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Here we go...again!

September rolls in and time for a bit of introspection to see where we are, what we are at and what we would like to achieve. Setting goals is an important aspect for good mental health as it encourages us to pick out a number of areas that we can improve on in our lives.

I am looking at the amount of stuff around my house and promising myself that I will get a start on clearing it out. I do not want to just dump it. Fashions change and antique furniture is now not much sought after. Neither is silver or crystal glasses. And yet, I enjoy using the furniture, silver and wine definitely tastes better out of a good glass.

if anyone is looking for a job, there are plenty available. The educational sector is very short staffed as are the hospitals, but having retired, most of us want to dial down and while a job would be nice, we do not want to work full time , with all the stresses and time wasting in commutes etc. Both the schools and hospitals could both offer more flexible hours. 2-3 mornings a week might be perfect. But that does not suit them.

The care sector is also looking for people. We of course would prefer something with no lifting. There are positions for drivers, which many have found to be highly enjoyable. Offices are becoming more flexible with some WFH mixed with one or two days on site. The government is aware of these shortages and included a helpful leaflet into my pension, telling me about the teacher shortage and suggesting I should think about it, promising that my pension will not be affected. Same thing goes for renting out a room. Up to 14,000 euro is fine without incurring the interest of the Revenue. I know some people who have done it and it is working out swimmingly. One woman had to change students, as her otherwise delightful student, consistently had long, noisy telephone calls to all her friends/colleagues at home and abroad. Drove her nits. so she had to change.

Then again, checking our own lifestyle is also a good idea.. While we do not want to become obsessed, we do want to look our best. One friend of mine was delighted to learn that the medication he is on for diabetes has been discovered to have side effects......They are anti-ageing, plump out the skin and give an all over fresher look! If anyone has any other information in a similar vein, please share.

We are in an over-weight epidemic. 60-70% of people in all age categories are seriously over-weight. While this is of course, very worrying, among the young, it is also something we need to watch. Losing weight quickly is not a good idea, as it puts a strain on the body and one of the first places, one loses weight is the face. but being over-weight stops us exercising, and puts strain on the body as it has to haul all these kilos around. , the difficulty seems to be the amount of processed, pre-pared food we consume. So, being retired, one of the nicest things you can do for yourself is to cook, every day, from scratch. Just chop and cook, throw in a few seasonings and you will develop your own favourites in no time.

There is also a free, feel good hack that combines a lot and can be done in 5 minutes from your own front or back door, depending on the orientation of your house. When you wake, go outside, face the sun, (DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT), take in a breath, hold for a count to 7 and slowly release. Breathe in again, thinking of something that has been bothering you, ask for a solution as you hold your breath, and release. Breathe in again, think of your surroundings, the rain, the fresh air, the smells, the breeze and release and breathe out. Last breath, breathe in, and think of 3 things for which you are grateful, send blessings to your neighbours, family, birds, insects etc and release.

This does not cost anything except time and you have plenty of that. But it does incorporate deep breathing, release of tension, fresh oxygen to the lungs and brain, mindfulness, meditation and helps you to notice the little things in life that are pleasant. It also gives you a chance to get some healthy vitamin D. Enjoy..

Stress of course is one of the biggest causes of signs of ageing and illness. Ageing occurs whether we like it or not. The world is always turning; the clock going forward. Already it is 6:30 before the sun rises and it is getting darker earlier, with the sun setting at 8:30. Medicine has not been able to explain why so many young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. Why are these parts more susceptible?

One of the best ways to control stress is by keeping things in proportion, having a plan to deal with things as they occur and of course, not losing your sense of humour. Be careful about internet usage, whether on the phone or computer. It is a good idea to just put the phone down, turn the computer off. The algorithms are more sophisticated than we are. This week I was asked to give 100 euro to a very worthhwhile initiative, and was all set, went into the site, had to sign up,, which I had not wanted to do, find a password and next thing, the site informs me that my password is not acceptable because I have been using it on other sites...and then proceeds to name the sites! I had not given them permission to gather any information on me. If they had just allowed me to pay by PayPal, all would have been well. So, I declined the option to be a patron.

Mindset is an essential part of staying healthy in old age. By the way, age is a reality. We cannot and should not try to stop it. what we can do is age well.

One way of doing this is to develop our spiritual side. This does not involve being part of an organised religion. Instead, it means acknowledging that we have a spiritual side, that leading a good, caring life is important and that there may very well be more out there. Prayer is a wonderful stress reliever. Hand over your problems, annoyances, happy times, blessings. Be aware of the multitude of blessings all around us. Namaste.


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