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Winter wellbeing

Look after yourself this winter

With COVID-19 circulating alongside the usual winter viruses, protecting yourself and your patients is vitally important

Winter often sees an increase in a range of viruses including colds and flu alongside other respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections such as, noroviruses.

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.

You and your patients may be more susceptible to these viruses since social distancing and restrictions were in place because of reduced exposure. 

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 and your patients. 

Look after your own physical and psychological health with our resources below.


Look after your mental and physical health

Make sure you eat well, stay hydrated and keep active. For example, take time to get outside into fresh air when you can. A brisk ten-minute walk every day can help you build stamina, support mental health and make your heart healthier.

Take time to look after your mental wellbeing - take time to rest when you can. Sleep also plays a critical role in your wellbeing.

Winter vaccinations 

The influenza virus is highly infectious and can cause a range of symptoms which are often mild but can be very serious and life threatening. 

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 should have vaccinations when they are offered to protect themselves and their patients. 

The RCN has advice and resources for nursing staff delivering large-scale and seasonal vaccinations.

Covid-19 vaccination: advice and resources

Winter infections

Stay at home if you have symptoms of respiratory infection. Likewise, diarrhea and vomiting infections such as norovirus also circulate widely during winter. Minimise contact with others if you are unwell. 

Make sure to always wash your hands thoroughly or use alcohol gel after using public transport.

While social distancing and use of face coverings are no longer mandated, it’s still recommended for people to wear face coverings and socially distance wherever possible.

Seek support

If working conditions are impacting your health and wellbeing, speak to your local RCN Health and Safety Rep or visit our Healthy Workplace page.

Page last updated - 22/04/2022