One small change can make a big difference this Self Care Week

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Health leaders in the Black Country and West Birmingham are encouraging people to invest in their future selves this Self Care Week (16-22 November) by making small changes that can make a big difference.

This year’s theme is Live Self Care for Life, and the local NHS and partners are encouraging people to make one change to help them develop a good habit for life.

Examples of things to try include:

  • Get active: Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. Walk to pick up the children from school, take the stairs instead of a lift, or even just go for a walk or dance around the kitchen table to your favourite songs.
  • Eat well: Start by swapping unhealthy snacks for healthy options such as nuts, seeds and fruit, and switch full sugar drinks to low/no sugar versions. Ask your pharmacist for advice on managing your weight.
  • Make positive changes: Take steps to stop unhealthy habits that don’t serve you well. Plan to stop smoking, reduce your alcohol intake and get active! Your pharmacist can help with lifestyle changes such as weight management and stop smoking services.
  • Rest: A good night’s sleep is as essential to our health and wellbeing as eating healthily and exercising, so make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours a night.
  • Stop: With busy lives, we sometimes forget to slow down and stop. Find time in your day to just quieten your mind. Try mindfulness or yoga, or focus on a relaxing hobby.

Dr Ian Sykes, local GP and Chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, says: “Lockdown is a great opportunity to take things slower and reflect on your health. Make small, simple changes that will enhance and protect your health now and in the future.

“Often, one small change is enough to make a big difference to your wellbeing. For instance, choosing to become more active will not only improve your physical health, it will also boost your mood, particularly if you choose to exercise outdoors in the fresh air.”

Kathy French, Acting Chief Nurse at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, added: “Self-Care Week is also about safely managing long term conditions, understanding how to self-treat those common conditions such as colds and taking advice from the pharmacist if you’re unsure of symptoms.”

This year more than ever, it’s vital to care for your mental as well as physical health. Simple changes like getting more exercise and making healthy food choices are beneficial, but there are also free and confidential local services available for anyone who needs a little extra support.

Visit ease-the-load.org for more information about mental health support in your area. If you or somebody you know is experiencing a crisis, call the 24/7 helpline on: 0800 008 6516 (Black Country) or 0121 262 3555 (West Birmingham).

During Self Care Week – and every day – think “Self Care for Life” and make self-care your lifelong habit. For more information about Self Care Week visit: http://www.selfcareforum.org