Looking after yourself this winter

Winter often sees an increase in a range of viruses including colds and flu alongside other respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections. Last year, rates of infection were much lower than usual - largely because of social distancing measures and travel restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

So this year, we are encouraging our members to keep well this winter and to take steps to reduce the impact of winter viruses on you. Look after your own physical and psychological health with our guidance below:

Get vaccinated
There is also still the ongoing risk of Covid-19. All these viruses are of particular concern in health care settings where they easily spread to vulnerable groups and staff. All health and social care staff and nursing staff are encouraged to have vaccinations when they are offered to protect themselves and their patients.
Flu vaccines are available - it can protect people from getting seriously ill with the flu.
COVID-19 vaccination - book or manage your appointment, and find a walk-in vaccination site.
COVID-19 booster vaccine - helps improve the protection for those who have received their two doses of the vaccine at least six months ago.

This winter, it is safe to have the flu and Covid-19 booster vaccines together (NHS, 2021). It’s important to note that many may experience anxiety about receiving vaccinations. This anxiety may be because of experiencing uncertainty, fear of side effects, needle phobia or something else. Read our advice and resources for staff experiencing needle phobia.

Look after your mental and physical health
As the weather changes, it can be challenging to maintain our activity levels. But, regular exercise can help improve mood, physical health, relieve stress and tension and boost your immune system during the winter period.

Health and wellbeing resources:
Nutrition and physical health self-help information
Mindfulness classes and videos with Peter Helmer
Understanding the importance of sleep

Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
Quitting smoking or alcohol will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. For instance, Drinkaware reported that cutting out alcohol will improve your energy levels and sleep and provide you with a clearer mind. Stopping smoking has been proven to boost your mental wellbeing.

Stefani, our Substance Misuse Practitioner held a webinar about alcohol and its effects on wellbeing. Watch below (10 minutes)

Health and wellbeing resources:
Drug, alcohol and tobacco self-help information

Keeping Well NWL provides support for anyone who is struggling with substance misuse, including alcohol and tobacco. All support is confidential and evidence-based and includes providing harm minimisation approaches, motivational interviewing, relapse prevention and health education.

Also, we support any supervisors or managers concerned about an employee that may be struggling with substance misuse, to ensure they receive the right support as soon as possible.

Contact us:
Live chat or call 0300 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Email keepingwell.nwl@nhs.net
Complete a self-referral form or request a call back.
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