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Put yourself first by pressing the self-care button this week

Staying active, checking your medications, and knowing how to self-treat common ailments are just some of the small things we can all do to prevent health and wellness issues from getting to the point where they need medical attention.

Self Care Week is a national event from 13-19 November 2023 and it’s the perfect time to think about how we live our lives and maybe make some small changes.

Peter Gregory, assistant medical director at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “We see a lot of people coming to GPs with conditions that would naturally improve over time.

“It’s easy for people to assume the worst when they get sick and are worried that their cold or sore throat is worse, and we would always encourage people to make an appointment with their GP if they have genuine cause for concern.

“But very often it’s better to take control and a quick visit to the pharmacist for advice or just getting sick, lots of rest and warm drinks are enough to figure things out.”

With health services such as GPs, call centers and A&E busier than ever, the best way to avoid long waiting times is to prevent health and wellbeing problems from reaching the point of needing emergency medical care.

Informative videos about the most common diseases and ailments that can be treated with self-care at home are available at The list includes hot baths and over-the-counter pain relievers for colds, honey and lemon in warm water for coughs, olive oil in the ears to help with earwax buildup, and exercises to improve balance if you’re unsteady on your feet.

These videos also contain information about how long the illness can last and at what point you should consider seeking medical advice from your doctor.

The benefits of self-care go beyond the fact that you don’t have to take the time to see a health care professional. Very often, over-the-counter medications can be much cheaper than getting them with a prescription. Paracetamol, for example, costs just 34p and a complete stocking of your medicine cabinet with essential medicines and remedies can be done for less than £15.

There are also mental and physical health benefits, as good self-care includes getting more exercise, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. One of the easiest ways to take care of yourself is to try a new hobby that takes your mind off your daily problems and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Talking to a social prescribing worker could help you find something for you.

Most GP surgeries have access to social workers to prescribe prescriptions or health coaches. Their role is to identify what is affecting your health and well-being and explore ways to address these issues. They can guide you through the different options and help you find the service that best suits your needs. They will even go with you to a new group or service if you need it.

Local authorities have lots of people willing to offer advice on finding new services or hobbies for you. It can be a sports coach at one of the sports centers or even a librarian who will help you find a new hobby or interest group.

Find more top self-care tips on our website:

For more information on Self-Care Week, visit A week of self-care.

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