Skip to content

There is no denying that working in home care can be a stressful and emotionally taxing role. The Covid pandemic has increased this significantly. It is entirely normal and ok, to become attached to people you support, to grow to love and care about them, to get to know their family and friends. When circumstances change, or when somebody passes away, it can be upsetting, overwhelming and impactful on your own wellbeing.

Below are some organisations, tips and resources to help you survive and thrive when things get tough, particularly when working through this pandemic.



You can contact The Dementia Advice Service at Age UK Sheffield for help about anything dementia related. If you have a question or query, please contact us via any of the above means.


Mental wellbeing

Key steps to supporting your mental health

1) Add structure to your day and try to get into the habit of a daily routine

You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. It’s also important to keep doing things you enjoy as this can give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.

2) Exercise

Take a look at our section on physical wellbeing. Your physical health has a big impact on your mental wellbeing. Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, which provide stress relief and also boost your mood.

3) Connect with people

Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Try and stay in touch with family and friends via telephone, video or social media, particularly if you are feeling anxious.

4) Try not to continuously check the news

24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If this is having an impact on you, try to limit the time you spend engaging with the media coverage of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times during the day.

5) Maintain a regular sleep pattern

Good-quality sleep can have a positive impact on how you feel both mentally and physically. Every Mind Matters gives advice on how to get a good night’s sleep.

6) Seek help if you are struggling

You can send a message with FRONTLINE to 85258 to start a conversation with Shout’s messaging support service. If you want to speak with someone directly, you can call Samaritans on 0300 131 7000 between 7am and 11pm every day.

What Can Social Care Professionals do to Support Themselves?

  • Be realistic! - Much of our thoughts are on our own personal lives and that of loved ones and we need to prioritise the basic needs of our families and vulnerable family members in particular. It is important to factor this in and consider how much emotional labour we can do outside of this, particularly if family members are unwell with COVID-19. We need to be realistic about our working practices and how these 7will need to change, particularly when working remotely all day. Talk to your manager about your own particular needs at this time.
  • Beware of the Tendency to 'Panic Work' - As many of us adjust to the crisis brought about by the pandemic, there is a risk that we might over-work or not recognise the new boundaries of our capacity, under the changing circumstances. It may be important to re-establish our own understanding of work priorities and what may have once been a priority might need to change – it will be important to review these priorities with your manager so that you can develop your confidence in decisions such as risk assessment.
  • Keeping Connected: Checking in and out - It is important when working remotely to keep connected with peers and supervisors. Consciously write an 'ally-ship strategy'. Take a moment to think about which colleagues are your consistent support network and whether you can you plan a 10 minute check in with someone and the beginning of the day, to say what you hope to achieve in terms of work and self-care and someone at the end of the day to 'sign out' with. This can help to pace yourself and keep a check on your own wellbeing and is another way for finding emotional containment in a moving emotional landscape.

  • Relationships Require Attention - the rise in worry, anxiety and stress, nationally and globally, can put strain on relationships, both personally and professionally. It is important, now more than ever, that the notion of relationship-based approaches to practice are at the fore of our thinking and that we continue to be self-aware in terms of our internal responses to our relationships with others, and are able to notice any changes in these and be willing to talk about any concerns with someone.

  • Pay Attention to Breathing Properly! - It is really important for stress management and processing the effects of anxiety on our bodies, to breathe properly. Sometimes when we are tense we forget to do this and can actually end up holding our breath whilst working under pressure. It needn't take too long to address this and you could try this quick breathing exercise 'the 10 second meditation' - sit up straight, feet on the ground, breathe in for 4 seconds (through your nose) and out for 6 seconds (through your mouth). Do this focused breathing at least every hour if you can.

  • Process Feelings – if our feelings remain unexpressed, it makes it more difficult to think clearly. Think about ways that have worked for you in the past, in expressing yourself. This might be talking to a peer or your supervisor or it might be through using creative methods such as writing a journal or painting and drawing.

  • Food Intake and Hydration – Distressing situations can negatively impact our eating habits, either through over or under eating or not eating healthy food. Maintaining a regular and healthy diet is essential for physical wellbeing and even more important at this time. It is also really important to keep hydrated as this particularly helps 8when our bodies are under stress. Try to keep a large jug or bottle of water near to you and aim to drink a glass of water every hour.

