Self-Care Week is a national event that focuses on empowering individuals to make time for themselves and look after their own health.
This year it runs from 13-19 November, and the theme is ‘Mind & Body’.
The Self Care Forum has been running the awareness week since 2011 and this year they want to promote several key messages. These include encouraging individuals to take vitamin D supplements, ensuring everyone gets good nutrition and exercise, and highlighting the importance of keeping connected to support mental wellness.
The organisers also want to use the week to highlight the need for vaccinations and screenings, as well as promoting better use of the NHS.
What is self-care?
The Self Care Forum defines self-care as, “actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.” This starts “with the individual responsibility people take in making daily choices about their lifestyle, such as brushing their teeth, eating healthily or choosing to do exercise.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) goes one step further and explains that self-care “is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.”
Why is self-care important?
The Self Care Forum explains that empowering people with the confidence, tools, and resources to look after themselves, when they can, gives people greater control over their own health. It also fosters a culture of healthy behaviour that can prevent ill health in the future.
More than just about improving the way we feel, it’s about giving individuals control and thereby reducing pressures on health systems. At a time when it’s estimated that there is a global shortage of around 10 million health workers, this has never been more important.
Research suggests that prioritising self-care can have several benefits, including greater self-confidence, a better understanding of health, healthier behaviours, and an improved quality of life. It’s also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, reduce burnout and has been shown to boost energy levels.
How can I practise self-care?
Self-care is about taking the necessary steps to prevent yourself from getting ill, overwhelmed, and overstressed. Self-care interventions are not designed to replace existing health systems, but to enhance them and improve overall health.
MIND advises on the following strategies for self-care:
- Stay aware of your mental health
- Nourish your social life
- Stay connected
- Try a relaxing activity
- Look after your physical health
The NHS also warns about the risk of drinking too much alcohol on both your mental and physical health. The immediate effects of cutting down alcohol include being less tired, improved skin, more energy and better weight management. Plus, in the long term, your mood, heart health and immune system can be boosted.
As a leading health testing laboratory, we know that self-care should also include health testing where appropriate, to prevent disease and promote good health.
For example, more than 30 different viruses and bacteria can be spread through sexual contact and, left untreated, can cause long-lasting infection, infertility and even certain cancers.
STIs don’t always present symptoms, meaning individuals can remain infected for many years without knowing. But if more people are aware of their STI status, they can receive treatment quicker, reduce the risk of serious consequences, and prevent STIs spreading.
In addition to this, we know that certain foods can trigger health conditions – which can cause several unpleasant and painful symptoms. By being aware of conditions such as coeliac disease and lactose intolerance, their symptoms and any personal triggers, you can take steps to not only boost your gut health, but also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Take your health into your own hands
At AlphaBiolabs, we have a range of health testing kits that can help you to get the answers you need to take control of your health.
This includes our Genetic Coeliac Disease Test that can tell you whether you have the genes linked to coeliac disease, while our Genetic Lactose Intolerance Test can tell you whether you have the MCM6 gene variations that indicate primary lactose intolerance. Each test costs just £99, or you can buy them both together for £168 and save £30. Only simple cheek swab samples are required, and results are available in 4-5 days.
We also offer a range of STI testing kits, which are shipped out to you in discreet, plain packaging. The kits contain everything you need to collect your samples and return them to our UK laboratory for analysis. Results will be emailed to you in 2 – 4 working days, depending on the test taken.
AlphaBiolabs also offer 100% accurate and reliable drug and alcohol testing and our UKAS-accredited laboratory is equipped to test a variety of samples (including urine, saliva, blood, hair, and nails) for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol and their metabolites. We also offer alcohol monitoring in the form of SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring®.
All our health test kits have been specifically designed to enable you to collect your samples quickly and easily at home, before returning them to our state-of-the-art laboratory. All testing is performed in-house at our award-winning UK facilities – so your samples will never be sent abroad.
For confidential advice on whether these tests are right for you, contact our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email email@example.com.
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