It’s ok to focus on Your wellbeing

GP and RCGP vice chair Prof Mike Holmes, emphasises to healthcare colleagues the importance of looking after their own wellbeing, as they continuing to care for others.

“As a GP, I’m seeing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from many perspectives – as a doctor and also as a husband, son and father.

In General Practice we’re being challenged – managing a different workload, in a different way; using technology more than ever, to connect with and treat our patients; proactively contacting our vulnerable patients.

As a healthcare team, we are worried about patients with non-COVID illnesses, those with Long Term Conditions and those who may be affected psychologically

Alongside these pressures, there are many other concerns which our fantastic frontline healthcare workers are all experiencing at home, in some shape or form.

I see the stress colleagues are under and want to encourage them to think about themselves and how they manage this stress. The Royal College of General Practitioners, NHS England, the Royal College of Nursing and many others have made resources available to help us think about all aspects of our lifestyle.

So, what is the message about coping with stress? – we need to recognise it, acknowledge it and talk about it. A mechanism to talk about it has been launched by NHS England – #Lookingafteryoutoo – for everyone working in Primary Care and it has been widely welcomed.

From a wider perspective, dealing with lockdown and whatever comes next is a real challenge. We must be proactive with our diet and sleep pattern, whilst avoiding harmful choices such as too much alcohol. We also know social contact is important, even through a screen.

Exercise can really help too – however you can do it. Of course, it means different things to different people. Allowing yourself to rest and embracing the opportunity to slow down can also be a positive.

One patient told me that she’d noticed her average resting heart rate had reduced by 10 beats per minute in recent weeks – just from exercising and sleeping better.

Without doubt, health and care workers are all concerned for other people, but my message is it is ok to focus on ourselves and the potential positives of lockdown too. By doing that, I’m confidenrt we can get through this, whatever comes next.”


Professor Mike Holmes

GP, Haxby Group York/Hull

Vice Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners

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