The importance of self care this winter

This week is self care week.

Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on establishing support for self care across communities, families and generations. More needs to be done to support people to better look after their own health and this has never been more important than during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Empowering all of us to incorporate self care has many benefits for our short term and long term health and this is important since we’re living longer. Helping people to look after their own health, and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

16-22 November 2020 is Self Care Week and we have an opportunity to encourage our stakeholders, including staff, patients, partners and the public to incorporate self care into everyday living to improve our health and well-being.

Being aware of the importance even small self care changes can make to our health and well-being will help us all to be winter well and this year, in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, it is even more important for all of us to be self aware and practice self care.

The theme this year is Think Self Care for Life which is suitable for self care messages for all ages and genders and enables us to focus on various areas including prevention, mental well-being, self-treatable conditions, signposting, self-management, antibiotic use and health literacy.

Our over the counter medicines campaign asked people if they would feel comfortable having a discussion with their GP about purchasing an over the counter medication to treat  a minor ailment and the result was an overwhelming 82% said they would be happy to do this. 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 Doncaster.

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, including 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 ‘flu and most people will start to feel better in a few days, taking plenty of fluids, rest and an over-the-counter medication.

Watch this short film below on what to include in your medicine cabinet:

Simple self care tips:

We can all play our part and adopt self care strategies in the following ways:

  • through good nutrition and drinking 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 our 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 unable to go outside
  • watch our alcohol consumption and have alcohol-free days every week
  • support our 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 our minor and long term health conditions better
  • ensure we stick to safe practices to reduce Coronavirus infections, including washing our hands regularly, keeping a safe distance from others (2 metres), wearing a face mask and observing the latest coronavirus guidance

For inspiration, hints and tips follow @SelfCareForum #selfcareweek #selfcareforlife on Twitter.

Further details are also available on our website here

External resources and websites:

  • Doncaster Council – Community Hub for Coronavirus support here
  • Healthwatch Doncaster Reaching Out – telephone support referral form here
  • Details on self care for young people are available here
  • NHS Clinical Commissioners website contains further information here
  • Resilience and self care for the over 50’s here and Age UK’s winter well self care here
  • 5 tips for eating well this winter from the British Heart Foundation here
  • Headspace – 10 minute mindful meditation here
  • Self help guides from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • covering a range of mental health issues here
  • NHS One You: Mental Well-being while staying at home here
  • NHS stay well in winter advice here
  • NHS Scotland: Beating the winter blues here
  • Top ten tips for good sleep from Mental Health Foundation here
  • Keeping up your self care during Covid-19 – Combat Stress website for Veterans here
  • Fun and learning activities for children from the RSPB here
  • AllTrails walks in and around Doncaster here
Getting outside for a walk can help our health and well-being

And a few last but very important words from Dr Rao Kolusu, local GP & Clinical Lead for Prescribing…


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