Staying well

Staying well physically can help you stay mentally healthy too. Below are our top tips for staying healthy.

Your health and wellbeing
Taking care of your physical health and wellbeing is an important part of maintaining good mental health.  

This includes eating healthily, reducing or stopping smoking, drinking within sensible limits, keeping your weight under control, making sure you get the sleep you need, and keeping fit and active.

You can find out more about the different physical and mental health conditions we treat, including signs and symptoms and how our services can help by visiting the health and wellbeing section of our website.
 
Ten top tips to stay healthy
Keep active
Evidence shows that there is a link between being physically active and good mental wellbeing. In fact, if you keep active, you're less likely to feel depressed, anxious and stressed.

You should aim to be physically active for half an hour a day, five days a week, but any level of activity is better than none and you can build activity to your lifestyle gradually if you feel more comfortable doing it that way.

Ask your GP about physical activity schemes in your area, which are often available through your local leisure centre. It's never too late to start getting active and you'll be amazed at how much better it can make you feel.

Eat a balanced diet
Making sure you eat a balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy. This doesn't mean you can't have a bit of what you enjoy every now and again. It's about eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, eating the right amount of food to maintain a healthy body weight and making sure you limit any treats to special occasions.

You should also aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Eating five portions isn't as hard as it sounds. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
 
Drink sensibly and stay safe
Any level of drinking can increase health risks but you can make sure your drinking is within lower risk levels by drinking no more than 14 units a week for women and no more than 21 units a week for men. Drinking more than this amount on a regular basis can have a negative impact on your health and increase your chance of developing serious health problems like heart disease, stroke and cancer.

One unit is around half a pint of low-strength lager. A small glass of wine (125ml) has 1.5 units and a large glass of wine (250ml) has 3 units.

Remember, alcohol can sometimes affect your medication, so speak to your GP if you have any worries about this.

Don't smoke
Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. If you're ready to quit, there are lots of free NHS stop smoking services that can help. You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044.
 
Stay safe in the sun
Most of us enjoy spending time in the sun and sunshine can actually boost your mood and make you feel good. But it's important to remember that the sun also gives off harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can burn you and damage your skin, increasing your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn doesn't just happen on holiday – you can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy. 

Cover up in the sun and protect yourself by wearing a sun cream between March and October, when the sun is strongest. You should use a cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, or higher if you have fair skin, lots of freckles or moles, or burn easily. Make sure you apply plenty of cream as using too little reduces the amount of protection and increases your risk of burning.
 
Cancer screening
Paying attention to your body and being aware of any changes to your body can help you to detect serious problems like cancer early on and increase your chances of making a full recovery.

The NHS offers free cancer screening services, including cervical screening for women age 25 to 64, breast cancer screening for women age 50 to 70 and bowel cancer screening for men and women age 60 to 74.

You will usually receive a letter by post inviting you to go for the screening test if you are in one of these groups. It's important to take up these invitations as cancer screening can detect problems while they are still treatable and it saves thousands of lives every year.
 
Practice safe sex
Practicing safe sex is an important part of staying healthy. It can protect you from catching sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV. Ask your GP for information about contraception or for free sexual health advice.

The side effects of some medications used to manage the symptoms of mental health problems can affect libido (sex drive) or sexual function. Ask your GP if you have any worries about this.

Keep warm in winter
Cold weather can have a negative impact on your health. You can call 0800 512 012 for free advice about keeping warm and saving energy in the winter.

Wearing layers at home can help you to stay warm, as can keeping your curtains open during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night to keep the cold out. Home energy grants may also be available to improve insulation and heating in your home. 
 
Get a flu jab
Flu jabs protect you from getting the flu and you should have one every year to make sure you're protected. You can have a flu jab at your local pharmacy or GP practice. You can't catch flu from a flu jab and any side effects are usually very mild and clear up in a day or two. Ask your GP about how you can get your free flu jab.
 
Use NHS 111 for any health queries
NHS 111 is the free NHS non-emergency number, which you can call any time of day for advice. It's fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Other parts in your life can also have an affect your overall health and wellbeing. This might include:
  • Relationships, family and friends 
  • Debt or money worries
  • Work-life balance 
  • Unemployment 
  • Job satisfaction 
  • Long-term illness or disability 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Religion and beliefs
  • The loss of a loved one  
If these or any other issues are worrying you, it's important that you can talk to somebody about how you are feeling.

Talk to a family member or friend, your GP, a member of staff or a group such as the Samaritans. Whatever you're going through you can call the Samaritans at any time on 116 123. They're there to talk 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number is free to call and you don't have to be feeling suicidal to call them.

 Content Editor ‭[2]‬