Looking after yourself

End of life care is complex and challenging; it’s important that you look after yourself at all times. Peer to peer support, providing a supportive workplace, using reflective practice supervision opportunities, defusing and debriefing are all ways of dealing with these emotions.

  • know what your role is and the boundaries of this role
  • understand your coping strategies, the good and bad ones. Recognise that the good ones are the best approach
  • recognise your own signs of stress
  • ensure you have the right knowledge and skills, so you don’t feel out of depth
  • develop skills in assertiveness and managing challenging emotional situations
  • be mindful of not allowing your own beliefs and values to influence the care you deliver
  • know your support network
  • if clinical supervision is offered then accept it, otherwise see if you can find a ‘buddy’
  • talk about it.

There are places where you can go to get support if things are getting to much. Consider speaking to your manager, occupational health or spiritual care team in the first instance.

Building resilience

Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life. Resilience enables us to cope with work and personal pressures effectively without them adversely affecting our mental and physical health and wellbeing. Some people are more resilient than others and there are times when we cope better or less well than others.

How to develop resilience

The ability to cope well with pressure, trauma and uncertainty relies on developing behaviours, thoughts and actions. Anyone can learn these habits and create strategies to help increase resilience and coping mechanisms.

  • do not spend time worrying about something over which you have no control
  • try to maintain a really good work life balance
  • look after yourself physically, take enough rest and regular time with family and friends to maintain good out of work support
  • be optimistic, being a glass half empty person can wear you and colleagues down
  • develop self-confidence and make sure you give yourself credit and praise when you do something well
  • be honest with yourself and others, if things are not going well address them, allowing problems to fester makes them worse
  • do not try and solve everything alone, seek help and support from family and colleagues
  • develop outside interests so that not everything in your life revolves round one thing
  • as a team celebrate success, reflect on what is going well and learn from things that don’t go well.

There are lots of ways that people find to help them increase their resilience, some people take exercise, paint or write a journal. For others yoga, meditation or mindfulness is helpful. Others may gain strength from their religious beliefs. Find something that helps you to keep things in perspective and that give you inner strength and use it to maintain your health and wellbeing and be a resilient person.

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