Free online self care and wellbeing course

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A free, online, short course from the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is helping those on the frontline of health and social care cope with physical, mental and emotional fatigue.


Self Care and Wellbeing: A Practical Guide for Health and Social Care, is a free three-week course available on FutureLearn and on demand, meaning you can start it at your convenience and complete it at your own pace.

Although the course is mainly targeted towards those in health or social care, the content will prove valuable to anyone looking to improve their wellbeing. It is designed to be interactive, encouraging learners to explore their emotions and share their thoughts if they feel comfortable doing so.

The lessons teach simple yet essential tools that everyone can use and benefit from, including practical self care exercises such as being present, self-kindness, and the three-step breathing space. The course highlights the importance of self-compassion and mindfulness in the practice of caring human factors. You’ll also find out how to effectively manage your response to stress, at work and at home.

Rachael, a healthcare worker who completed the course soon after it launched in 2022, has seen its benefits firsthand: “The self-care course came about at a particularly challenging time,” she said.

“In the midst of the pandemic I was still working full time in the intensive care unit under difficult and stressful conditions. My mental health started on a downward spiral. I lost a parent after a long illness, while trying to support another through major cardiac surgery and a protracted recovery. I don’t remember a time where I’ve ever felt so completely overwhelmed and unsure how to help myself. I went from being a relatively calm and mindful person who’d never suffered mental health issues to a ball of anxiety who found even simple low stress dynamics an emotional minefield.

“The self care course taught me simple but effective tools to manage and even control my anxiety. They allowed me to quiet my mind at moments of high stress and use mindfulness techniques to calm my thoughts. I learned that sometimes all I needed was to take a step back and once I’d learned techniques to disconnect briefly from the stressors around me, I was able to focus much better and cope without becoming anxious.

“It’s been over a year since I completed this course. While I still suffer from anxiety, I’m infinitely better at dealing with moments of overwhelm. Simple exercises help me start my day with a positive mindset and dampen down anxieties. I’m better at recognising when things start to bubble over and know how to manage my thoughts before they become problematic.”

Professor Tonks Fawcett, Professor of Student Learning (Nurse Education) in Nursing Studies at the University, helped produce the course: “What I believe has been thrown into sharp relief from the time of Covid is the primacy of caring for carers. For me, wellbeing must always mean achieving that essence of peace of mind.”

Discover how to care for yourself so that you can better care for others. Enrol on the Self Care and Wellbeing course today on FutureLearn.