Health is made at home, hospitals are for repairs

Image from CDC

I attended a ‘Sustainable health symposium’ a few days ago at the Anglia Ruskin University where I heard someone use this Ugandan saying.

Health is made at home, hospitals are for repairs.

Health is not the absence of disease – but physical, emotional and mental well-being. Hospitals can help heal the body but it is rarely the place where we build our emotional and mental well-being.

We are raising our children in a world that is not at ease with itself. The Euro-American ‘civilization’ is beginning its decline – and they seem in a hurry – rushing full steam ahead. The next ‘civilization’ is not alluring but we can see it looming, ready to take over. The outgoing ‘civilization’ has placed ‘the economy’ above all else. For this to work – people have to feel the urge to consume plenty of stuff that they do not need but remain empty and in need of even more stuff. The world is individualistic and has become a very lonely place. It’s essential then that our children leave our homes with a sense of self-worth to enable them to cope with the enormous challenges that they will have to face as adult. They will need a sense that they are enough as they are – that stuff is not what they need. To have a sense of self-worth is something that is built at home.

Health is made at home.

Children under 5 years of age are always in and out of hospital as their bodies are challenged with all the bugs about us. From 5 years to 65 years should be a time of relatively good health and then the problems of old age begin. But we have 60 odd years to determine our old age- to eat well, exercise, have a job that we love, build strong relationships and tight connections with other human beings. Strong relationships more than exercise and healthy food – determine how well we will age. People in marriages with a person who they can depend on, with friends they can count on – live healthier lives. The only way to build these relationships is to have learned from home how to love, how to empathize.

No one is perfect – our imperfections are glaringly obvious as we learn to face ourselves more soberly with age. My faults have been many over the years, sometimes I cringe at some of the stuff I have said and done in the past. In my younger days, I would beat myself with guilt – less so now. I am a lot more aware of my stupid inadequacies – but with old age, more patient with myself. My family and friends aren’t perfect either – but we learn to forgive and when we are together – there is love and empathy. Even the best of friends fall out – but pride needs to be laid aside and connections made – in order for us to be healthy.

I am off this month of August. As I take my well-earned break- I will ask you to consider this video – Brene Brown on empathy. It’s extremely short – but such a great guide on how to build strong connections with one another through empathy….

See you in September. In the meantime, I will be practicing empathy – hope you will too.