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Invest in your future self this Self Care Week

18 Nov 2019

The NHS in Liverpool is encouraging people to think ‘self care for life’ as part of Self Care Week 2019, taking place between 18 and 24 November.

Self Care Week is an annual national awareness campaign that aims to help people understand what they can do to look after their own health and that of their family.

The theme of this year’s Self Care Week is investing in your future self by thinking ‘self care for life’ – which emphasises the importance of good self care as a life-long habit.

Everyone can make small changes to their lifestyle to help improve their physical health and mental wellbeing, such as maintaining an active lifestyle, eating a well-balanced diet, drinking less alcohol and quitting smoking.

Dr Maurice Smith, a local GP and member of NHS Liverpool CCG’s Governing Body said: “Self care is all about taking good care of yourself, so that you are more likely to stay well and avoid illness in the first place, and we can all do this by choosing a healthier lifestyle.

“We know that over 400 deaths in Liverpool could be prevented every year just through people doing the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for 5 days per week. But even if this sounds like too much of a stretch to begin with, doing anything to get yourself more active is always better than doing nothing when it comes to your health.

“Deciding to make that change as part of Self Care Week could be something as simple as choosing to walk to the local shops or on the school run rather than driving, or taking a brisk walk each day during your lunch break rather than staying at your desk.

“And it’s not just about the physical benefits either; being active is great for the mind as well. Even a relatively small amount of exercise can lift your mood, reduce feelings of stress, and can also help to improve your sleep.”

As well as empowering people to take control of their own health and happiness, Self Care Week is also about learning how to take care of yourself and your family when illness does strike – especially in the winter months.

A great example of self care is to understand what steps you can take to treat minor illnesses yourself at home, without needing to visit your GP. You can find lots of useful self care advice at www.nhs.uk.

Your local pharmacy can also offer you clinical advice and over the counter medicines and treatments for a range of minor health concerns, such as coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms, stomach aches, ear aches, sickness and diarrhoea, rashes, allergies, aches and pains – all without having to book an appointment.

For those living with a long-term health condition such as diabetes, COPD or asthma, self care is also about understanding your condition, and how to manage it while trying to stay active any way you can.

This Self Care Week, why not take these 5 simple steps for a healthier you:

  • Get active: Try and exercise for at least twenty minutes a day. You can incorporate this into your day by ditching the car and cycling to work, walking the dog, or even simply taking the stairs.
  • Eat well: Swapping out unhealthy snacks for healthier alternatives such as nuts, seeds and fruit can help you manage your weight and prevent you from developing long-term health problems.
  • Get advice: Search the NHS website for advice on managing your symptoms, or visit your local pharmacy for advice on medicines and treatments for minor health concerns.
  • Cut bad habits: Reduce your alcohol intake and make sure you don’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. If you’re a smoker, ask your pharmacist for a list of stop smoking services in your area.
  • Rest: A good’s night’s sleep is just as essential to our health and wellbeing as eating healthily and exercising. Make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

For more information and ideas on easy ways to get active, or to get inspired by local people who already have, visit: www.fitforme.info.

For more advice on living well more generally, visit: www.nhs.uk/live-well.

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