Taking care of yourself should be the number one priority but sometimes our busy lives get in the way and some people often spend more time looking after others.

But it is also vital that you get some down time to do the things you enjoy. Everyone needs a break!

Empowering people to self care has many benefits for our short term and long term health and this is important since people are living longer, but not necessarily in good health.

National Self Care Week, which runs from November 13 to 19, focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations.

The theme this year is “Mind and Body” and how more needs to be done to support people to better look after their own, and their family’s health and wellbeing.

Helping people to look after their own health, and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

The NHS is also reminding you to book your flu and covid booster jabs, if you have not already done so, and help protect yourself – and others – this winter.

Salli Pilcher standing in front of  lake.jpgSalli Pilcher, Collaborative Lead Nurse (Community) at NCIC, said: “If you don’t look after yourself then you can’t look after others. You need a break as well. It is important to take your breaks at work and remember to eat and drink at regular intervals. Taking a walk in the fresh air, swimming, cycling, gardening, running, listening to music – whatever makes you happy is important for good mental health too.

“Listen to your body and take five. Self care is nothing less than actions to lead to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life.”

As winter sets in and the nights get darker, there are lots of things you can do to take good care of yourself.

Some examples include:

  • Activity is key to long term physical health and mental wellbeing, 30 minutes a day is recommended.
  • Take vitamin D in the winter to prevent deficiency due to less sunlight
  • To help cut down on portion size use smaller plates
  • Reduce alcohol intake and don’t binge drinking as this can cause acid related digestive disorders
  • Understanding how to manage minor and long term health conditions
  • Stay connected with others
  • Move more – live well!

Knowing what to do and where to go for help is an important part of practising self care for life. Remember, it isn’t just the GP practice that can help, pharmacies are also health experts. They are on every high street and can help with all sorts of ailments. Pharmacists can also signpost you to the right place for additional health advice or treatment.

Remember, NHS 111 can also be a good resource for health advice for things that are not life-threatening. And the NHS website has lots of information on what steps to take to look after you and your family. https://www.nhs.uk/ The Self Care Forum also has some useful fact sheets you might like to download. https://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/

The important thing to remember is, practising self care is something we all need to do every day. For ourselves. For our families. And for the NHS.