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Helping people pace themselves and cope with exhaustion

2 min read

Health and social care staff across the country have responded to the pandemic with dedication and energy, lots of energy. Working long hours, including at home, has stretched the boundaries between our work and personal lives. Some people have been energised by the challenge of responding to the crisis; glad to be able to do something useful and proud that services were redesigned in weeks. Others felt they had no choice other than to keep working these long hours because vulnerable people depended on them, in hospitals and care settings across the country.

Everyone will need a break at some point.

Talk to staff working at home about how they will take breaks from their computers and ‘phones during the day and be explicit that you want them to do this. Help staff who are at work think about how they can get breaks during the working day. Provide cover so that people can take breaks and make sure there are appropriate facilities for them to use, including quiet areas.

Discuss how and when staff will take their annual leave and make it possible by arranging cover. Keep an eye on people who seem reluctant to stop.

Please note that if people have been working full tilt for a long period, then they may not realise how physically and emotionally exhausted they are until they stop. Prepare staff for this and remind them of the resources and support available (including on this website) if they need it.

There’s helpful information about dealing with fatigue here.

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