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Tips for staying well this winter: Self-Care Week 2021

This week is Self-Care Week, the annual awareness week that aims to help people develop skills and knowledge to look after their own health and wellbeing.

Organised by the Self-Care Forum, Self-Care Week provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals and health organisations to talk to patients and the public about self-care and explain how they can effectively look after their own health.

The theme of Self-Care Week 2021 is ‘Practise Self Care for Life’, and the NHS in Calderdale and Kirklees want to help people by sharing some tips to help them stay well over the coming winter and beyond.

Stay active: an active lifestyle can help you stay fit and healthy, and it’s an effective and cheap way of staying warm during winter. You don’t have to hit the gym; working any extra physical activity into your day can make a positive difference to your body and mind.

Eat well: Hot meals and drinks help to keep you warm, which is vital during the cold winter period. Eating at least one hot meal a day and eating a varied diet containing fruit and vegetables provides you with vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your immune system working and protect you from common winter conditions like coughs and colds.

Stay connected: longer nights during autumn and winter can affect your mood. Support your mental wellness by keeping connected with people however you can. As the days get shorter, it’s also a good idea to take vitamin D supplements to make up for any lack of sunlight. This is particularly important for those shielding and unable to go outside.

Boost your immunity this winter: if you’re 50 or over you’ll need the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines. The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. If you’re over 50 or have certain health conditions you can get an NHS flu jab for free. Go to www.nhs.uk/flu, or speak to a GP or pharmacist to see if you’re eligible for an NHS flu jab.

Make sure you have the medication you need: well-stocked medicine cabinet can help with common health problems and help relieve long-term health conditions, and a first aid kit so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries.  Your local community pharmacy can help if you’re missing something. Remember to follow Government guidelines when attending the pharmacy.

Dr Steven Cleasby, Clinical Chair of NHS Calderdale CCG and a GP in Halifax said:

“Making small changes to our daily routine, being prepared and practising good hygiene can make a huge difference to everyone’s health. Coughs and colds are very common at this time of year and as well as being unpleasant on their own, they can also lead to further complications for people with existing health conditions.

“You can protect yourself and others by continuing to be vigilant, as we all have throughout the coronavirus pandemic: wash your hand regularly using warm and soap if you can and use hand sanitiser when you can’t, wear a face covering in crowded spaces to reduce the risk of passing bugs on to others, and make sure to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and throw them away immediately.

“It’s important to stay warm and wear several layers of clothing when it’s chilly, as being cold can reduce your immune system’s effectiveness and make you more likely to fall ill.”

Dr Khalid Naeem, of NHS Kirklees CCG, said:

“It’s really important as the cold weather starts that people ensure they think about staying warm over winter.

“We are encouraging people to take the time to check on their elderly neighbours and relatives especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.

“Simple things like ensuring that they have a stock of self-care medication in case they are unable to go out as well as basic groceries can make all the difference to their health over winter.

“By working together, we can help each other to stay well over winter, and build habits that will keep us health throughout our lives.”

Information on staying well and tips on staying healthy are available at, togetherwe-can.com, as well as information on the health and wellbeing services available and when to use them.