Self Care Week - 14th-20th November 2016
Self Care is an approach to health which helps you to keep yourself well. It focuses on supporting you to play an active role in your own healthcare and wellbeing.
Self Care works alongside and supports the traditional focus on medical care. It introduces a more rounded approach to your health. It can cover all aspects of your life.
Self Care will help you to develop your knowledge and skills to give you confidence to manage your own health. It will empower you to make informed decisions. Health professionals and local voluntary organisations with the right skills, experience and expertise will support you at every step.
Self Care introduces and encourages a wide range of healthy habits and activities that cover everything from managing your health to improving your social life. It encourages you to set goals for yourself.
When people supported to do self care, they are more likely to:
✔ experience better health and well-being
✔ have reduction in perceived severity of their symptoms, including pain
✔ take medicines appropriately
✔ have reduction in emergency hospital admissions
✔ remain in their own home longer
✔ have greater confidence and a sense of control
✔ have better mental health and less depression.
There are other people who can help to provide support and information to support self care.
A great deal can be done to help people use their medicines effectively. Support, information is available from the pharmacist if they have a problem about their medicines.
Self care for common conditions
Did you know that one in five GP visits are for common conditions, such as backache, headache or cough? For most people, they are not serious health problems, you just want:
- to know how to relieve it
- a treatment that acts fast
- how long you’re going to suffer with it
- what you should do if your symptoms change.
The good news is that self care can help you manage most of these problems. It may mean you don’t have to spend time waiting to see your GP but can get on and start tackling your symptoms. Self care for common conditions can also help free up some of your GP’s time, making it easier for you to get an appointment when you have a more serious condition.
A helpful guide on how long you can expect the symptoms of cough, colds, sore throat and nasal congestion to last, what you can do to get better and the warning signs to look out for which mean you may need to seek professional help. The leaflet also explains that antibiotics are not an effective treatment for winter symptoms such as cough, cold, sore throat, flu or nasal congestion.
10. Sore throat
11. Otitis media
12. Common cold
Five things that, according to research, can really help to boost our mental wellbeing:
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. Learn more in Connect for mental wellbeing.
- Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Learn more in Get active for mental wellbeing.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Find out more in Learn for mental wellbeing.
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Learn more in Give for mental wellbeing.
- Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Learn more in Mindfulness for mental wellbeing.
Collated by Varsha Dodhia
Chair of Self Care Steering group
NHS Harrow CCG