I have been feeling great joy in offering this campaign again to all of us. Now that spring has finally arrived and we are allowing ourselves more freedom to mix and mingle again, I believe that having a positive attitude is one of the most important steps to finding peace and fulfillment.
When I remind myself of these five steps to making happy a habit, I gain personal strength and the resilience to deal with ‘stuff’ that life sends my way. That half-full glass allows me to be more creative and to realize that if I’m blocked in one direction, there are many ways to reach my personal goals. For example, this is a blog I wrote when in lockdown from Covid.
I believe that having a positive attitude is one of the most important steps to finding peace and fulfillment.
Now is a good time to take a few minutes to look over those journal entries and notice what you wrote for the ‘best thing that happened in the last 24 hours.’ Those are events that I hope you can make happen again. In fact, next time you may even put them on the ‘grateful’ list.
I’m pretty sure that exercise has become part of your daily routine, and I’ll even bet that your thoughts offered a brief ‘thank you’ after you took the 5-7 minutes a day to give them a rest. And that daily random act of kindness? It probably has become more of a reflex than something you have to think about.
I hope you have made happy a habit. Please share with me any stories about the challenge that you have, and please remember the words of Wayne Dyer: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Here is a little quiz to remind you of our time together. Try it - I’ll bet you’ll know the answers!
(HINT) the answers are in the 5 steps to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT.
Wishing you happily ever after,
Welcome to my new podcast,
Since we are now at home more, these numbers are probably higher. In fact, young or old, here or there, retired, working, or simply trying to figure things out, one of the most important basic human needs is CONNECTION, and today more and more of us are relying on technology.
“the human need to connect is as important as the need for food and shelter.”
I know some people have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know, too, that when you are zooming (verb) you can sometimes feel ‘lost in the crowd.’ But if planned properly, there is a way to host an on-line meeting that can be a lot of fun.
Let me introduce you to Zoom (adjective) BREAKOUT ROOMS:
I recently attended a conference via Zoom (noun). There were more than 75 people in attendance, and I said my ‘hellos’ to the little rectangles that kept popping up on the screen. Of course, since all of us were muted by the host, I sat at my computer sounding something like this:
The meeting officially opened. After we heard the introductions and the agenda, we listened to the invited speaker. Then, just as I was searching for when the first pause in the program would be, the host said, “Ok, now we are going to go to BREAKOUT ROOMS.”
The real secret to keeping safe from Zoomitis (yes, even a new word!) is Breakout Rooms. Here’s how it works: The ‘host’ of your Zoom meeting has the control button titled “Breakout Rooms” along the bottom of the screen. Once pressed, this offers the chance to create new, smaller rooms in which to connect, based on the number of people per room requested and the duration of time spent there. In my case, we were often broken into no more than four per room, usually for 8-10 minutes, depending on the assignment.
The real secret to keeping safe from
Zoomitis is Breakout Rooms.
You, the participant, don’t have to do anything except wait. You will be automatically transferred (‘Beam me down, Scotty!’) to the room where you have been assigned. When these rooms are used to enhance a discussion, it is a way for the host of the meeting to give participants a chance to share their thoughts as well as hear what others felt about what was just experienced.
It can also be used as an idea exchange for the next step in a project. Sometimes I’ve used breakout rooms for Newcomers to our city. In this case, there was not really an assignment – more of a ‘meet and greet’ with starter questions like “Where are you from?” and “What do you miss most about where you last lived?” It’s so nice to be greeted by just four larger rectangles. Each person gets two minutes to talk, and usually the discussion takes off from there.
You need connection. Technology is here to stay
and how you use it is up to you.
The point is that you can spend your time online in a large gathering and feel like you’ve watched TV for an hour, or you can come away knowing you really accomplished something, met new friends, and /or felt like you made your ideas and needs heard.
You need connection. Technology is here to stay, and how you use it – or grumble about its challenges – is up to you. So, to help my image of being ‘an Influencer,’ and to make you look really smart and tech-savvy, here are 4 tips for your trip around Zoom:
4 Tips for your Trip Around Zoom
- Join Zoom (noun) www.zoom.us. There is no charge to join.
- Learn how to schedule a Zoom meeting. (Follow the posted instructions) Remember there is no charge for conducting meetings under 40 minutes.
- Explore how to Zoom into breakout rooms. Remember that the purpose is to allow a lot of people to get to know each other/work together in smaller groups. And the extra plus is that you will really look smart and geeky.
- Understand that you may stumble but keep trying. Realize that any use of technology – including Zoom - takes patience, but it is worth it. The rewards are great, and you will really impress your friends, your kids – and especially your grandkids.
to include Breakout Rooms.
May the Force Be With You!
IS GOOD PRACTICE
“Huh?” you say. “If this is retirement, don’t sign me up.” Or maybe you’re thinking there is no way this shelter-in-place has anything to do with retirement. Let's take a look:
It’s been over two months that we have been unable to go out to our usual places – work/gym/movies/parties/travel, etc. At first it seemed like it would be short-term, and we could handle it just fine. We can either work from home, catch up on our sleep, or simply relax. After all, there's online shopping, and we can have our groceries delivered.
“Retirement will let me do what I want to do when I want to do it.
Now I can hardly go out - I wake up every morning wondering
'What am I going to do today?'"
but I can tell you,
my bank statement looks good.!”
But what about the rest? This pandemic is putting those same questions to you right now. Are you physically fit? How do you handle change? Who is your social network? What brings you fulfillment and peace? Well, the good news is that with ‘shelter-in-place’ you have been practicing! Take a look:
I say: It’s so important to find the time and get into the habit of doing some form of exercise. Some people may find it hard to stick to a routine or think a walk with your dog in the morning is enough. Many people talk about how when they retire they are going to travel. Well, just remember traveling comes with physical and mental demands, like delays, uncomfortable seating or a crowded environment.
Taking care of your health and body will help you do what you want to
do and embrace those 20-30 years that are yours to enjoy when you do
decide to retire.
Covid-19 says: Ok… So you got restless sitting around. You figured out that taking walks and joining those online exercise classes
help you feel physically fit while I’m around? Good for you. Guess I’ll
find somebody else who spends most of the day thinking exercise is getting up to check out what’s in the refrigerator. Speaking of the fridge, are those pants you always put on getting tighter... ?
I say: “Things turn out best for those people who make the best
of how things turn out” is a mantra to live by. Having a positive mental outlook helps make you more resilient and able to better handle the changes that come your way. Sometimes, those plans you made just aren't going to work out. On the other hand, with a positive outlook you may start a new business or envision a whole new career.
According to a 2019 report by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the greatest share of older Americans in more than 50 years are working well into their 60s, and it's not because they need the money. Whatever you choose to do, work now on becoming more optimistic and you’ll be better able to handle stress.
Covid-19 says: Ha! I’m keeping you on your toes – is the curve up or leveling? Should you go out or stay in? Since everyone is home now, what’s for lunch? (Depressed yet?) I have to admit that somehow you really are pretty resilient. You’re using this time to clean out closets, plant that garden, and enjoy family time! Did I hear conversations about being grateful? About having confidence that the scientists will eventually come up with a vaccine? It kinda takes the fun out of my search and destroy.
I say: "One of life’s basic human needs is connection." When thinking about retiring, how will you stay connected? If most of your friends and acquaintances have been people you work with, be aware that you will not be joining them for lunch every day. If you move somewhere near your kids and grandkids, remember kids grow up and are busy with their friends and activities. Take a good look at yourself. Think about who you are now and what you enjoy doing. Broaden your social network, and have a discussion with your partner about his/her vision of life in retirement.
Covid-19 says: Well, for those of you who have the ‘go-go’s’ just get
used to being at home. ‘Make new friends but keep the old,’ and all
that? Well, maybe. But just because you are getting out a bit, don’t plan too many big dinners and parties yet. I’m still here. Although…, there does seem to be a lot of new neighborhood friendships happening.
I noticed that before I arrived you never took the time to get to know your neighbors. Looks a lot different now. By the way, what’s the deal with Zoom? I thought it was just for business meetings! Lots of you guys got really creative and figured out how to work from home with meetings, talk and play with the grandkids, and even form book clubs where you can meet new people. Impressive. But just remember, it’s true I don’t like the heat - but there’s always winter!
I say: "When I talk about spirituality, I am talking about who you are as a
person – your basic core beliefs and values." Goals and priorities change as you get older. No longer do you strive for the promotion or the bigger house and fancier car. Instead, ask yourself, how important is feeling fulfilled? Spending time with family and friends? Being creative and motivated? Shifting easily into retirement requires taking inventory of yourself.
Covid-19 says: Well, well, look at that. You people have been so quick to reach out to each other. Even being kind enough to share your toilet paper? Amazing! After the restaurants closed, some of the owners kept people on by cooking meals for doctors, nurses and others at the hospitals. Impressive. I even hear that the donation centers are overloaded with bags and boxes of things that you finally realized you didn't need any more. (And you are not even waiting for the tax receipt!) All this “We are in this together,” stuff was a real surprise. But, whatever. I’m still here - until you figure out how to get rid of me!
Keep practicing! Get physical; find creative ways to spend your time, and continue to offer random acts of kindness to your friends and neighbors. And feel good knowing that you are paving the path to retirement!
I certainly found it in a recent article on retirement in Forbes Magazine. The author, Joseph Coughlin, a well-known researcher, teacher, and head of the MIT Age Lab, talked about “The New Math of Retirement Togetherness.”
It went something like this: There are 164 hours in a week. During that time, approximately 8 hours a day are spent sleeping, leaving 112 waking hours in a week for each of us. [No, this is not an SAT Math question.]
Now, if a typical workday is, say, 9 hours, that makes it minus 45 hours a week away from your partner. This brings it to 67 hours of together time. Then he continues his calculation by allowing an hour a day for travel (subtracting 5 for the workdays) and brought the discussion to 62 hours of ‘togetherness’ in a week.
But that’s not quite the end of the math. Professor Coughlin then went on to compare this number to the number of hours couples spend together in RETIREMENT. This means that the original 45 hours a week of work that were subtracted are now added back. Oh, and so are the 5 allowed for travel. So, let’s see, that’s now 45 + 5 = 50 divided by 5 = an extra 10 waking hours a day for a retired couple to spend together!
These are situations that you and your significant other must consider as retirement comes closer. Sure, visions of the perfect dream vacations and spontaneous trips to see the grandkids come to mind. Golf, beach, gardening and bike rides bring smiles. But how often will you do those things?
Just think about how smart and happy you will feel in retirement when you and your partner have already worked on these challenges! Perhaps you explored the opportunities for starting a new business or offering consulting in an area you know well. You’ll feel glad you made new friends in that Saturday morning photography class you signed up for two years ago and have been enjoying ever since.
The Bureau of Statistics notes that a male at 65 has, on the average, another 20 years to live and enjoy life. A female has around 22 years. Here’s one more math note: that is another 1/3 of your life
Help yourself enjoy your retirement by planning before you get there. Help your relationship with your partner by talking about and understanding each person’s wants and needs. Then,
Good Luck! Loretta
‘A’ squared plus ‘B’ squared = ‘C’ squared!
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.