“It’s important that we take time to look after ourselves and our colleagues”

Lorna Mitchell is the Better Practice Lead at Croftlands in Bridgwater and she is a Mental Health First Aider.

I don’t think anyone quite has the words to explain what on earth is going on at the moment; one day easily blends into another and another. It’s a very confusing time for everyone, which causes additional stress and anxiety for the people we support and colleagues.

There have been some amazing things going on across our locations in Somerset and for some people this pandemic has been a positive experience that has brought teams together and given them a new perspective; making the most of a difficult time.

However, from my point of view, the pandemic has been a challenge for some people who have been tested physically and emotionally. We have experienced ups and downs, highs and lows and for some very sore ears!! There is an uncertainty about what is coming next: what kind of PPE we are going to wear and how the safety guidelines will change from week to week.

I have chatted with many colleagues that have gone above and beyond to safeguard and support the people we support, but they have neglected to take care of themselves. We have strived to be creative, spontaneous and provide meaningful support for the people we care for but at times we need to be spontaneous, kind and thoughtful to our colleagues who might be struggling to cope with the isolation, the boredom and stresses that we are all experiencing.

The little gestures of kindness to one another can often mean the world, make someone a coffee when they arrive if they look down, help them tie up their apron if they are struggling and even just asking how they are could and does make a difference to someone’s day.

Being kind to ourselves is also important, not being hard on ourselves if we are having a bad day and are tired, not beating ourselves up because we forgot to pick up bread with the shopping; a little self-gratitude and self-kindness goes a long way. We all need to do something for ourselves: exercise, baking, applying a face mask; anything to make the weight of the world seem a little lighter.

Sit back and take time to reflect on how well you are actually doing and what a difference you are making to people’s lives. You are a key worker and you are doing an amazing job!