Career Seasonal

How to Survive Working in the NHS this Christmas

mental health NHS helpline

We want you to know that there is support available this festive period, and you do not have to face it alone. We have listed some valuable tips and resources to help you if you are working and struggling during the festive seasons. 

The holiday season is right around the corner, and with it comes additional stress – especially at work!

On any normal day, you are pushed to your limit and stretched thin to support the NHS and healthcare systems throughout the UK, and during the holiday season, this is going undoubtedly intensify.

Don’t Forget Your Purpose 

As the days become more stressful and your role becomes even more challenging, make sure you remember why you are there. Whether you are there to support the elderly and the young or address emergency cases, remember your intentions and what makes you proud to be a healthcare worker. This can help motivate you and uplift your spirits in those darker moments. 

Emotionally Prepare

It might sound simple in theory, but mentally preparing for the days and weeks ahead can significantly help. Whether you are working crazy hours or on Christmas Day, remember to be flexible, expect emotion, and remember that you can lean on your team members if all else fails. You are all in this together. 

Avoid Social Media

When you’re on your way to work and mentally preparing for a 13-hour shift, avoid social media at all costs. Logging onto Facebook or killing time by scrolling through Instagram is only going to put you in a bad mood. Instead, why not pop on a fantastic playlist and get into the festive spirit? You are making a difference in the world, so don’t compare yourself to others. 

Invite Your Loved Ones To Work

In many cases, hospitals allow their staff to invite guests for a short duration during the holidays – like on Christmas Day. A quick visit from your family could make all the difference, cheer you up, and help your day go a lot quicker.

Celebrate When You Can

Sometimes, we have to celebrate at unconventional hours within the day over the festive period, but that doesn’t make it any less festive. Whether you want to watch a festive flick on Netflix, bake a festive treat, or spend time with loved ones, celebrate the festive period when you can.

Make It Special For Your Patients 

If you happen to be working over the festive period, making your patients feel special is always a win – especially for pediatric nurses! You could wear a fun accessory like Antlers, put tinsel in your hair, sport an ugly jumper (if allowed), or you could even play festive music. You will put a smile on their face, which is priceless. 

Of course, please ensure your ward and your hospital allows you to do this.

Support – Mental Health NHS helpline and Charities 

We all know that the festive period can be a challenging time, and as a key worker in a demanding role, we want you to know that there is support should you need it. You are not alone.

Your GP: If you are feeling low, it is perfectly ok to speak with your GP. You do not need to be suffering from a specific mental health problem to receive support. For more information on talking to your GP, please click here.

Talking Treatments: Treatments, such as counselling, can help you explore your worries and feelings with a professional. You can overcome some of your frustrations or difficulties by speaking to a professional and shifting to a positive space.

Mental Health Helplines: Sometimes, speaking to someone can make a real difference, and there are helplines with trained professionals available. For instance, if you are searching for urgent support through the mental health NHS helpline, they will be happy to assist. Altertnivley, there are charities and organisations who won’t judge and could help you make sense of any feelings you are having. 

0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).
0800 689 5652 (open 24/7).
0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day)
The MIX – Available to those under 25 –  0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day)
Nightline – Available to Students – Nightline Website.
Switchboard – LGBTQIA+ Support – 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day)
SANEline – 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
Mental Health NHS Helpline – Urgent Support and Advice.