How to help your Health Services

The Health Service Directorate is encouraging you and your family to make healthier lifestyle choices. This will help you improve any current chronic illnesses you may have, avoid the onset of new illnesses, and help you build a stronger immune system. More than ever before communities across the globe are striving to become healthier since the realisation that COVID-19 and its impact will continue to affect us. 

Healthier communities can help to reduce the demands on health services, enabling them to operate more efficiently. Below are a few tips on how to start making healthier lifestyle choices with longer term benefits for you and your family:  

Getting sufficient rest – Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable healthy growth and development. People aged over 65 should also get seven to eight hours sleep per night.  You should try to keep a nighttime routine and ensure where possible that you go to bed at the same time each night. People who have sufficient sleep function better at work, have improved moods, more physical energy, and look and feel better. 

Drink enough water – Drinking water is essential for the body to function. Water helps with the absorption of nutrients and other essential compounds and their transportation in the blood. Water helps your body to rid itself of waste and regulate body temperature.  It is advised that you drink up to two litres of water per day, avoid drinking sugary and fizzy drinks, and avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. 

Exercising -Adults and children should do some type of physical activity every day. Any form of moderate exercise/activities can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Adults and children should limit their time sitting during the day as this can lead to multiple health problems. People who work in an office-based job should try to get up and walk around for at least two minutes every half an hour. Children should be encouraged to have more active playtime and limit screen time to one to two hours per day.  

Eating well – We should all try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain the essential vitamins we need to keep us healthy. Carbohydrates like bread, rice and pasta, should make up over a third of everything you eat. You should aim for at least three portions of dairy a day or dairy substitutes containing calcium such as soya.  You should include two to three portions of protein a day which is about a hand sized portion of meat or fish, chickpeas, beans or lentils. High salt diets are linked with high blood pressure. Salt intake can be reduced by seasoning your food with pepper or spices instead of salt. Reducing ‘free’ sugars found in cakes, chocolate, sweets and other foods is a great way to avoid weight gain and help with modest weight loss. Eating less animal fat (saturated fats) can help to improve the health of your heart.

If you are worried about your diet and health, please contact the Dietitian at St Johns Villa, Jamestown, on tel: 22500.

Taking care of your mental wellbeing – There are many pressures of everyday life that cause stress and stop people taking time for themselves. Taking care of your mental health can help to improve your physical health and general wellbeing. You can make a start by spending more time with your family and friends, become more physically active, learn a new skill or hobby, get sufficient amounts of restful sleep, and learn to appreciate what you have in the present moment. In cases where stress levels are having an impact on your mental wellbeing, it can help to speak with someone about any concerns or feelings you may have. In such cases you should speak with someone you trust and feel comfortable with, such as a family member, friend, or a mental health professional.  

The Mental Health Team is available at St Johns Villa, Jamestown, on tel: 22500. Feel free to contact them for any help or advice.   

22 March 2022

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470