Maybe you already practice self-care. You do everything you know is good for your health. And that’s good. Do you wonder “How can I have more pleasure in my life?”
But if you are like many over 20, women out there, with a career, a main relationship, kids too, you don’t really make much time for pleasure and fun in your life. Things to do just because they feel good and give you a feeling of enjoyment. No time you say. Too much to do. Pleasures are often related to the senses, touch, smell, taste.
Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca
Maybe, just maybe, even your sex life is, well, not very exciting. Your main relationship may also show signs of wear and tear. You and your Significant Other pass by and are dutiful, but gone are the days of giggling and fun.
I practice tai chi and I love it. This was not always the case. When I first enrolled in a tai chi class, maybe 25 years ago – the exact time is vague – I left just about each class with a headache and I did not know why. Tai chi at that time litterally stressed me out, or more accurately, I was stressed out, too stressed out to relax and I did not know it.
Now that I am generally a lot more relaxed and in sync with myself, tai chi is totally wonderful. I wish I had had more insight then. It would have helped me understand where I needed to make changes in the rest of my life.
So how did I go for a stressed-out working full time and studying single parent to where I am now? Yes the kids did grow up and are now building families of their own, but other things happened to help me to relax. No I did not learn to meditate – in fact I tried it and it too left me impatient, which is about as far from relaxed as one can be.
What actually helped me relax is the fun I put into my life, specifically in the form of ballroom dancing. About 16 years ago I started taking ballroom dance classes. And to help me improve, I also started attending the weekly dances at the studio. This was so incredibly liberating from all the stress I had in my life and a huge counterbalance to my work as a psychotherapist in addictions. To get the most benefits of dancing I had to leave my perfectionist self at home and be in beginner’s mind to avoid comparing my humble progress to that of more advanced dancers.
How did ballroom dancing work on my stress? Music for one is a great de-stressor. There is a saying in French that says “la musique adoucit les moeurs” or “music soothes the soul”.
Then learning to move and do certain steps, in order, occupies all of the mind. When the mind is occupied on a specific task, it cannot roam and worry.
Third, the atmosphere in a dance studio is fun and light. There is a lot of laughter and laughter is the best destressor there is. I still do take classes and they still have the same beneficial effect.
I understand that not everybody wants to learn to dance. For some it may be equal to torture. What would you like to do that would both be physically active and engage your mind too? One thing I am sure of is that if you try meditation or tai chi or even yoga and it makes you want to pull your hair out, you really need to find a way to relax on a regular basis, ideally a few times a week.
Yoga or tai chi are two other physical activities that like ballroom, also require concentration and coordination. In another category there is tennis, or other ball sports – racketball or team sports. Some swear by knitting – and if you choose knitting, do add a physical activity to your life, be it ballroom or jogging or swimming. That part is essential to evacuate the stress.
Whatever you choose, choose something that appeals to you and give it at least 3 months. This is just enough time to develop some skills and decide if you want to continue or find another activity. And yes, even if it is challenging, it should also be fun. If you are not having fun, choose something else.
Let me know what you decide to try to de-stress. If you find this post useful, please share it with your friends.
We usually hear about retirement planning from the Financial industry. In fact we normally only hear about retirement from the Financial industry.
When we do hear about preparing for retirement, it is all about urging us to save and top our retirement savings fund, and that’s great. However, great but not enough. There is very little education around the other aspects of retirement except maybe if you have an employer who offers seminars around the non-money side of retirement. Most of us end up in retirement not really prepared to know how to make the best of the 45- 50 or so extra hours every week. Unfortunately many end up bored, isolated and even depressed at a time where life could be so much fun.
Here are some of the best steps I took to prepare for retirement.
A private retirement savings fund
You need a retirement savings fund. I wish I had taken that step way earlier, but when I divorced in my mid-thirties, I remembered my mother’s advice to save money and her working until she was past 70 I no longer had a husband to depend on financially in retirement and I quickly started a retirement fund which is so treasured today. I also wish I had put more money in it but I now have enough to not worry about money. I don’t (can’t) live an extravagant lifestyle but I am quite comfortable.