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ThanksGIVEing: Support Yourself and Your Community

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danielsmith2Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday. The days are short on sunlight, the weather is damp and cold and the trees are bare. It is a time to be with family.  Hopefully this is an enjoyable experience!  (Jonny Carson once quipped “People travel thousands of miles on Thanksgiving to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”) But regardless of your emotional stance on family reunions, it is a good time of year to reflect upon options to better support your health, your community, your environment and your world.

I deliberately placed “your health” first because I believe healing starts from the inside out. Improve your vitality and you will be more available to better the health of your community and your world. You might commit to a simple exercise program. Don’t go crazy! Set a goal with a definitive endpoint and write it down. “I agree to walk briskly for ten minutes a day for one month regardless of the weather” might be one suggestion. Setting these small, achievable goals will give you a sense of accomplishment. One patient was amazed at how good he felt after completing his pledge to do twenty-two pushups for twenty-two consecutive days. You could meditate for ten minutes a day for ten days. These tiny steps can accomplish great things! Begin making healthy changes during the Thanksgiving meal by providing a wholesome dish: I recommend as a resource Jessica Black’s cookbook (there are two versions): The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book.

Support of your local community is important.  Not only is it gratifying to see the effects of your efforts first hand, but exposing your children to direct aid, either hands-on or through donation, is a wonderful way to inculcate into them the importance of service and sacrifice. The Methodist Church in Ashland offers dinners to those in need on Tuesdays at 4 pm; volunteers are needed to prepare and serve food. Pioneer Hall also provides food Fridays at 4 pm. Winter Shelters are always in need of support; The Ashland Community Resource Center (541-631-2235) can inform you of these locations. Access (541-779-6691) in Medford accepts donations year round, Hearts with a Mission (541-646-7385) provides services for at-risk youth, and Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice, a personalized, compassionate end-of-life care facility, accepts donations on their website. Do you prefer to be even more hands-on? Enroll in the “Build a Tiny House Workshop”, which provides basic housing for those in need. Call 541-708-3557 for more information.

And finally, at the international level, there are many wonderful institutions that can benefit from even modest donations. In my line of work, I tend to look for facilities that focus on providing educational or medical aid, but of course there is no need to restrict yourself to this category. Many people whom I respect recommend Amurt, whose mission is to help improve the quality of life for the poor and disadvantaged people of the world, and those affected by calamity and conflict. One word of caution! If you choose a lesser known institution, be sure to invest a small amount of time verifying legitimacy (perhaps a phone call or email); sad though it might be, it is possible for hackers to hijack websites and end up being the recipient of funds.

I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dr. Daniel Smith practices at Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic.  His office is on 2612 Barnett Ave.  He specializes in naturopathic oncology, but still maintains a strong family practice, treating all manner of conditions.  He can be reached at 541-770-5563 or at drdanielnd@gmail.com  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please ask specifically for Dr. Dan.


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