Taking Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself means taking an active role in your health and health care so you can stay as healthy as you can. Your primary care doctor may tell you to exercise more or eat better, but it's up to you to follow through on this advice.
When it comes to taking care of ourselves, we all have challenges. What matters is doing your best to face these challenges, which can mean getting help from your health care team, family, friends, trustworthy resources and more. With or without additional support, you still need to take action. Here are some helpful tips:
When receiving a new diagnosis, medication or treatment plan:
- Research your condition. The more you know about your condition and treatment options, the more you'll understand what you can do to recover as quickly as possible.
- Make sure you understand your medication or treatment plan and how to take the medication or carry out the plan.
- Watch carefully for side effects or other problems and record them. Report what you experience to your doctor so adjustments can be made if necessary.
- Use our personal medication tracker (54 KB PDF) and learn more about how to be smart and safe with new medications (794 KB PDF).
When leaving the hospital:
- Follow through on your discharge instructions to avoid unnecessary readmission to the hospital.
- Read a guide (795 KB PDF) on taking care of yourself after leaving the hospital from the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research.
When going about your life:
- Check in with yourself. Stay aware of any health issues or challenges you experience and take action as needed. While it's tempting to ignore symptoms, especially if they aren't constant, try focusing on yourself and listening to your body.
- Connect with people facing similar health issues using local and national community-based organizations as well as patient networking websites and groups.
- Get involved in your community. Plant a neighborhood garden, organize a local clean up, start an exercise group-the opportunities available for you to connect with your community and your health are endless.
Taking Care of Yourself Resources
- Healthy Living
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
From vaccines and immunizations to diabetes prevention, tips and tools for staying healthy and managing chronic conditions.
Three Tips to Help with the Challenges of Taking Care of Yourself (39 KB PDF)
Tips for taking care of yourself after you leave the doctor's office.
- Taking Care of Myself: A Guide for When I Leave the Hospital (776 KB PDF)
(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) A guide you can use to talk to hospital staff, primary care providers and the people who will help you recover after your hospital stay.
- Next Steps After Your Diagnosis: Finding Information and Support (254 KB PDF)
(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) This booklet describes five basic steps to help you cope with your diagnosis, make decisions and get on with your life.
- More Resources
Washington Health Alliance to empower consumers to become active participants in their own health and health care; Bureau of Minoirty Health; Mid-south Foundation; Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals