6 steps to make you feel better and improve your mental health when you are busy

The pace of life is so fast.  There is little respite, you probably feel that you are just about hanging on there, and there is very little time to just ‘be’.  Return from a holiday, and within no time you struggle to see the point of all the rushing before you go, and the immense game of catch up afterwards.

What is the impact of being busy on our health?

All of this frantic behaviour has a huge impact on health  – both physical and mental, and whilst these impacts may not be apparent at first glance, over time, it will be evident for all to see.  Just like weight gain or loss, day to day we do not notice, but catch up with someone you haven’t seen for a few months, and the impact is soon plain to see.

Six simple ways to help your mental health

  1. Make Your Bed – this aids mental health – as you start the day with a productive pattern of behaviour (and after all, its only plumping a couple of pillows and shaking a duvet)
  2. Revel In The Good Times– it’s easy to let them pass by as you sink into worry and made up outcomes of life.  Take the time to enjoy the good times, and the things you have made up are not actually that huge in reality
  3. Say No Sometimes– Establishing your limits is essential, remaining in control of your time and life enables you to manage commitments, never forgetting that your own happiness and family life are probably the two greatest commitments of all
  4. Try Keeping A Diary– writing the positive things, to remind you how good life can be is a huge boost, as is the power of writing down the negative things – which allows them to be released, and actually, on reflection, when you read them back, are not so significant after all
  5. Make Lists In Threes– if you must keep a list, keep it manageable (I prefer to schedule everything to be done rather than having a list).  3 is manageable every day, not too daunting, and not too insignificant.
  6. Set A Sleep Schedule– Aiming for a structured sleep, with a good level (7-8 hrs) not only regulates the body, but also allows body and brain time to recover.

Six simple ways to gradually reduce your stress, so if you are a little reticent to stress management, you can make these changes safely, without feeling awkward about many other techniques which may just be a step too far.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

Why do people post about their running on social media ?

Here is a free gift – 3 minutes of your time – We simply don’t know the answer to the question of ‘why people post sporting activity on Facebook’.  So now you can stop reading and carry on with your day.

I suspect however, that you are interested, so do carry on.

How do you feel when you read posts on social media?

So, its first thing in the morning, and you read on Facebook that someone has just been out for a run. How do you feel? What do you think? What thoughts do you harbour towards them?

This parody may seem humorous, yet would it be an acceptable approach if someone morbidly overweight was trying to lose weight and stay on track by posting updates on FB? How about someone recovering from a physical or mental illness and posting updates to not only keep their social group involved, but also, to be accountable?

What’s it like trying to start? It’s no joke

At a funeral of a friend (aged 43) recently, someone came up to me who I hadn’t seen for about 10 years, and said ‘my wife showed me a post on Facebook years ago when you said you were going for a run – we thought it was a huge joke’. 6 years later, 6 inches less around the waistline and almost 50 pounds lighter, he could see that there was no joking – but rather a huge change, mocking had turned to admiration and praise for me.

What about these constant updates?

For me, from going from a sedentary couch potato, to someone who exercises at 4:30am is an ongoing journey, not a flick of a switch, no set goals or targets, just a sustained change of behaviour.  Yes, I could have switched the Facebook and Twitter updates off, but we have a saying in Life Planning – ‘to be a life planner, you need to live your own life plan.’

Walk the walk and talk the talk

How hypocritical would I be if I was coaching and working with my clients to improve their health if I led an unhealthy lifestyle? How much credibility would I lose if, when working with people to create more time, space and help prioritise their days, my day was lazy, lethargic, and detrimental to progress?

If you saw a dentist with bad teeth, what would you think? It is the same in all walks of life.  Doctors who smoke! – surely that is one of the biggest levels of hypocrisy there is!

We are not health freaks at Serenity, but we do all take care of ourselves (and support each other), with a firm view on moving forward in our own life-plans.

Is social media about bragging rights or looking for support?

People post their activity on Facebook etc. for reasons best known to them – the truth is, you really do not know why they do it (you may think you know, but actually, you don’t truly know all about their journey to this point in life). For some, it may be for irritation, bragging and boasting (which may originate from insecurity – so go easy on them), however, for many it is for reassurance, support, energy, the will to keep going, accountability.  For others, it may be to offer a glimpse of inspiration to give others the belief that they too can make a huge change in their lives.

A runner never laughs at a fat or slow runner, you do not know how far they have come, or how far they have to go – but they are out there, working at it, one step at a time.

Don’t shift your own guilt by mocking others. The reality probably is, that you are simply angry and frustrated with yourself.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

Back to school – but do you know what your child actually does?

Do you know what your child does each day at school?

It is so easy to pack children off to school, taking it all for granted.  On the walk home, if you are lucky, you may find out what they had for lunch, maybe even the latest playground drama, but frequently very little (especially when the fancy dress reminder happens the next morning with 10 minutes notice).

How tough is school for children?

