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What is self-care and why it is important for your health

Self-care applies to all of us and includes all the things we do to look after our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.  It has never been as important as during the Covid pandemic and becomes especially important during the winter months.

The NHS is always here for you whenever you need us.  And as we now start coming out of the worst of the pandemic, we are all working incredibly hard to get back to as close to normal as we can.  But self-care is something that we all need to take seriously.

What do we mean by self-care?

Self-care and self-management of long-term health conditions are all about helping you to look after yourself, encouraging you to take more control of your health and wellbeing, incorporating self-care into everyday living. We know that people who are actively engaging in their own care, have better outcomes.  Helping people to look after their own health, and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

Our job as health professionals is to support you, provide you with the right information and help you gain the knowledge and confidence you need to stay active and healthy.

What does self-care include?

Self-care includes:

  • Taking appropriate medication
  • Making informed choices about care
  • Eating healthily and taking regular exercise
  • Being socially active
  • Getting involved in the community

Information and advice from your local pharmacist

Knowing what to do to treat a minor ailment is something our local pharmacists can help with, and they can provide information and advice on how best to treat a wide range of minor ailments and conditions. Our pharmacists provide advice and support to people every day and are a vital resource for us in Bassetlaw.

A well-stocked medicine cabinet is vital as we aim to be well this winter and there are various items we can make sure we have at home to treat minor ailments, for example, paracetamol, cough syrup and throat lozenges. Most people suffering from colds and ‘flu can treat their symptoms at home without going to your local practice. Antibiotics do not help get rid of colds and most people will start to feel better in a few days, taking plenty of fluids, rest and an over-the-counter medication.

Our top self-care tips

We can all play our part and adopt self-care strategies.   Here are some simple tips:

  • Eat nutritious meals and drink plenty of water (8 glasses a day)
  • Get a ‘flu jab to protect ourselves and others
  • Take regular exercise to support general wellbeing and help maximize your immunity
  • Get outside as much as possible in natural daylight
  • Enjoy a good night’s sleep
  • Stop smoking
  • Take vitamin D supplements, particularly important for those shielding and/or unable to go outside
  • Watch our alcohol consumption and have alcohol-free days every week
  • Support our own mental wellness by keeping connected, ensuring a sense of perspective, and taking further steps to maintain our health
  • Look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours and keep in touch regularly
  • Understand how to manage minor and long-term health conditions better
  • Ensure you stick to safe practices to reduce Coronavirus infections, including washing hands regularly, keeping a safe distance from others (2 metres), wearing a face mask and observing the latest coronavirus guidance

You can find lots of information on services and organisations that can help you around Nottinghamshire here