  • Pace - break tasks into small chunks and don't do anything for longer than an hour if possible. Aim to take a 5 minute pause at the end of each task - particularly if doing IT or online tasks, as this will help with concentration and productivity.

  • Managing Meetings Online – whilst there is some amazing technology helping to keep us all connected during the pandemic, it can be exhausting and throw the balance of our day (Hickman, 2020). There is a different quality to our attention when we are online. We are hyper-focused on the few available visual cues that we normally gather from a full range of available body language. It is a stimulusrich environment, where engaging with people virtually, is different from doing this in person. It is important not to add to this challenge by multi-tasking i.e. working on emails or other documents whilst concentrating on online meetings; and being disciplined in keeping meeting times down to a minimum and avoid them going on for longer than an hour without a break.

  • Compassion, Empathy and Kindness - Working under the current circumstances of COVID-19 will impact on us all in different ways and may stretch our capacity to be compassionate an empathic towards others. What will you notice about yourself when you are finding this harder to do? What do you need to do about it? Notice your own emotional state - are conversations making you feel tearful, tired, irritable? What are these feelings telling you about what you need?

  • Containment - We are all under even more emotional strain and pressure at the moment and the people who we support are likely to have and even higher need for our help, particularly for social workers to provide containment. Who is providing emotional containment for you? Who is looking after you? How might you find containment? You could consider asking for some additional reflective space in supervision.

  • Emotional Support - our work as in adult social care requires us to face issues of trauma, loss and grief on a sustained basis, often absorbing the unbearable feelings of others, such as fear, anger and emotional pain. This is compounded by the fear and uncertainty bought about by COVID-19 and therefore increases our need for emotional support, in order to process some of the direct and secondary impact of these powerful feelings. Take some time to consider how this is affecting you and what you might need and how these needs may be met through resources at work and away from work, such as supervision, coaching, counselling or activities such as sport or creative arts.

  • Your Physical Health – if you are concerned about your health, are pregnant or immunosuppressed for any reason, talk to your manager about what you need and to review your direct contact with service users

Bereavement support

During this difficult time, you may be struggling with the loss of friends, family members or colleagues. Being isolated from friends and family can make feelings of grief much more intense. Losing someone close to you, whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague, can be devastating. This loss may be especially difficult during the coronavirus pandemic because you may not have been able to spend time with your loved one due to infection risks or may have been unable to say goodbye in the way you would have wanted. Working in the social care sector, you may also grieve the loss of residents or care users, particularly those with whom you had a longstanding and meaningful relationship. This may be made more difficult if you cannot share details about work with your friends and family.

People grieve in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to react. When you’re grieving for someone, you may experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger and guilt. You may also find it difficult to concentrate or experience a lack of motivation. You may experience these emotions immediately, or they may occur at a later stage. Many people find it helpful to reach out and talk to someone about their feelings, other may wish to deal with the loss in private. There are a number of organisations available to support with bereavement:

Hospice UK

Have launched an Adult Social Care Bereavement and Trauma line. You can speak to a specialist counsellor at 0300 303 4434. They are available between 8am and 8pm to support you if you have experienced a bereavement, have witnessed traumatic deaths as part of your work or need to discuss any other anxiety or emotional issues you are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CARE Workforce app

The CARE Workforce app is an official, free app for the adult social care workforce for official communications, including guidance and support on health and wellbeing. The app can be accessed by searching ‘care workforce’ on the Apple App Store or Google Play App Store or by visiting


Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care offers telephone, email and online support for anyone who has experienced a loss.

Call: 0808 808 1677

Or email:


Dying Matters

Dying Matters is a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, aiming to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement.


The Good Grief Trust

The Good Grief Trust signposts to a choice of immediate tailored local and national support, including coronavirus bereavement advice.



Interfaith has guidance from faith communities and faith community organisations on funeral rites and practices during the coronavirus pandemic.



Mind has information on understanding grief and bereavement (including from suicide), how to manage, and where to get help.



Samaritans has a free confidential support line:

Call: 0300 131 7000 (7am to 11pm Monday to Sunday)

Or text FRONTLINE to 85258 at any time.


Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder offers online bereavement support, including an online bereavement counselling service.

Trade unions

Trade unions may offer resources to support workers in the social care sector experiencing trauma and bereavement (for example Unison). Speak to your trade union or manager for specific information.