Victoria Health Co-op

By Vanessa Hammond

For most Canadians the months of December, January and February mean not only fewer daylight hours, but also bitter cold that discourages outdoor activities, especially for frail, elderly or others who feel reluctant to be outdoors in the cold, the wind, on slippery sidewalks.

But in Victoria, winter is benign. Yes, there are more hours of darkness. Yes, it rains. Yes, it is not as sunny as in the summer. But we can still go outside every day, take a walk, and not feel that we are about to freeze to death. 

How do we enjoy every day of winter? 

Enjoy the rain. Walking in the rain can be thoroughly enjoyable. We can delight in the rich aroma of the earth being nourished, plants given the moisture they need. We can know that every farmer, whether on many acres or two pots of plants on a window-ledge, can contribute to the food security of the island. We can enjoy knowing that the reservoirs and rivers are being replenished. We can remember how fortunate we are that the water from our taps is, in almost every home, safe to drink. Some of us may become worried about the commercial sale of water. Here in Victoria we can find like-minded people with whom to discuss issues of environment and social responsibility. 

Enjoy the wind. As the energy of the wind crosses the island we are not inundated by smells of the world that seem to be daily more covered by exhaust fumes. We benefit from air freshly cleaned by crossing thousands of kilometers of the Pacific Ocean, then the beautiful mountains and forests of the South Island. The wind brings down the old leaves, and we have been reminded that leaving them on the ground lets them rot and feed the new growth hidden under the surface. 

Enjoy the dark. Too often we stay awake watching a news program about a situation we cannot ease, at least not late at night. Let’s use the long nights to re-energize so that the mornings and days can be productive and satisfying. And when it is really dark, enjoy a night sky that is much clearer, much more star-filled than in many cities.

Enjoy friends, family, neighbours and the person in the store or coffee shop, on the street or in the church to whom you have never spoken. Perhaps your smile can brighten a day, or hearing a new voice can give you a wise insight. Perhaps you will accidentally meet just the right person to give you a new interest.

Maybe you are asking what does all this have to do with a Health Co-op? The World Health Organization told us half a century ago, and is still telling us, that the sources of our health are, in order of importance: social connections, clean water, nutritious food, safe housing, with medical services lower on the list. In the Victoria Health Co-op we work to encourage all of these. Our services to members provides wellness treatments. Our community outreach enables us to participate in, and take to our community, programs such as the Hans Kai™ small group wellness program. Our Co-op Health Centre provides medical services for over 5,000 people in Victoria. For us, being part of the Victoria Health Co-op and its community service is a delight. Yes, it takes work, but it is rewarding. It is yet another aspect of enjoying life in this lovely city.

Join us! Join as a member-owner for a life-time payment of $50. Join as a participant in one of our programs. Join us at our Annual General Meeting on February 25 – location to be announced.

From all at the Victoria Health Co-op, we hope that you enjoy a wonderful 2016 – 2017 winter.