So, what do they actually get up to?  What is it they do?  Once we understand this, maybe we can then be a little more forgiving when the classroom angel turns into a frenzied tornado once they get home.  

Away from the confines and expectations of the classroom and need to conform, home is the safe haven, the place where they can feel at ease – even if that is somewhat different from how we perceive the ideal behaviour.

This article from the Huffington Post is a real eye opener as to what are children actually do each day – it’s impressive to say the very least !

So what do children do at school each day ? 

Choose any and all from this list – a creator, a thought leader, a mathematician, an author, a reader, an orator, a proof-reader, a scientist, a navigator, a sportsman, an artist, a negotiator – the list goes on! It’s even tougher if your child has challenges with their reading such as dyslexia – those children have to so much harder all day.

You can see what perhaps the angelic behaviour doesn’t exactly hold out until bed time.

What about you?

Turning to yourself, after a day of pressing the pause button between listening to co-workers apparent stupidity and responding in a far more professional manner, back at home, where it is unusual to be sacked, fired, or put on a warning, it is far easier to let fly with less than productive words.

Maybe both us and our children want the same thing after a day of controlling emotions – a snack, a snuggle, a story and an early bedtime.

 

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life.

 

Is my ideal retirement possible?

Is there a chance my retirement may be different?

Many people find that their view and experience of their retirement may be very different from what they expect. Reality can be a pretty harsh awakener (especially if it’s your own retirement).

How do I get a picture of my income in retirement?

In the financial part of the equation, you can of course model, plan and adjust assumptions and figures as you head towards the big day and the rest of your life.  Of course it takes a high degree of  knowledge and skill to get the figures absolutely correct, and with the aid of technology, it is easier to get pretty close, even building in re-runs of the 2008 credit crunch (remember that?).

What if things don’t turn out like I thought?

Even if you have the financial plan in place, it may be that the other side of retirement – LIFE – can all of a sudden, not unfold quite as you had imagined.

What do I want from retirement?

Will your retirement be all holidays and lunches at garden centres? Will it be just looking forward to watching your favourite TV show with an eccles cake and a cup of tea at 3.30pm ?  Or, could it be full of purpose, full of fun, a brand new start?

What do I want to achieve when I finish work?

Frequently people who had such high expectations for their retirement, find that a year or two in, they have managed to find themselves in a rut of mundaneness (they may even be fulfilling their spouses retirement and not even thinking about their own). They may even look back and wish that they had stayed working and be paid to be bored, rather than sacrifice an income and lack little social interaction.

Should I start to plan my life and money?

People just like you are quickly realising that they need to plan their retirement just as they plan their future.  That planning is not just about scheduling in a month-long break to Malta each October, but figuring out how each day and week may look for you.  What will you do to happily fill the time, and regain your purpose and passions which may well have been put on hold for 50 years (whilst ‘grown up life’ for in the way).

Is there more to retirement than just money?

Finding your happy retirement is not just going to be attached to a number – a certain amount of income, especially if all those years lack fun, freedom and a real purpose. You will probably find that the things which bring you the most joy, may not even cost much at all, you just need to find them and not be trapped in a retirement bucket.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

What’s the difference between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?

What is Financial Life Planning?

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Serenity Financial Life Planner will be more than aware of our passion for not just financial planning, but financial life planning.

That small four letter word ‘life’ may not seem that significant but it epitomises the whole point of us being here. The whole purpose of being on the planet is about life, and without that key element, perhaps there is no point, no purpose, and no logic.

Where did Financial Life Planning come from?

In the attached article, George Kinder, the founding father of Financial Life Planning explains the huge difference between financial planning and financial life planning.

In short, one deals with people’s money, the other focusses on their lives and happiness first, then sets to work around the money part. In a way, I guess it is comparing living to living life.

Isn’t finance all about policies?

To quote one of our very great friends Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, ‘no adviser ever got a letter from a pension policy asking for help’.

What should my adviser really be doing?

Emotion drives decisions, and decisions drive life, this is when we finally figure out that people’s emotions drive everything. To understand emotions, and ultimately our clients’ drivers through their lives, we need to listen to them, not project our opinions on how clever we think we are.

Why is financial life planning different?

Ultimately, it’s all about having a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients through their lives, not a synthetic relationship with their money for as long as it lasts. Without that deep relationship, we are just continually guessing at what may be best for our clients, guesses which may have a long term detrimental effect on their happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

Why just goals or objective based planning is selling the client short

Pure goals and objective based planning is far better than the greedy pursuit of ‘more’ which has been the bedrock of financial advice for many a year.  Look at it, once we have more, we want some more of that more – it is a never satisfying cycle. Continue reading “Why just goals or objective based planning is selling the client short”

How the Tax System Works – in Beer

A bit of tax fun (not words which usually go that well together)

I came across this tax analogy from Toby Morris.

It takes the example of a group of people going out for a beer, and distributing the bill according to their means in life – so far so good, some obviously pay more than others, and some pay nothing at all as they are unable to. Continue reading “How the Tax System Works – in Beer”