Take time to self-care

I cannot think of a more challenging time than we have faced over the last 18 months.

However, seeing how compassionate and committed Team BTH continues to be in spite of this terrible virus and day-to-day pressures is simply awe-inspiring. The lengths that our colleagues have gone to in order to put patients first and serve the community is the NHS at its finest.

It is vitally important though that everyone demonstrates self-compassion too in these ongoing uncertain and incredibly difficult times. Putting our own oxygen mask on first is key to helping others in difficult times.

It is well documented that health care workers are not very good at acts of self-care and demonstrating help seeking behaviours in times of distress. Which is fascinating given the lengths I know colleagues go to when caring for our patients and the advice they would give about self care!

Whilst I know our colleagues are all heroes for how they have tackled the relentless pandemic, heroic leadership in the long term leads to burn out and ill health. So it is vitally important we each role model compassionate leadership.

Compassionate leaders take a genuine interest in their colleagues, value diversity, take time to listen and be with their team. Compassionate leaders also respond empathetically and are prepared to do something to alleviate distress.

I ask each of our colleagues as compassionate leaders to ask themselves – “Am I ok?” If the answer is “no” – what would you say to a friend in these circumstances?

No doubt you would encourage them to take good care of themselves and take time for the things that bring them rest, recovery and joy. Please also ask how your colleagues are managing and ask again if you’re worried they aren’t sharing the full picture.

Asking again, with interest, can help someone to open up and explore what they’re feeling.

There are times when our wellbeing is so challenged that self-care is not enough. If you are finding things difficult- talk to someone you trust in your workplace about the impact of your work. Please do not suffer in silence.

Take care

Lee Barnes
Associate Director, Staff Wellbeing and Engagement

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