Self care week 2021

16 November 2021

Self care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help, and when to get advice from your GP practice or another healthcare professional. If you have a long-term condition, self care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.

Top Tips for self care

  1. Have things in the house that can be used to treat most minor ailments. This should include:
  • Paracetamol and aspirin, and equivalent syrups (such as Calpol) for children
  • Cold and cough medicines, and lozenges for sore throats
  • Mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Thermometer to check for fever
  • Range of plasters, bandages and dressings
  • Antiseptic wipes to clean cuts before they're dressed
  • Travel sickness tablets

To make sure you get the most appropriate service for your needs, it's important to know what local NHS services are on offer and when you should use each service. Use our guide below to help:
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The Self-Care Forum has a series of fact sheets to help you take care of the most common ailments: what you can expect to happen, how to self care and when you should contact the NHS. Research shows that people using the fact sheets felt more able to manage their common condition.

In the winter months, it's important to keep warm. Heat your house as much as you can. If you can't heat all your rooms, heat the one you spend most time in during the day, and your bedroom just before bedtime. Most people are fine at 18C, but you may need slightly higher if you're older or unwell.

Close curtains before sunset and shut doors and windows to keep heat in. Wear slippers or socks indoors, enjoy warm drinks, and if you're able, move around indoors to help keep warm.

Wear appropriate clothing outdoors such as a hat, scarf and gloves.


Having a diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat, salt and sugar will not only make you feel better but will have a positive impact on your health. The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are; eat or drink too much and you'll put on weight because the energy you don't use is stored as fat, and eat or drink too little and you'll lose weight. Discover top tips for healthy eating on the NHS website.

Being active is great for your physical and mental health, and it's not about running a marathon or playing competitive sports. Being active is about walking more, using the stairs instead of the lift, doing something you enjoy that increases your heartrate.

Adults should be active for at least 150 minutes each week, children aged 5-16 years should be active for at least 60 minutes per day and kids under 5 need 3 hours of activity a day.

Energise Me in Hampshire aims to create happier, healthier and stronger communities through sport and activity. You can find activities on their website as well as tips for getting active at work and home.

  1. It's never too late to switch to a healthier lifestyle - for you and those around you. Children who learn healthy habits at a young age will benefit from them throughout their life.

    The most common ways to improve your health is by eating well, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol - and there are lots of NHS resources to help:

These resources are from the NHS Live Well website which has lots of other useful information around mental wellbeing, healthy weight, sleep, sexual health and more.

You should try to get outside in natural daylight as much as possible as vitamin D helps to keep our muscles, bones and teeth healthy, as well as providing stimulation for the brain and making us feel happier. If you can't get outside, consider taking vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter months.

Whether it's your annual flu jab or COVID-19 vaccination or booster, it's important to boost your immunity, especially in winter. Getting these jabs help to protect ourselves but also those around us - particularly those who are most vulnerable.

While self care is predominantly about looking after your own health, it's also about checking in on each other and looking out for those around you. Whether it's an elderly relative or neighbour, friend or family member you haven't seen for a while, or someone you see every day - check in on them and keep in touch regularly to make sure they're okay.

Living with a long-term health condition

Living with a long-term health condition brings challenges and it's important to have the confidence, support and information to manage your own health. Self-care can help you make the most of living with your condition, rather than avoiding or missing out on things because of it. Self care puts you in control.

Research shows that people with long-term conditions who take control of their health feel more able to cope with their health problem, have better pain management, fewer flare ups and more energy.

NHS Choices has created some practical tips on living with a long-term condition that you can see in their self care toolkit. We’ve also listed some top tips below:

  • Accept you have a long-term health condition
  • Take your medication as prescribed – if you have any problems with your medication ask your pharmacist
  • Build a support team around you so you have people to talk to if needed
  • Pace your daily activities - there's no pressure to rush anything
  • Set goals and action plans so you have something to work towards
  • Learn to prioritise and plan your days
  • Keep a diary and track your progress
  • Be patient with yourself and have a plan for setbacks
  • Exercise
  • Learn relaxation skills
  • Keep going - you're doing brilliantly

Why is self-care important?

Supporting people to self-care and self-manage their health and wellbeing is about putting people in control. It helps to build confidence for those living with long-term health conditions, encourages people to stay well and healthy, and provides support for those dealing with short-term illnesses and ailments.

You can read more about self-care through the Self Care Forum.

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