10 tips to look after your Wellbeing during EPA

When taking any assessment, it can be very nerve-wracking and there can be pressure to perform well. It’s important to prioritise your own physical and mental wellbeing. We encourage all apprentices to speak out and seek the support you need to be the best you can be.

You’ll find there’s plenty of guidance and support on offer for completing the End Point Assessment itself – from 1st for EPA’s guidance to your training provider’s support.

When it comes to wellbeing, we’ve put together some tips to support you through the learning and EPA preparation stages of your apprenticeship:

1. Use your one-to-one meetings with your dedicated skills coach or tutor to discuss any difficulties or additional support you need. They are there to help you with more than just learning. Many training providers have a wellbeing contact or support system, so make the most of it.

2. Identify what causes your stress and worries. Knowing what you find stressful and what you find helpful both in the workplace and at home means you can identify and plan for any difficult times, and manage these effectively. Be open and discuss these with your manager and see what support they can offer you.

3. Find a coping technique that helps you. Mindfulness exercises are an effective way of being present in the moment – concentrating on work when necessary, EPA when necessary, and also being able to switch off when you need to. Some people find yoga helps them relax. And of course, a work-life balance is essential so make time for hobbies, friends and family.

4. Balance your time. If you often work late or take work home with you, you may be burned out. This can have a negative impact on your wellbeing, affect your mood and make you less productive overall. It’s a positive thing to set aside time for yourself, time for work, and time for the rest of your life and things you enjoy.

5. Communicate with others. Reach out to your training provider, skills coach, employer or colleagues if you need to. Many employers may not have supported apprentices before, so don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need to perform your best, both at work and in your apprenticeship. It might be as simple as having regular check-ins, planning your time in advance, or having a colleague act as a mentor to talk things through.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The worst thing to do is suffer in silence – if you can’t speak to your colleagues or training provider, reach out to friends, family, or a medical professional.

6. Remember to breathe. Take three slow, deep breaths and try to control your breathing. This reduces the panicky feeling and helps get oxygen to your brain so you can concentrate on what you need to do next.

7. Go outdoors. Sometimes it helps to go for a walk and get some fresh air. Even if it’s a 10 minute walk during the work day, this can help you feel refreshed and reset your mind. Take in everything around you and try to take your mind off your worries. You’ll often find that when you come back to them, they seem easier to tackle.

8. Take the day off. You’re entitled to annual leave so if you feel overwhelmed, use this to relax and reset. Try not to think about work when you’re not at work, and take the time you need to feel like you!

9. Reasonable adjustments are available for those who need them. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you might find an intro call with your assessor will put a friendly face to the assessor and help you relax. If you’re not sure what support is available, check our Reasonable Adjustment Policy or simply ask.

10. Believe in yourself! If you’ve got through most of your apprenticeship and are approaching EPA, then you’re doing a lot right. Your training provider and employer believe in you and see potential. Even if you have hiccups along the way, chances are you’re doing fantastic and have a lot of people who know you’ll succeed.

How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing? We’d love to hear what actions you take and what you find useful. Drop us an email at admin@1stforepa.co.uk and we may be able to share your tips in a future article.

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