There is a German saying that goes: “Wer sich auf andere verlässt. der ist verlassen.” It means that those who rely on others will be let down, with a pun on “verlassen”, which translates ‘relying on’ as well as ‘being let down’, depending on the context.
When it comes to health, yours and that of your family, there are many things you can and should do for yourself rather than relying on others to do them for you. Taking care of your health is indeed your own responsibility in the first place, and Do-It-Yourself plays a big role in it.
First of all, cook for yourself and your family. Don’t trust restaurants or food chains to provide you with healthy, nourishing foods. You are better off cooking yourself with as many fresh ingredients and as few processed products as you can. If you are inexperienced, great: Here is an opportunity to learn an art that is rewarding! If you need help, no problem: The cookbook market is excessively large, and if you prefer to watch people cooking so you can imitate them, you can find endless cooking shows online.
Next, consider your physical condition. It is up to you to get enough fresh air and exercise, and no gym membership is going to provide this for you. Go outside. Ride a bike. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Move. You do not have to join a club, and usually you don’t even have to set aside a certain time for exercise. Just go about your daily life choosing to move instead of sitting as often as you can. Stretch! And if you want to set aside a few minutes every day for particular exercises, there is plenty of material out there, in print and online. You could visit the local library and have a look at their book selection dedicated to fitness, or look around online for a program that suits your needs and inclination.
Then, consider the things you need when you are sick, and if at all possible, consider them before you get sick. Around this time of year, it helps to have a few things in the house that will alleviate cold and flu symptoms, like onions and honey, and good sources for vitamin C like elderberry syrup, citrus fruits, a handy pine or fir outside the door, frozen or dried rose buds and the like. Inhaling warm steam is another thing that can alleviate cold symptoms and help get rid of mucus in our sinuses. All it takes is a bowl of hot water and a towel and you are ready to go.
The same counts for other common illnesses. If you think ahead a little bit, organize your medical supplies and stock up on things you might need, you will be prepared in times of need and don’t have to rely on others for help. If you feel sadly uninformed about health matters, make it a priority to learn about them. Again, in this day and age, it is ridiculously easy to learn new things because everyone and their uncle are falling all over themselves to teach you, for free! Look online, go to the library: There is a tremendous amount of wonderful material out there waiting for you to pick up and read.
And last but not least (indeed, this is the most important item on the list), you should consider that you are not just a material being. You need spiritual nourishment. Your mind needs exercise, fresh mental air, good healthy brain-food, and coping mechanisms that help you find and keep your balance in an increasingly imbalanced world. Health and joy, strength and resilience come from within first and foremost. Play an instrument. Memorize a poem, or a psalm. Draw a picture. Knit a shawl, or crochet a pot holder. Watch the sunrise, or watch the stars. Pray. Sing!
Did you know that doing more things for yourself and relying less on others is a wonderfully strengthening experience? Try it one of these days.
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