Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has developed practical tips to help NHS Wales staff build resilience, manage stress and support each other.
In collaboration with DNA Definitive, Dr Mark Stacey, Associate Dean New Initiatives at HEIW and Consultant Anaesthetist, has developed a visual toolkit called the ‘Baker’s Dozen of Mental Toughness’. The toolkit will help NHS staff to overcome the ever-increasing pressures of modern life.
Dr Stacey’s resources were originally developed to help doctors manage stress and maximise their performance. However, these useful tools can be adapted to suit all individuals to help us prioritise our own health and wellbeing, and support each other at home and in the workplace.
Some of the key themes in Dr Stacey’s toolkit centre around mindfulness, regular physical exercise, healthy sleep patterns, changing perspectives and the importance of learning new things.
While many of the techniques seem simple, Dr Stacey emphasises that you need to practise them for the skills to be effective: “First of all it’s important to recognise that these techniques are skills in themselves. Secondly, as with any skill, you have to learn and practise them in order to become good at them. Eventually, they become habit.”
Small changes to our everyday lives can have a significant impact on our happiness and productivity. For example, he added: “Smiling may sound like an easy thing to do but there is plenty of evidence that shows the importance of smiling. It’s infectious, if you smile everyone else around you will feed off of it and the mood will be lifted.”
When practised regularly, many of the techniques are preventative and by incorporating them into our daily routines we are teaching ourselves how not to become overwhelmed by stress.
As Dr Stacey explained: “It’s about recognising concerns and stress triggers and learning which tool you can use to overcome them. Some techniques will work better for you than others.
“We each have a choice about how we deal with problems. One technique that has worked for me for years is to learn to see problems as challenges, not threats.
“As humans, we used to have real threats – a lack of food and water and the threat of predators. But in the 21st century, our threats are largely manufactured. If we can change our perspective, we can see problems as challenges and find opportunities within them.”
Notes to editor:
Sitting alongside health boards and trusts, HEIW has a leading role in the education, training, development and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales. Its key functions include education and training, workforce development and modernisation, leadership development, strategic workforce planning, workforce intelligence, careers, and widening access.
Further information can be found at https://heiw.nhs.wales/