What is self care?
Self care is about looking after yourself in a healthy way. It can be anything from brushing your teeth, doing some exercise, managing common conditions (like headaches, colds and flu) or living with a long-term health problem, such as asthma or diabetes.
Self care for healthy living
Staying healthy is important for everyone, even if you are living with a long-term condition. This means eating healthily, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and drinking in moderation.
If you are not sure what changes you can make to help improve your health, NHS Choices offers a LifeCheck. Just answer a few simple questions and LifeCheck can give you advice on what changes may help you. Click here for a LifeCheck.
Find out more about self care for healthy living
NHS Choices provides lots of useful information on how you can improve your health and wellbeing. Click on the links to find out more.
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 problem – you just want to know how to relieve it and you want a treatment that acts fast. You also want to know how long you’re going to suffer or 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 to get an appointment when you have a more serious condition.
Health A-Z – Conditions & Treatments
NHS Choices provides a Health A-Z guide to treatments and conditions. You can search by body part, subject or by selecting from the A-Z menu.
To access the full guide please click here.
We have added links to some of the most popular subjects below:
- Back Pain
- Birth Control
- Breast Cancer
- Chicken Pox
- Common Cold
- Flu (Seasonal)
- Glandular Fever
- Kidney Infection
- Norovirus Infections
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
For information on other common conditions, visit the NHS Choices or Patient UK websites. If you are not sure about your symptoms, click here for the NHS Choices symptom checker where you can get advice on what to do next.
If you need more advice or you are unsure what the right thing for you to do is, ask your pharmacist for advice or call the surgery to speak to a doctor or make an appointment to discuss your problem further.
Self care for long-term conditions
Did you know that if you are living with a long-term condition, you will spend, on average, six hours a year with a healthcare professional and the remaining 8,754 hours managing your health for yourself?
Living with a long-term condition brings challenges and it’s important to have the confidence, support and information to manage your 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 more control of their health feel more able to cope with their health problem, have better pain management, fewer flare ups and more energy.
Tips for living with a long-term condition
NHS Choices has created some practical tips on living with a long-term condition. To download a leaflet that explains these in more detail, click here:
- Accept you have a persistent health condition…and then begin to move on
- Get involved – building a support team
- Pacing – pacing your daily activities
- Learn to prioritise and plan your days
- Setting goals/action plans
- Being patient with yourself
- Learn relaxation skills
- Keep a diary and track your progress
- Have a plan for set-backs
- Team work – work with your practice team
- Keeping it up
Find out more about self care for long-term conditions
There is a range of free courses aimed at helping people who are living with a long-term condition to manage their condition better on a daily basis:
- The Expert Patients Programme – click here for information
- DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) and DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) for people with diabetes
- Breathe Easy for people with asthma – click here for information
These courses usually run over several sessions and will provide advice and tools to put you in control of your condition. Ask your GP or the receptionist for details of courses in this area or visit NHS Choices. Click here for more information.
The following websites provide good information that can help you understand more about the common condition or long-term health problem that affects you: