a balanced life

Have Fun at Home

Douglas Iris seen on my hike this week

If you are practicing social distancing, life needn’t be boring.  Scottie Andrew at CNN has lots of ideas….and I’m adding a few of my own.  By now you’ve heard the basics of the new normal:

  • Avoid going to places where 25 or more people may gather
  • Go places where you can maintain at least six feet of distance from other people
  • Keep in mind your personal risk: If you’re 60 years old and up or have a compromised immune system, you should stay home as much as possible

So, what can you do?  Try this:

Make art. This is one of my favorite activities.  I like to put on music and pull out watercolors or pastels.  Or, perhaps, you prefer pottery. 

Read a lot.  Even though some libraries are closed, download e-books and audiobooks.  Discuss the books via webinar or Skype with your friends or your book club.  My book club is using Zoom. 

Listen to music.  Make music.  Go on-line or pull out those old CDs and records.

Take a virtual museum tour. Use your smartphone for an online tour of the  Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum or visit  Google Arts & Culture for a virtual walk-throughs for dozens of international museums.

Be in nature. Hike. Get out of the house and keep 6 feet of distance from other people.

Start birdwatching or identifying plants.  Find out what birds and plants reside near you.  Download bird and plant maps and identification cards.  I just spotted the Douglas Iris you see above.

Do yoga at home.  Keep your immune system strong.

Make that recipe. This is a great time to make chicken stock or your favorite soup. 

Find new recipes. Read your cookbooks or look up all those recipes you’ve downloaded on your computer and never prepared.

Video chat. Why not use Facetime or Skype?

Meditate. I like Headspace.com.  There are lots of wonderful meditation apps.  And, in times like this, meditation is helpful.

Bring out the board games and huge puzzles.  Get competitive or treat yourself to quiet time with a challenging puzzle.

Get handy. If something needs fixing around the house, get to work.

And watch my free upcoming webinar.  On April 15, I’ll be discussing how to reinvent yourself after 50 at an online event hosted by FairyGodBoss.com. To register for this free event, click here:https://fairygodboss.com/events/HyOVnubVL/how-to-reinvent-yourself-after/?utm_source=partner&utm_medium=multiple&utm_campaign=lynnryder

Social Media Quandary

Which Ones? I need your help.

When it comes to social media, I’m a neophyte…and so are many of my friends.  I’ve put my toe in the water by building a website and writing a monthly blog. (The blog is two years old this month.) 

Yes, I do have three Facebook sites – one is personal and two are for my workshops.  I used Twitter until I was hacked and found myself with a million followers who didn’t speak English.  I haven’t tried Instagram or Pinterest yet.  Should I?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Which social media services do you use? 

A Favorable Website Connection

Thanks to my website, I’ve made an exciting connection with the County of Arlington, Virginia.  This county, which has four Park and Rec centers for people over 55, brings in a speaker annually for all members.  This year I’m honored to present the Reinvent Yourself after Fifty workshop to this audience.  I’ll be providing a workbook and follow-up materials in addition to giving a 3-hour interactive presentation. 

I Can Bring “Reinvent Yourself after Fifty” to You

I’m delighted to be returning to the D.C. area.  Travel is a passion of mine, and I’d love to visit you – wherever you are. Please let me know if you and your friends would like a presentation for your group. 

Connecting from Home

On the other hand, I’m also happy to present the program from inside my home….and in April I’ll do just that.  www.FairyGodBoss.com has invited me to speak on a live webinar on April 15 at 10 AM Pacific Time.  To register go to: https://fairygodboss.com/ (You will need to sign-up with Fairy God Boss to attend. It’s free.) Even though my primary audience is over 50, FairyGodBoss informed me that men and women of all ages are making career transitions and will benefit from learning how to reinvent themselves.

Help with Life Transitions at All Ages

I’m aware that most of the reinvention steps are applicable to many life transitions – changing careers, getting married, becoming a parent, reentering the workforce, divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of good health, retiring from a career etc.  We start by assessing our current situation, revisiting our values, getting clues to our passions by looking at people we admire, remembering the times we were happiest in each decade of our lives, learning how to get unstuck, creating a vision and plan for the future, adjusting our attitude, and living a healthy life.  Sounds simple, but there are layers and layers to sort through.  It’s well worth the effort since the result is a balanced and fulfilling future. And that’s what I wish for you.

My Philosophy and Why I’m Grateful

My Philosophy

Lately friends have been asking me about my philosophy.  They want to know if I have a dogma, or if I’m guided by a self-help guru. The answer is I’m a pragmatist.  Over the years, through trial and error, I’ve found a path that works for me.  It includes having a balanced life, getting unstuck, pursuing fun leisure activities, keeping healthy, fulfilling my life purpose, sticking to my personal guiding principles, and achieving goals.

