We chat to Sydney’s yoga and nutrition guru, Nikki Blair, and get her top tips for maximizing health and wellbeing in retirement.
1. Be in the ‘Now’
How many times have you caught yourself daydreaming about the past or future whilst a beautiful sunset passes you by? Or worse, you weren’t even aware of a beautiful sunrise because you were so lost in your thoughts?
Well, you’re not alone. Many of us are too busy to appreciate the minutiae of life and are feeling stressed, depressed and unwell as a result.
Much research has shown that living in the ‘now’, and engaging in ‘mindfulness’, can release us from many stresses and anxieties. The key to being in the now is simply practicing being fully present in whatever you are doing, whether it be walking the dog or chopping the vegetables.
Try it and observe; every time you catch your mind wandering simply bring your awareness back to what you’re doing over and over again!
2. Find some form of physical exercise that feels good
Ever heard of the phrase ‘find something you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life?’ Well, it’s the same with exercise! Finding the right activity makes staying active easy.
If you don’t like doing anything too strenuous, yoga and tai chi are excellent exercise options that don’t break a sweat yet are said to activate all of the body’s ‘energy channels’. They are also an excellent way of practicing being in the ‘now’ and help to relax the mind and spirit.
For those who prefer something a bit more rigorous, walking is also excellent for overall health and can be a good alternative to using the car. Tennis and golf are also fantastic and are great social games – just make sure you balance out and swing with the non-dominant hand from time to time!
3. Eat fresh
Try to eat a fresh, nutritious and varied diet with as many fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and grains as possible.
Although the odd treat is generally ok, it’s best to avoid ‘non-foods’ which are otherwise known as the refined, pre-packaged, genetically altered options which are high in bad fats, salt and sugar. Organic produce is the healthiest choice and is usually more rich in flavour too!
4. Be with loved ones
Human beings are social creatures and we need to connect with others and ideally be surrounded by our loved ones.
Much research has shown that laughter is a great stress-reliever and that having someone to share our experiences with is the best way to combat loneliness, which is closely linked to depression.
If spending time with friends and family is not an option for you, why not consider getting a pet or volunteering to mind others’ pets or grandchildren? Alternatively, it can be just as helpful to pick up the phone and call someone if they are not geographically close by. Making the effort to connect with others is the first step and the more effort you put in, the more fulfilled you will feel.
5. Get involved in your local community
For some people retirement can be a time of great adjustment where one grieves the meaning, purpose and stimulation that they once obtained from their career.
However, just because you stop working doesn’t mean you no longer have a need to feel useful and part of a larger community!
If you’re feeling at a loose end, there are lots of things you can do: some people embrace their new stage of life as an opportunity to take up a new hobby, some people decide to volunteer within their local community and some people join social clubs and groups, study at university or use their time to plan travel and go on new adventures.
Whatever activities decide to take up, keeping busy will provide you with a sense of purpose and the opportunity to meet like-minded friends.
Nikki Blair is a qualified yoga instructor and nutritionist who visits Belrose Country Club weekly and works with retirees to reach their health goals. For further information please contact Nikki on 0458 255 737.