Self-care basics

Self Care Week 2016: Self-care Basics

Self Care Week is back for another year, with the NHS and other health organisations working to help the public to practice self-care. The overall aim of self-care is to encourage us to look after ourselves better. Through taking charge of our health and wellbeing, we can help to ease pressure on our healthcare providers and live happier healthier lives. There are many simple things you can do to help boost your health and encourage others to embrace the same self-care basics.

 

Self-care basics

Self-care basics begin with leading a healthy lifestyle. Some of the most important include:

Exercise regularly

Exercise is an important part of self-care. Not only does it keep you fit and strong, but it boosts your flexibility, reduces inflammation and can help improve conditions such as back pain. Exercise can also boost your mental health by easing stress and anxiety, maintaining your energy levels and more. Regular, moderate exercise is the best way to boost your health, and you can find more about the recommended physical activity guidelines for adults here.

Drink water

It’s recommended that you drink at least 2 litres of water a day (around 8 glasses), plus additional water if you exercise or work in a physically demanding role. One easy way to get into the habit of drinking your eight glasses is to make it a part of your daily routine, such as:

  • -Drink a glass when you wake up
  • -Drink a glass with breakfast
  • -Drink a glass with your mid-morning snack
  • -Drink a glass with lunch
  • -Drink a glass with your afternoon snack
  • -Drink a glass with dinner
  • -Drink a glass before bed

Breaking it up throughout the day makes it easier to get your daily intake, and can help you feel fuller during meals. Another way is to carry a bottle around with you and sip regularly, making sure to use a clean bottle. One way to make drinking water more exciting is to add some fruit which can give a natural bit of sweetness with the hydrating properties of water.

Give up smoking

Stoptober may be over for another year, but as there is never a bad time to quit smoking, you can make this key lifestyle change now. Smoking increases your risk of a number of health problems including cancer and heart disease. The effect of smoking on the NHS is huge, with the last data published in 2009 revealing that smoking costs the NHS up to £5bn a year. Make use of the many free resources available from the NHS to give up smoking now to enjoy instant benefits for your health.

Cut down on alcohol

Cutting down on alcohol is another way to practice self-care, and is one that will boost your health, help you maintain your weight and save you money. Cutting down can help lessen the damaging effects of alcohol such as increased liver disease and cancer risk, along with other problems caused by alcohol each year. Cutting down may be difficult, especially if much of your social life revolves being in pubs and bars, but these handy tips from Don’t Bottle It Up are great for helping you lessen your alcohol intake, without needing to cut it out completely.

Make time for yourself

Between work, family commitments and busy social lives, it can be difficult to find the time to relax. However, the importance of finding time to rest and decompress is often overlooked in terms of mental wellbeing. How you spend your time is up to you, but as long as it is something you enjoy and isn’t stressful, it should form a regular part of your routine to help you recharge and prepare for the other elements of your life.

Make a promise to yourself this Self Care Week to take charge of your health and improve your wellbeing. Form some new habits and embrace lifestyle changes to improve your health now and for your future. Join in the conversation around Self Care Week using #BFSelfCare and share our posts on social media to promote self-care basics amongst your friends and family too.