Gratitude

In my workshops and coaching, I share this “path” with others.  And that feels great.  So, as Thanksgiving approaches, I want to talk about how grateful I am to have this opportunity to teach and be a coach.  It truly is fulfilling to help people who are feeling uncertain about what next steps to take, and then see them leave at peace, knowing how they want life to look and what they need to do to achieve it.

This work, plus so much more, makes me feel that my life is balanced and full.  I am thankful for good health which allows me to enjoy hiking, skiing, cycling, sailing, dance, and yoga.  I’m thankful for the amazing friends I’ve made while pursuing these activities.  I’m grateful that as a Marin Master Gardener, I can volunteer for the Dig It, Grow It, Eat It program that teaches children about gardening and nutritious foods.  I’m thankful that I’m able to travel; this year I went to the East Coast and Canada, while next year I’ll visit New Zealand.  And I’m grateful for my small family.

Gratitude Journal

I want to wish you a fulfilling Thanksgiving Holiday.  If you have time, write down some of the things you are grateful for.  Did you know that a 2012 study found that grateful people have fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people?  Spend 10 minutes jotting down a few grateful thoughts before bed, and you may sleep better.

You Can Do It!

These photos say it all.  Hiking in the Canadian Rockies and Purcell Mountains in British Columbia is awe-inspiring.  I came home feeling joyful and grateful, but tired.  It’s hard to top spending a week with dear friends from my hiking club surrounded by spectacular scenery.  We hiked, drove, cooked and stayed together in a big barn.  The encouragement and support of the group made it possible to hike 10 to 12 miles a day on steep switchbacks climbing up over 2500 feet.

One of my friends fell and broke her arm.  Undeterred – with her arm in a cast – she made it to the summit of every trail we took.  Very inspiring.  And by the way, our group has hikers in their 50s, 60s and mid-70s.

 

If you can, get outdoors into the beauty of nature.  Your soul will respond to seeing wildflowers, waterfalls, meadows and forests.  Take a walk under trees or near water.  You’ll clear your mind and feel fabulous.

Top 10 Tips for People Over 50

Following are some of the topics we discuss in the Reinvent Yourself after 50 workshops.  See how many of these tips you can incorporate into your life.  Let me know which ones are helping you feel greater joy and fulfillment.

Learn

Explore subjects that interest you and see where it leads.  Read, use Google, take workshops, attend lectures.

Have a Supportive Community

We all need community.  Studies show you’ll live longer and feel better if you have a good social life.  Meet people who lift you up and spend time with them.  I’ve found that Meetup.com is a good way to meet who enjoy the activities that you enjoy.

Live a Balanced Life

You will be happier if you find the right balance of work (paid or volunteer), relationships, leisure, creativity, learning, and spiritual pursuits.  What do you need more of?  What do you need less of in life?

Relax

Leisure is a vital part of living a balanced life.  Take time to relax and recharge.  Your brain requires this.

Enjoy Nature

Get outside as often as possible.  The sun, greenery and water are all nurturing.  My yellow, green and blue logo symbolizes these essential elements of nature.

Be Healthy – stay active and eat well

Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good.  You’ll feel better and be healthier if you keep moving and eat healthy foods (and never smoke).

Be Grateful

Each day write down a few of the things you’re grateful for.  When you see the good in the world, you feel happier.  It’s that simple.

Keep a Bucket List

Pay attention to your ideas about things you’d like to do.  (Sometimes feeling jealous of others is an indication of something we need or want to do.)  People who write down and follow-up on their bucket lists are more likely to fulfill their dreams.  Create a life you’ll love.

Travel

New places and cultures (even if they are close to home) introduce us to new ideas and perspectives.  Travel beyond your usual stomping ground to feel inspired and energized.

Feel Passion and Purpose

Find time for activities that make a difference to others.  This work will add meaning and purpose to your own life.

Predictors of How Long You’ll Live

My friend Harry was laid off from his job at the age of 64. He took some time to think about his future….and then took some more time. His savings were slim, so he said he would look for another job. I’m not sure if he looked. I do know that he spent a lot of time on his computer, going to movies by himself, and watching TV. Mostly he was alone. Then he got sick. Then his cognitive thinking declined. He was depressed and isolated. He is one of the reasons I created the “Reinvent Yourself after 50” workshop. I want to help people feel fulfilled, joyful, and passionate, whether they are working or not.

For many people the most difficult aspect of leaving the workforce is losing daily interaction with work colleagues and the people you meet when you’re at work – the coffee barista, the bus driver, the cashier at the deli. In the workshop we discuss the many benefits of social integration and how to ensure we don’t lose it. This video demonstrates why our relationships are paramount to our longevity and to having fulfilling lives.

What does it take to live for 100 years? These are the surprising predictors of a long, healthy life.

Susan Pinker at TED2017 – The secret to living longer may be your social life