Health and Wellbeing

GTC Scotland has created and curated a variety of resources and advice to support teacher and lecturer health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health and Wellbeing is a cross-cutting theme of the Professional Standards and the Professional Values.

Promoting health and wellbeing of self, colleagues and the children and young people in my care.
Social Justice – The Professional Standards 2021

Support for the education workforce during Covid-19

This resource has been developed in collaboration with key partners across the education system and has been driven by the CERG workforce support working group.

The aim is to ensure that staff across the education system feel supported, and are able to locate that support quickly and more easily.

View support for the education workforce during Covid-19.

Education Support Helpline

Anyone in education can call the free and confidential helpline run by Education Support: 08000 562561.

Webinar Recordings

The Hive of Wellbeing Resources

Claire Lavelle, Director of The Hive of Wellbeing, has presented a number of webinars for GTC Scotland around the themes of Dealing with Uncertainty, Working from Home, Dealing with the Emotional Load and Managing Transitions.

See recordings of these webinars, and supportive materials, in the sections below.

Dealing with Uncertainty

Claire and GTC Scotland’s Sharon Smith, discuss the impact of the changes on our emotional wellbeing following the closure of most schools and the opening of essential Hubs in our communities.

They look at practical strategies to focus attention on what we can control when we cannot be physically present with children and young people and their families. 

Supporting resources

Transforming the Emotional Load

In any change to our normal working circumstances, there can be an emotional load that we are left to carry and process.

So when the pandemic led to our schools closing and Hubs opening for children of key workers, we may have been left reeling emotionally from the speed and nature of the changes such as: losing our sense of purpose, our role, our connection with our pupils and families.

In this webinar, Claire discusses some of the possible impacts of carrying this “emotional load” as we progress through lockdown. 

Making the transition

Claire takes a closer look at making the transition back to our learning communities, what the new normal might look like, and how we might balance our workload and expectations.

Being a leader in a new world

Claire offers a time for reflection as she looks at how leaders can move forward post-lockdown.

Reenvisaging the new normal
Feeling the burn? Cultivating self-renewal practices during recovery
Taking stock and staying centred in uncertain times

This session provided an opportunity for educators to reflect on the impact of new restrictions on their wellbeing.

During the session, Claire offered self-coaching strategies to support educators in taking stock of where their own wellbeing needs are being met and where they might consider a more self-compassionate and resourceful approach towards themselves in more challenging areas. She also shared ideas to cultivate habits of ‘breaking the state,’ returning to and staying centred when feeling overwhelmed.

School’s Out – making the transition to rest and recovery

Claire Lavelle joined us to provide an opportunity to reflect on experiences and how to prepare for making the transition to the holidays.

Staff wellbeing – a reprising of themes

In this wellbeing webinar, Claire Lavelle will be revisiting themes from her series of webinars throughout this last year.

She will focus on coaching questions, strategies and approaches that aim to support educators’ wellbeing as they make the staged transition from lockdown to their respective schools and settings.

Impact of racial discrimination on health and wellbeing

In this webinar, Khadija Mohammed, Yasmeen Hussain, Marcia Edwards and Sharon Smith discussed racial discrimination issues, how they impact teachers’ wellbeing and learn about what we can do to combat the effects of discrimination and abuse.

Ask the health and wellbeing specialists Q&A

We were joined by Dr Emma Hepburn, Sarah Philp and Claire Lavelle for this webinar in which they discussed a range of health and wellbeing subjects including: asking for help and recognising and owning how we feel; anxiety and mindfulness techniques; difficult conversations and supporting my colleagues; inner critic and imposter syndrome; feelings of isolation and supporting teams online; working from home aches and pains; hyper vigilance and exhaustion.

Available through MyPL

Recordings and supporting materials for the following webinars are available in the resource section of MyPL, accessible by signing into MyGTCS, clicking the MyPL icon and visiting the Resources section.

Paul Mills: de-stressing stress

Paul Mills, Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist presented the De-stressing Stress series of webinars.

The aim of the series is to give you the tools to help you deal with the various anxieties of life and the knowledge to apply them.

Dr Emma Hepburn: Wellbeing at work in 2021 and beyond

Dr Emma Hepburn, @thepsychologymum, joined us for this wellbeing webinar.

She explored mental health and the impact of Covid on wellbeing, with some ideas and suggestions to help.

GTC Scotland curated resources
Hugh Smith Resources

Hugh Smith is an experienced teacher educator, author and speaker who provides mental health and wellbeing consultancy for schools, colleges and universities.

He has produced think pieces on workplace tension and partnership working and developing a wellness community of practice.

Workplace Tension and Partnership Working
Video
Transcript (DOC 18 KB)
Audio (MP3 20 MB)
Hugh considers teacher professionalism and wellbeing in the current context and provides the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of workplace tension and partnership working to build positive solutions for now and the future. 
Developing a Wellness Community of Practice
Video
Transcript (PDF 60KB)
Audio (MP3 16 MB)
Hugh explores how you and colleagues might engage with the development of a wellness community of practice. He also shares how such a community of practice might become a central activity in keeping teacher mental health and wellbeing ‘in check’.
Grief and Loss
Video
Transcript (PDF 77 KB)
Audio (MP3 36 MB)
Hugh explores how normal feelings of grief and loss, if left unchecked, can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing within the workplace and home setting.
Teacher Resilience
Video
Transcript (PDF 66 KB)
Self-evaluation
Hugh Smith explores the complex area of teacher resilience, and how this should be viewed as a natural link to professional values. 
Sarah Philp Coaching Resources

Sarah Philp has created resources and techniques for you to use to support you in reducing feelings of stress, help you sleep and soothe your soul.

ResourceDescription
RelaxationResources include: Body Scan (guided relaxation); Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep); Breathe and Keep Going (alternate nostril breathing); Guided Relaxation for Children and Young People; and three meditations (mindful breathing, loving kindness and alleviating stress).
Writing for WellbeingJournaling can be used explore tough questions, big questions or even the ‘small’ day to day stuff.
Check-In with your own wellbeingThe “Wheel of Life” coaching tool can help you consider your own wellbeing.
Let is be easySarah writes about setting yourself up for success
Time well spentSome insights and questions to think about time and how you use it.
Holding liminal spaceAre you struggling with the liminal space caused by the pandemic? Sarah’s latest blog discusses this period of fear and uncertainty and how we can harness it for our own mental wellbeing.
Serve, lead, serveThree reflective questions to ask yourself in relation to serving and leading in challenging times.
Time to thinkSarah argues that we are ‘human beings’ not ‘human doings’, and need to reclaim the time to think.
Dr Emma Hepburn Resources

Clinical psychologist Dr Emma Hepburn, the psychology mum, provided advice on how to adjust to the new normal during school holidays and advice for probationers starting out during the pandemic.

She’s also drawn a series of cartoons on self-compassion and looking after your mental health.

Cartoons

Further wellbeing resources

We have collated a range of articles, blogs, apps, websites and other resources to help you to check in with your mental health, tackle stress and relax.

