Welcome to the British Society for Immunology's wellbeing page. This resource has been developed in order to help support you during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. It is more important than ever before to look after your wellbeing and mental health and the resources and links below should help you do this. You will find a variety of topics from how to effectively work from home to coping strategies as the world moves out of lockdown. The page is designed for any laboratory-based scientists who are now working from home or redeployed elsewhere, with a particular emphasis on early career researchers (ECRs).
Please spread the word about this resource to your friends and colleagues and any suggestions for additions to the page are more than welcome. You can contact our Education & Careers Officer, Eolan Healy or tag us @britsocimm.
BSI Career Development Webinar: Your wellbeing during the COVID-19 period
The session took place on Tuesday 2 June 2020 and was presented by Executive Coach, Alexis Hutson. A recording is available for BSI members to watch here. To access it, please log in to the members' area of the website first.
Wellbeing and mental health:
- The process of coming out of lockdown has been a tricky transition for many of us. This article gives some top tips for looking after your mental health coming out of lockdown.
- The mental health charity Mind give a comprehensive overview of coronavirus and your wellbeing in this article.
- The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week was nature. Visit this page to find tips and examples of how connecting with nature can improve your mental health.
- University College London’s Human Resources department has provided these useful resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Many employers including universities now offer Employee Assistance Programmes, where you can get emotional support and advice on practical issues. A good example is Care First, used by universities such as UCL.
- The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk in confidence through their listening service. You can call them for free on 116 123 for advice and support.
- The NHS Every Mind Matters initiative offers expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing as well as specific resources around coping with the worry of coronavirus.
- BSI member, John Tregoning has some creative ways to maintain good mental health in academia – pop songs! This article is taken from John’s own blog, drtregoning.blogspot.com
- Why not follow the lead of the BSI staff team and create weekly themed Spotify playlists that everyone can add to and enjoy as the week progresses.
- The Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity MQ have a published a report in The Lancet Psychiatry on the research into mental health and brain science in the context of the pandemic response. Here’s five things to know.
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have created this useful hub to help you maintain your wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- For guided meditation and mindfulness why not check apps such Headspace and Calm.
- Mental Health First Aid Training is a fast developing initiative that started in Australia and is now around the world including the UK. Check out this guide to it and start training up both yourself and your staff.
- Wellcome did a report into what researchers think about the culture they work in. Check it out here where it details matters around anxiety, bullying and workload.
- NHS Employers have created this useful calendar for wellbeing campaigns nationally and internationally. Stay up to date with everything from dry January to World AIDS Day.
- UK government published a guide to staying mentally well in winter, with ways to empower your wellbeing, help communities, and support frontline staff.
- The Health and Care Professions Council have these wellbeing resources, which include everything from helpline numbers, apps and online links to many organisations.
Working from home:
- Mind have this new action plan designed for people who are working from home. It gives you tips, action points and resources to help you increase your wellbeing.
- MHFA England have this website to help support those working from home.
- The BBC offers a short and simple overview of what to do while working from home.
- This is UCL’s guide to remote working with useful tools for best practice.
- BBC's Science focus magazine list 10 science-backed tips to help you work from home.
- Check out this complete guide to remote working in 2021. It has some useful tips and tricks from managing stress and work life balance to listing the essential remote work tips.
- The BSI has an extensive careers section on our website with a wide range of resources and tools to help you develop your career further.
- Check out the BSI jobs board for some of the latest vacancies in the world of immunology.
- The BSI also advertises funding opportunities that lists current grants and schemes by other societies, associations and organisations.
- Nature Careers - one of the world’s leading sources of information for all things related to careers in the science and medical fields.
- In 2017 the BSI undertook a careers review of the field of immunology in the UK, providing a snapshot of the immunology workforce in order to create a platform for further research and investigation.
- Check out the BSI’s Guides and Resources section tailored for both undergraduates and postgraduates.
- Coping with change is an important skill to gain in furthering your career. Mind Tools’ transition model to doing just that is a must for anyone.
- The BSI undertook a webinar series supporting career development in 2020. Why not check it out and gain insights into many topics from grant writing to public engagement and on to publishing a paper.
Early Career Researchers (ECRs):
- Three steps to career success: a webinar series for early career researchers – In February 2020, the BSI joined forces with the Physiological Society to organise a three-part webinar series for early career researchers (ECRs). The series was designed to help build the soft skills needed by ECRs, providing expert insights into:
- Building resilience – Cecilia Johannsson and John Tregoning
- Networking & building an online presence – Dan Brayson
- Transitioning to independence – Viki Male
- Mentoring is a very useful approach to help those in the early stages of their career or to get through difficult situations and times. The BSI is now in its fourth year of running a mentoring scheme, in which a ECR is paired with a senior researcher in the field of immunology. Some universities offer their own mentoring schemes as do other societies or academies such as the one offered by the Academy of Medical Sciences. We would advise you to look up the scheme in your institution for support at this time. Also check out this useful guide to mentoring during the COVID-19 crisis from Nature.
- Executive coach, Alexis Hutson, who works regularly with the BSI, has created this useful guide to supporting mentoring relationships during the lockdown period.
- Check out BiteSized Immunology, our online resource that helps breakdown all the fundamental areas of immunology into short and concise articles.
- Our partners, the Royal Society of Biology have an excellent section on education during the COVID-19 pandemic that would be useful for schools, students and parents.
- Check out Imperial College London's Covid-19 lockdown lessons. A new series of webinars live streamed on YouTube focusing on how scientists have responded to the pandemic. Suitable for ages 16-18.