The pandemic has thrown the world into disarray. While the wider world has been especially impacted — lockdowns, travel restrictions, and so on — our personal lives have also required a refocus. For many people, particularly the over 50s, the pandemic has made us think very differently. Has the pandemic changed your priorities? Perhaps the following might resonate with you?
In times of crisis, our priorities change. It is a natural reaction to challenging periods like this, an opportunity to readjust how we approach our lives.
Here, we look at a few ways our priorities might have changed since the pandemic, with a few tips on how you can make the most of this unusual opportunity that COVID presents us, albeit we could have done without this specific bolt to shake us up!
Have you thought more about keeping healthy?
One of the key priorities that might have changed since the pandemic is your approach to your health.
As we get older, it is easy to let our fitness slide. Between childcare responsibilities (grandchildren can be a handful at the best of times!) and our working lives, and our body’s naturally slowing down, exercise can easily get sidelined.
But the pandemic has thrown the role of fitness for over fifties into sharp focus. Data suggests that individuals in poor physical health, as well as those in older age groups, are more likely to suffer from COVID the worst.
As such, it is essential that we prioritise our physical health during these tumultuous times. There are lots of options available for this, even with gyms closed. A gentle jog or a leisurely cycle is a good place to start, and as you get used to it, simply increase the intensity of your workout at a pace that suits you.
There are also options for simple home workouts that almost anyone can do without the need for special equipment.
And what about eating habits? Are you consoling yourself with comfort food: cakes, biscuits, that extra glass of wine, take-aways…? Or have you realised the importance of what you eat and maybe focusing more on a healthy Mediterranean style diet?
Did you know that certain foods also help relieve anxiety?
More people than ever are also taking vitamins to help support their immune systems. Is that something you are doing, too? The NHS suggests we should all take vitamin D supplements during autumn and winter. If you are in a high-risk category from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable, you can even get an NHS vitamin D prescription.
Vitamin C is also recommended by many as a way of fighting COVID. And if you are vegan, most nutritionists suggest you supplement with vitamin B12.
Our mental health is equally important, and we all need to give ourselves a little extra self-care. If you are struggling with mental health issues, either on an ongoing basis or specifically because of the pandemic, there may be support available locally via various support groups and/or your local MIND charity. Unsurprisingly, some of these organisations are very stretched at the moment and therefore another option you may like to consider in Minds Anonymous, Sharing your own story, albeit anonymously, is often a cathartic experience; similarly, you may not feel so isolated and ‘different’ when you have read other people’s stories.
Are you making time for pure enjoyment in your life?
While coronavirus has forced us to reconsider a number of serious realities about our lives, it’s not all doom and gloom. For many, the pandemic was a chance to recalibrate our inner selves, to discover what we really found enjoyable in life — and to pursue it.
With months spent in lockdown, many of us on furlough or without a gruelling commute to deal with, have spent our time discovering (or, indeed, rediscovering) our passions.
Gardening was one of the most popular activities during the earlier stages of the pandemic when the weather was more amenable, often with a specific focus on wildlife and/or growing-your-own. But painting, playing an instrument, reading, even a simple jigsaw puzzle — these hobbies and activities make our lives that bit more enjoyable, and yet they often get side-lined to make time for work, housework, and other humdrum chores.
But in such difficult times, finding joy in life is as much an important and valuable task as the aforementioned. So why not make time for your passions in 2021?
It is never too late to learn a new skill, whether it’s playing the guitar or learning to cook. There are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube, and the Open University has lots of free courses for you to sample too. And in lockdown, there’s plenty of time to experiment with trial and error, so you can discover your new passion at your own pace.
Have you considered a career jump to a job you love?
We have all heard the idea that if you “work a job you love, you will never work a day in your life”, and the pandemic has meant many older workers have shifted their attitudes accordingly.
Perhaps your time on furlough has given you a chance to consider whether you really love your job. Or maybe working from home for so long made you realise your office job isn’t for you anymore, and you want to try something a little more hands-on.
The average person will spend around 82,068 hours of their lives working, and with your golden years approaching, now is a good time to consider what you really want to spend the rest of your life doing.
It is perfectly possible too — plenty of older workers make the jump to different careers. Many employers actively seek out older candidates, finding their years of experience and established work ethic make them ideal employees.
Equally, it is never too late to start your own business. The prospect might seem a little daunting at first, but maybe you have a profession or a passion that you could turn into a business? Perhaps you think launching a company is purely the domain of young people but, according to the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship, the over 50s are twice as likely to be successful start-ups as the under 25s. Think about it. Get excited!
Have you thought more about your own mortality?
It might be uncomfortable to talk about it, but we all pass away eventually. It’s a fact of life, and the threat of the pandemic has only emphasised this. Most people in their 50s are now very conscious of their own mortality.
While we might be reluctant to face up to it, it is essential that we make plans to ensure our loved ones are protected should the worst happen. As such, now is the time to find a good life insurance plan that safeguards your family’s future.
Look to invest in a solid, reliable over 50 life insurance plan. The Post Office is a strong choice, with a range of flexible options designed to suit any budget. And, as a recognised British institution, you can also enjoy that added layer of comfort and security that comes with it.
The discussion around life insurance can be an uncomfortable one. But a difficult conversation now will save you and your loved one’s considerable strain and stress in the future, and the earlier you start, the more money your family will receive.
Even in times of crisis, there are opportunities to find something good. Now is the time to adjust your priorities to find what really matters in life, so you can emerge from the pandemic to a future that is built around what is truly important to you.
We would love to know how your priorities have changed during the pandemic.
Header photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash
Vegetable photo by Sigmund on Unsplash