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Make sure to look after your own health

Person on sofa with coffee

This week, NHS commissioners and GPs in Bracknell have joined forces with local authority colleagues to support Self Care Week 2020.

This year’s national campaign is themed ‘Live Self Care for Life’ which is all the more important with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The partnership is therefore urging residents of Bracknell Forest to prioritise their own wellbeing, including physical and mental wellbeing, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Martin Kittel, a local GP and the Clinical Lead for Bracknell Forest, said:

“COVID-19 has certainly highlighted the ever-growing need for us all to live a healthier lifestyle.

“Of course, some factors that affect the outcome cannot be influenced, such as age. However, weight is something that everyone can address as obesity is a big risk factor for suboptimal outcomes in COVID-19.

“Losing weight can be achieved through exercise, but first and foremost through healthy eating. Instead of refined and processed food, cook meals using fresh ingredients and eat your recommended 5 a day. Cutting out sugar will also help.

“Taking a vitamin D supplement is highly recommended, particularly for those shielding and unable to go outside. I recommend 25mcg per day over the winter months.

He added:

“If you haven’t already had your flu jab, especially if you have a long-term health condition, then please make sure you get yourself booked in for one as this is just one of the ways in which you can stay well this winter and avoid other complications arising.”

By eating healthily, becoming more active, stopping smoking and cutting down on the amount of alcohol consumed, you can transform your quality of life.

Cllr Dale Birch, Chair of the Bracknell Forest Health and Wellbeing board, said:

“Protecting our mental health is equally as important to our physical health, they often go hand in hand.

“Feelings of low mood and anxiety may be more prominent with current national restrictions in place. If you are struggling with your mental health you must reach out to someone, whether it be a friend, family member or colleague, there is always someone who can help.

“A great first port of call is our public health portal where you can find an abundance of self-care resources and contact details for specialist organisations.

“It’s also important not to delay accessing health services if you have a concern for your mental or physical health as the NHS remains open. If you feel unwell and think you need medical attention visit NHS 111 online or call 111 for advice.”

There are many techniques that you can use at home to support your mental wellbeing, from breathing exercises and mindfulness to yoga. Visit health at home on the public health portal for more tips.

Making sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet is an important part of self-care too. Pharmacists can advise what over-the-counter medicines are available to relive symptoms of common winter ailments such as colds, sinusitis, or earache.

Find out more information on Self Care Week 2020.