GTC Scotland is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Health and wellbeing at work
ResourceDescription
8 ways to manage your team while social distancingTo help managers who are new to working from home — or even experienced managers who need additional guidance in these trying times — here are recommendations for supporting continued learning and the emotional wellbeing of your employees.
Compassionate transitions guidanceThe British Psychology Society has recently published guidance to support teachers and education staff as they return to school.
Education SupportEducation Support have produced these mental health resources for teachers, lecturers and support staff dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. These are the topics which have been highlighted as especially difficult.
Healthy Teacher ToolkitBlog promoting healthy living, healthy eating, wellbeing and less stress.
Hero ZeroThis video series is for teachers who are trying to balance their work-life balance, improve their well-being and productivity.
Improving teacher wellbeing through mindsetVlog containing teacher wellbeing tips.
Mental Health Foundation – work-life balanceManaging workload and mental health.
Mindfulness in Schools ProjectMindfulness in Schools Project is inviting the whole community to join a daily practice online. These drop-in sessions are intended to nourish, support and connect us with each other through these unprecedented times.
Parent Club: working from home tips and ideasWorking from home can be a stressful enough experience as it is, without adding in kids running around your new workspace. So, to try to help you keep up with your inbox and your kids, Parent Club has put together a few handy tips from parents who have been there before.
Prioritising self-care while working from homeTeachers adjusting to teaching from home while schools are closed may need to work out new routines to stay grounded.
TED Talks: How to get into a work from home mindsetHome is where the heart is… but how do you make room for the office? Draw expert advice from these talks to help you stay productive, achieve work-life balance and gain professional confidence as a remote employee.
Resources for dealing with stress and anxiety through mindfulness, breathing, fitness and relaxation techniques
ResourceDescription
10 stress bustersIf you’re stressed, whether by your job or something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.
Aberdeen Mindfulness CourseA free online course from University of Aberdeen, for those looking to build emotional resilience and wellbeing.
Action for HappinessAction for Happiness organise a 10 Days of Happiness program, share Action Calendars and host talks from inspiring speakers.
Breathing exercise for stressThis calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.
Breathworks course: mindful self-care for troubling timesYou’re stuck at home or some other place in isolation… maybe feeling scared, ill or a bit overwhelmed. This free self-paced course is Breathworks’ way of supporting you through this difficult time.
Clear your headIt’s ok to not feel yourself right now, and this Healthier Scotland website has some great tips to help get you through it.
Coronavirus and your mental healthThis information from MIND is to help you cope if: you’re feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus; you’re staying at home or avoiding public places as part of social distancing; you have to self-isolate.
Fitness StudioTake your pick from 24 instructor-led videos including aerobics exercise, strength and resistance, pilates and yoga.
Healthier Scotland: looking after yourselfSome tips to help you look after yourself and get through these uncertain times. With ideas about how you can keep moving, create a routine, find things you enjoy and keep connected with friends and family – finding time for any of these will help to clear your head.
Insight TimerRelaxation and meditation app including motivational talks.
Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertaintyThis free guide includes a mixture of psychoeducation about normal and excessive worry, lots of normalization, and a selection of practical exercises that you can use to manage worry and maintain wellbeing.
MentalHealth.orgComprehensive website dealing with all aspects of mental health issues and offering advice, suggestions and links to support agencies.
My Possible SelfMonitor and recognise patterns in feelings and behaviour to tackle stress and anxiety.
NHS Relaxation TechniquesA series of relaxation audio guides.
Parent Club: keeping calm with your childBeing a parent can be hard work. All kids are difficult at times, no matter how old they are. Keeping your cool can feel impossible at times. But there are things you can do to stay in control – no matter how much they’re testing your patience.
Self-help resourcesSouth Glasgow Wellbeing Services offer a variety of self-help materials.
SAMH: Coronavirus and your mental wellbeingScottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) guidance including tips for things you can do to look after your mental health.
Sleep Charity resourcesWe all need sleep to function but sleeping doesn’t come with a manual. It can be confusing finding the right information and advice about sleep that you can trust. The Sleep Charity produces a wide range of evidence-based information on all aspects of sleep from triggers to treatments.
Steps to deal with stress (PDF)This booklet contains some practical ways for you to start dealing with stress right now, and to stop it building up in future.
Talking Toolkit (PDF)Six conversation templates with accompanying resources that can be used to support wellbeing.
Tapping meditation: releasing coronavirus anxietyThe intention of this tapping meditation is to help you release that anxiety so that you can support your immune system, feel more at peace, and feel empowered to take any steps necessary to protect yourself.
Teaching Scotland magazineFind articles on relieving stress, working through anxiety and making the most of coaching sessions, in past issue of Teaching Scotland.
The Psychology Mum InstagramDr Emma Hepburn is a clinical psychologist who draws clear comics and images about psychology.
Yoga with AdrienneA library for free yoga videos.
Helplines
ResourceDescription
Breathing SpaceA confidential out-of-hour’s telephone line for people experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression: 0800 83 85 87
Education SupportAnyone in education can call the free and confidential helpline run by Education Support: 08000 562561
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage HotlineThis helpline is here to support anyone with experience of domestic abuse as well as their family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them. 0800 027 1234
The SamaritansA free 24-hour telephone helpline for anyone struggling to cope. Telephone 116 123, visit or email jo@samaritans.org
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