The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is loneliness. A feeling that 1 in 4 of us will be affected by at some point in our lives. The pandemic certainly exacerbated loneliness due to the restriction of our interactions and the isolation periods. For healthcare workers, we have put together advice and guidance for you to manage your general well-being to deter loneliness whilst dealing with the pressures and challenges of your role.
Social interaction is often cited as one of the most important contributing factors to maintaining positive well-being. Within work, it is important to build relationships with your colleagues. For our locum pharmacists and opticians, this can often be challenging due to the nature of the role in terms of changing locations and teams. There may be stores you frequently visit so to build rapport with the team there you could try to engage with them by heading for a walk at lunchtime. If you’re on a stayaway contract in an area it could be beneficial to build connections in the local community. Typically localities have many community-led events and initiatives such as walking groups for people to get involved, get active, and get to know each other.
Daily activities have a massive impact on your overall happiness and wellbeing. Being active doesn’t have to involve the gym if that’s not something you’re interested in. But if it is, gyms offer multiple classes for members that are a great way to meet people and get your endorphins going. Getting outside for walks in the morning, at lunchtime, or after work are great for showering your head from the pressures of your role. Some ways to increase your daily step count are walking to work, getting off the bus one stop earlier, or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
During your busy shift, it can be difficult to stop and appreciate the moment when you have prescriptions to fill, patients to consult and a team to support. However, loneliness affects 1 in 4 of us making it likely a member of your team, or you, are feeling anxious in the workplace. Try to encourage a positive and healthy working environment with regular tea breaks and dedicated lunchtimes for staff to catch up and talk.
Often healthcare workers skip their dedicated breaks as their workload is extremely demanding. Recently the Royal Pharmaceutical Society shared the importance of taking rest breaks for both staff and patient safety. Some guidance is shared on this within the article available here.
We recognise that your role involves continuing professional development (CPD) as a requirement that allows you to network, build your knowledge base, and meet new people. Whilst these benefits are clear it is also advantageous to study beyond your field of expertise. This learning doesn't have to be academic it can be an interest you’ve had and wanted to explore and a fantastic way to meet wider pools of people and develop adult friendships.
In terms of CPD, we have recently launched the Locate Learning platform exclusively for Locate a Locum’s members. It allows you access to an extensive library of pharmacy learning content including over 1,000 learning modules, videos and articles.
Getting involved with community outreach programmes is beneficial for both your career, personal life, and well-being. Giving back to your community is a massively rewarding feeling and allows you to build connections with groups of people that you may not have known. As trained healthcare professionals you also have the opportunity to lend your expertise to outreach groups. For example, the Vision Care for Homeless People charity.
Get in touch
At Locate a Locum the well-being of our clients is very important. If you need support within in your role please don't hesitate to get in contact with our team at email@example.com and we will do our best to advise and guide you.