Simple steps to better health
Regular activity, healthy eating, sleep and relaxation are four pillars which can support longer, healthier lives. That’s the message to people across Frimley Health and Care during Self Care Week 2021 (Nov 15 - 21).
The theme of Self Care Week this year is to ‘Practise Self Care for Life’, so we’re raising awareness that making small and achievable changes to our everyday lives can help us to stay well and improve our health and wellbeing.
These changes include healthy tweaks to our diets, taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep and knowing what to do about symptoms of common everyday illnesses. It’s also about understanding and having the ability and confidence to manage long-term conditions.
Dr Huw Thomas is a GP and the Clinical Chair of NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans and funds the majority of health services provided to people across East Berkshire, North East Hampshire, Surrey Heath and Farnham.
He said: “Looking after yourself doesn’t have to be a chore. A healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are two of the main contributors to good physical and mental health and they can be enjoyable too. Not only that, many of the things we need to keep us healthy are free, such as going for a walk or a run in the fresh air, or getting a good night’s sleep.
“The best thing is that by making these changes, we not only help ourselves in the short term, we also make a huge difference to our long-term health prospects, by reducing our risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”
“We’ve compiled a short list of simple steps you can take, free of charge, to improve your health.”:
Move more – You don’t even have to join a gym. Walk the dog; leave the car at home; ignore the bus (or get off the bus one stop earlier than usual); take the stairs instead of the lift; dance around the kitchen table; just go for a walk.
Sleep – It’s when our body recharges, so a good night’s sleep is essential for sound physical and mental health.
Eat well – It is vitally important that we get the nutrients we need and avoid excessive amounts of salt, fat and sugar. Food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
Relax – We have such busy lives that we sometimes forget to take time out to relax, but it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Taking a couple of seconds to do something out of the ordinary can make the world of difference.
This winter taking up invitations for vaccination appointments for Covid booster and flu are also important ways of maintaining your own health.
The Covid-19 Booster programme is being rolled out to the same priority groups as previously for the first dose COVID vaccination. This means priority will be given in the first instance to:-
- Care home residents, health and social care workers
- People aged over 50
- Those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
- Adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
A booster jab can be received 6 months after the 2nd dose. When it is your turn, you may receive a text message from your GP, the national booking system, or you can simply walk into a Covid-19 vaccination site. Details of local walk in sites can be found here.
As demand for NHS services increases, knowing where to go when you’re feeling unwell and understanding how best to use local health services – particularly when services are under considerable pressure – is important so that you can get to the appropriate service as quickly as possible. For details of local services visit Frimley Health and Care website.
Dr Thomas said: “Our future health and wellbeing depends largely on what we do to ourselves today, so I urge everyone to consider the future they want for themselves and to act accordingly now. You’ll thank yourself later.”
In addition, if you have been invited for breast, bowel or cervical cancer screening it’s important you act on the invite. Taking up the cancer screening invitation is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the risk of cancer.
For more information about screening visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-screening/.