The importance of self care

This week, it’s Self Care Week, raising awareness of the importance of looking after your health where you can, and doing your bit to make sure you’re fit and healthy.

Self care comes in lots of different forms. It’s about knowing when to go to your pharmacist for help, when to get advice from your GP, fully understanding your condition, thinking about your diet, taking time out to de-stress, avoiding anything which triggers flare ups – it’s really about being smart when it comes to your health, and taking a bit of responsibility.

With strain on the NHS, it’s more important than ever that we take a leading role in our care.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be.

Know your medicines

If you have a long-term health condition or disability, know what medication you have to take on a regular basis, understand its impact, and always make sure you take it when you should and that you have a sufficient supply. Many pharmacists now offer a repeat prescription service where they’ll automatically re-order your meds for you when they’re due to run out, meaning one less thing to worry about. Have a well-stocked medicine cabinet too with essentials like painkillers for minor ailments too.

Know your local services

It’s important to know who to contact for support when you need it. Don’t automatically turn to your GP, and A&E should be left for emergencies only. In some cases, your pharmacist may be best placed for support – they can answer questions about medications, offer advice for minor ailments, as well as dispensing meds.

Keep active

Being as active as possible is crucial for your health. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, helps you manage your weight and keeps your lungs strong. Taking the stairs rather than the lift, walking to work rather than taking the bus, signing up for team sports… There are lots of things you can do to boost your activity levels. If mobility is an issue, there are adapted version of a sport – the Parasport site has lots of inspiration.

Change your lifestyle

There are lots of unhealthy habits you can kick to give your overall health a boost. Quit smoking, cut back your drinking, and look at your diet – it’ll really improve your general wellbeing.

Be kind to yourself

Life can be stressful. And stress can have all kinds of horrible side effects, even worsening some medical conditions. So try not to let anxiety get on top of you. Make sure to take time to yourself, to indulge in your favourite activities, take the time to enjoy a cuppa, to do something fun and forget about what’s bothering you – your mental and physical health will thank you for it.

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