Self Care Week: why self care deserves your attention
Last week I, like many other people, started to get a cold. And whilst colds are rubbish, it did prompt me for the first time in ages to think more about looking after myself, particularly health-wise. And this is what Self Care Week is all about.
Forgetting to look after ourselves and our health is not unusual. And whilst we can blame things like being too busy, the truth is that it’s so important to take charge of our own well being that we shouldn’t be making excuses. Whether that’s fitting in some exercise, getting a good night’s sleep when you’re feeling under the weather, or just making sure you keep warm this winter – it’s all worth it and we all deserve giving ourselves some love and attention.
This years’ theme for Self Care Week is ‘Understanding self care for life’ – which, to decode, means it’s about spreading knowledge in order to support people to better look after their own health. With this in mind, the Self Care Forum has some really useful fact sheets about common ailments that can help you know what to do and when to visit your GP.
Mental health needs a shout out in all of this too, as it can be hard to look after your body if you’re not looking after your mind (and vise versa). It’s not always as simple as paying attention to how you feel, but practices like mindfulness and meditation can help many people. You can find out more information on mindfulness here. The Mental Health foundation also has lots of useful podcasts to listen to on all sorts of mental health topics.
So what are the general public’s top health concerns?
In 2015, PAGB-commissioned research showed that staying healthy as you get older was the UK’s top health concern, followed by keeping fit and active, and eating a healthy diet. The survey also showed that a lot fewer people turned to a pharmacist with a health concern than turned to Google. For self-treatable conditions, like a cough, cold, sprain or headache, a pharmacist can be a great port of call. They’re highly trained healthcare professionals and generally you can find them locally and need no appointment; another way to make looking after yourself quicker and easier! (The press release can be found here).
The internet is of course a great resource too, provided you don’t get sucked down any rabbit holes that can make your symptoms show up as life threatening no matter what they are. The NHS website is a great port of call – the advice is clearly laid out and can tell you who to contact next if you need to.
Most importantly, self care means knowing how to keep fit and healthy, how to deal with medicines appropriately, manage self-treatable conditions and when to seek appropriate clinical help. So don’t shy away from help if you feel you do need it!
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy winter!
This post was written by Holly Newson