Honesty without kindness, humor, and goodheartedness can be just mean. ~ C. Chordon

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “shit happens”? Yep, I cursed. Move on. You know why I used that quote? Because really and truly, awful stuff will happen. It is not that you’re a bad person but whether we like it or not there will be an event, a diagnosis, a thing that will turn our worlds upside down.

Someone you love will be diagnosed with acute onset dementia; literally overnight go from functioning to not able to be left alone. The stock market crashes (and it will drop again because that’s the way it goes) and the money you thought you had is gone. The weather will drop a tree on your house. No, I’m not wishing bad things for you. I’m basically looking at the news.

So what’s my point? Just as I’ve urged you get prepared for retirement at whatever stage you’re at now, I’m going to urge you to put into place practices which will protect you for the awful times. And to say as clearly as I can; I want you to start doing them now. As in today if you’ve not already done so.

What are practices? These are pretty standard issue coaching (and for this therapist) suggestions. None of them will work instantaneously and all require that you start now. Sort of like packing a ‘go bag’ during hurricane season or before the baby arrives.

Meditate. You’ve heard me talk about this before. Lowers the blood pressure, helps the brain stay balanced, improves the quality of ones appreciation. Don’t like the term ‘meditate’? OK, would you prefer ‘prayerful practice’? ‘Mindfulness’ work better for you? Yoga more your thing? Great. Just pick one and do it. There are great apps there for help with this one if you’d like, just look up ‘meditation’ or ‘prayer’ in the App Store of your choice.

Exercise. Also good for all the same things meditation is good for and it has the benefit of having you move. Moving is good. Also good apps and help out there for this.

Journal keeping. Gratitude lists. Whatever you prefer to use to take a moment out and reflect on your day. Paper and pen are my preferred ‘apps’ for this.

Make art. This from the Huffington Post on July 10, 2014, “New cognitive research out of Germany suggests that “the production of visual art improves effective interaction” between parts of the brain. The study, conducted on a small population of newly retired individuals (28 people between the ages of 62 and 70), concludes that making art could delay or even negate age-related decline of certain brain functions.” Might be a small group of test subjects but it surely can’t hurt you to try if you don’t already.

After the world gets turned upside down it will eventually find a new balance, a new level. You can help it along by starting some regular practices now. What calls to you to start?

Wishing you the best for your week!

~ Lisa