It’s Self Care Week next week (November 14-20th) – a reminder that all of us can look after ourselves more – and take control of our health and wellbeing.
Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week run by the Self Care Forum. Its motto is ‘helping people take care of themselves’. That means everything from having a well-stocked first aid box at home with everything you need for bumps, scrapes and minor illnesses to managing long term illnesses or health problems better so you don’t need an emergency visit to hospital.
Self care is about better health and wellbeing from the cradle to the grave – mental health too. Self care can also help reduce strain on the NHS and social care services, at a time when they need to reduce pressures and control rising budgets.
Dr Pete Smith, a GP and chair of The Self Care Forum said: “Most of us can look after ourselves well without needing to rely on a doctor or nurse, either when it is a minor condition or if you become an ‘expert’ in managing your own long term illness.
“Some people perhaps need a little more encouragement and support to give them the confidence to rely on themselves, the way we used to. There are plenty of resources out there and the Self Care Forum website is a good place to start.”
Dr Linda Hunter from NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group said “The NHS is often under strain at this time of year. Whilst we would always urge people who require medical assistance to seek it we also recognize that there are a number of ailments which the patient can deal with just as effectively from the comfort of their own home.”
The Self Care Forum has placed some great self care resources at http://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/ about lots of different health conditions.
A good starter for every household is to make sure you have enough painkillers, plasters, cold remedies and the medicines you normally take, so you don’t run out. Ask for advice from your local pharmacy.
Make sure you get a flu jab if you are in one of the NHS eligible groups – ask your GP practice or pharmacy.
Speak to your usual clinic nurse or GP when you have your next regular appointment about managing any long term condition better. Most people can take simple steps to keep themselves safe and well for a whole range of conditions, from low blood pressure that could make you fall to diabetes or heart problems.
Mental health and wellbeing is important to every one of us. The Self Care Forum urges us all to ‘stay healthy in body and soul by eating well and being active’.
Ask your pharmacist first when you have a non-urgent health problem. They are highly trained health care professionals who can often help with many problems to save you going to the doctor.
Lauren Seamons, from the Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “Your local pharmacy team are always happy to advise patients on self care without need of an appointment. They also offer medicine reviews and can help you get the maximum benefit from long term medications"
There is also a lot of advice on many health issues at www.nhs.uk