritising the mental health of their players!

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Clubs are STILL not prioritising the mental health of their players!

Aaron Lennon was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act for a stress-related illness as police were concerned for his welfare. All our thoughts are with Aaron and his family at this time. Everyone is looking forward to seeing him come back stronger than ever.

Aaron has received an overwhelming amount of support from across the entire game including his fellow professionals, as well as from fans from his current and former clubs. Andy Johnson has pledged to donate 10p to Mind Charity for every retweet he gets for his Twitter post, which currently has more than 100,000 retweets.

Whilst all the support is incredible for Aaron, it really shouldn’t get to the stage of a player being detained under the Mental Health Act for something to be done at club level. There should be more of a proactive and preventative approach rather than a reactive crisis-management approach.

Nigel Clough recently was quoted by The Telegraph in saying this, and I couldn’t agree more.’There is enough money in the game now to make sure players are looked after. It’s preventive as well, because people should be going into clubs and talking to players, managers and medical staff to ask if there are any worries. Heart-screening is brilliant, that’s a physical thing, but you want the mental side to be dealt with, too. It shouldn’t have to get to this point. It should have been identified earlier. With all the money available, it shouldn’t get to the stage where someone is detained under the Mental Health Act. That’s far too severe.’

Within clubs there needs to be mental health screening and resilience building tools available to the players when they need them. Professional football players are under an immense amount of pressure and scrutiny on a weekly basis, which will have an effect on the player's welfare. Workshops and mental health ambassadors are great for breaking the stigma of Mental Health but the athletes need a confidential portal where they can express those feelings and work on their mental fitness when they want to.

The number of footballers coming forward for support to the PFA is increasing year on year according to Michael Bennett, Head of Player Welfare. They have increased the number of counsellors in the past few years to deal with the increased amount of players using the services. It is great there are many avenues for players to go down, but this is when they are in need of help, at a potentially severe state. It needs to be earlier, we need to protect our athletes and any potential issues identified earlier.

I just hope it doesn't come to the stage where we have a fatality within football before anything is done about the mental health of the professional players in the sport. It needs to start within the academies, right through to the first team. Everyone has mental health, it’s about time that we banish the stigma and give players the tools to help them throughout their career.

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5 ways to beat work stress

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5 ways to beat work stress

It is not unusual to feel a bit of stress at work, no matter what job you do. When stress starts to interfere with productivity and your home life, you need to think about making some changes. In 2015/2016, 11.7 million workdays were lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression. Stress was also further linked with 37% of all work absences.

You can’t control everything at work, however you can take do things to make sure you are calm and alert. Too much stress can impact your concentration, productivity and wellbeing—it can be the difference between failing and succeeding at your job. In small doses, stress can allow you to stay focused, it allows you to stay present and avoid mistakes. With long working hours, tight deadlines and pressure, these safe doses of stress can soon turn into something negative.

Feeling constantly stressed or anxious during work can soon spill over into your personal life. Some warning signs to look out for which may mean you need to make some work related changes include (but are not limited to) :

  • Feeling anxious, nervous, irritated and/or depressed

  • Loss of interest in work or nice things you once enjoyed

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Trouble concentrating or completing tasks

  • Physical pain ie. headaches, muscle pains

  • Avoiding friends and family

  • Lack of sex drive

  • Substance abuse

According to the Health and Safety Executive’ the main work factors which may cause work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support. The most common occupations for work related stress includes those across the public sector, such as education, health and social care, and public service professionals. However, stress can be experienced within any job role.

If you are feeling particularly stressed, there are things you can do to ensure you remain calm and productive at work. 

Reach out for support: It is sometimes a good idea to reach out to a trusted colleague, friend or family member to talk about the stresses you may be facing. Talking about your stresses is an excellent way of lifting some weight from your shoulders and others' sympathy and support will allow you to feel somewhat better in yourself. Other workers within your company tend to be helpful as they are likely experiencing or have experienced what you are going through and can offer you advice. Loneliness can increase your vulnerability to stress and anxiety, so reach out.

Keep your body healthy and your mind will follow: When you have other things on your mind, it's easy to forget to take care of your body with a balanced diet, plenty of water and exercise. These things can improve your physical health and can therefore allow you to feel better in yourself. Even small changes such as a 20 minute walk can improve your heart health and lift your mood. Have less of the things which can negatively affect your mood including cigarettes, alcohol, fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, and fatty food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep, too much or too little can negatively impact your productivity and energy levels. Also turning off mobiles and technology an hour before bed can increase the quality of your sleep.

Prioritise and balance your workload: Create a balanced schedule of work and play. Overworking yourself will increase your chances of being stressed. Everybody needs time to relax. Leave your work at work. If it's possible, do not take home any work as this should be your time for relaxation. Ensure you are refreshed for the following working day. Create a list of all tasks you need to complete, listed in order or importance/nearest deadline. This will allow you to focus your energy on the most significant tasks. Try not to switch between numerous tasks before completing them. You will be more stressed and less productive if you give in to multitasking.

Break your bad habits: Bad habits in the workplace can include having unrealistic targets and having perfectionistic traits. Just aim to do your best rather than having goals which all but ensure you will fail. Do not try to control something which is uncontrollable. Many things are out of our control, such as what other people do or don't do. Focus on how you react to these situations rather than trying to control them. Be early. Rushing around every morning before work will mean you begin your day feeling stressed. Set your alarm earlier and be early, giving yourself time for breakfast and a small break before you begin your work.

Think positive, practise mindfulness: By focusing on the negative side of every situation, you may find your motivation and energy levels decrease. Thinking positively is a great way to feel inspired to complete your tasks to the best of your ability. Challenge your negative thoughts by rewording them into positives. Writing down 3 things you enjoyed about the day before you go to bed will allow you to realise that not everything is negative. If you are feeling particularly stressed at work, there are a few subtle exercises you can do including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation. With the wide range of apps, it is now possible to do guided exercises which allow you to remain calm and positive.

Feel Stress Free is a mobile app, created by UK leading psychologists and psychiatrists, to build resilience to and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild depression. Even a few minutes a day will allow you to remain calm and collected throughout your working day. You can download it here: www.feelstressfree.com

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