What does self care mean?
Anything that you can do yourself to improve or influence your own health and wellbeing.
This includes what you choose to eat and drink, how active you are, and when it comes to mental health in particular, it also includes how you interact with others.
But it goes much, much further. If you’re able to treat yourself or family members when one of you has a cold, a graze, a bite or sting, that’s self care. If you regularly take medication for a particular condition, keeping on top of that medication and your prescriptions, as well as any vaccinations you might need, is also self care.
And guess what? Asking your pharmacist for advice also counts, as does swotting up on which health service (pharmacist/NHS111/GP/999/A&E) you might need at any given time during the year.
Why does that last one count as self care? Because it’s all part of YOU taking more control over your own health. By knowing where to turn for help and advice you can get your problem sorted more quickly and get back to health faster.
Hopefully this doesn’t sound too much like hard work, because it really isn’t. We take so many decisions every day that have a bearing on our health and improving our self care is about tweaking some of these decisions a little bit each time until we start to notice the benefits.
There is plenty of help available too.
If you need a bit of a nudge when it comes to healthier food and drink, check out One You, which has lots of helpful suggestions and advice, as well as details of services that can support you along the way.
Through One You you can also access the Every Mind Matters page, which is a one-stop-shop for improving your mental health.
If something does go wrong and you catch a cold, get bitten or stung, suffer a graze or one of a number of other minor ailments, having a medicine cabinet stocked with essentials will get you through the worst of it. Here are some of the things you should consider. Remember to always store medicines appropriately, keeping them out of the reach of children and disposing of any that are out of date.
Vaccinations are an important way to protect yourself against disease and are particularly important for people who may be vulnerable to infection, perhaps as a result of a pre-existing health condition. You can find out more about vaccination here.
One of the main annual vaccination campaigns is against flu. People with certain long-term conditions, elderly people, young children and pregnant women are among those eligible for the free NHS flu jab and are encouraged to have it to protect themselves and those around them. Flu can be extremely serious, even deadly, for some people so it is important for them to take up their GP’s invitation to have the vaccine.
If you are not eligible for the free vaccine you can have the jab at your local pharmacy for a small fee (usually around £10). You may need to make an appointment so please check in advance.
Knowing where to turn
The last thing you want when you’re not well is to be confused about which health service or professional you need to see.
That’s why it’s best to learn what the options are and when you should use them.
There are easy-to-use guides available to you, whichever part of our area you live in: