From Mail Online: The over-55s who are in denial about their health: One in five say they are staying away from their GP
From Mail Online: The over-55s who are in denial about their health: One in five say they are staying away from their GP
Sometimes, the more you plan, the worse off you are. Have you ever noticed this in life? You plan and organise and wear yourself out trying to make sure that everything's done and in place - and then something goes wrong to mess up your orchestrations, right at the last minute! And then there are the times where you're as spontaneous as you ever will be and everything just simply falls into place. I think that's called 'Sod's Law'! (Well it is here in the UK, anyhow.)
Sometimes the same can be said for weekend getaways, as opposed to extended holidays or vacations. There are several ways that an extended vacation can go sour when compared to one of those spontaneous weekend getaways.
For starters, planning an extended trip is just that – a lot of planning. Sometimes, by the time you're done, you're experiencing VPB - vacation planning burnout. In addition, there's all the preparation you need to do before going on vacation. Perhaps, you have a pet you need to sort out, a home that needs looking after, a garden that needs watering... and the list continues.
Next, if you're like most people, you like to come home to a clean home - which means you feel compelled to clean your home from top to bottom before going on an extended trip. And then there's the packing. Most of us tend to over-pack, especially if there are grandchildren going on vacation with us. Medications, extra bedding, toys to keep them occupied and extra clothing - just in case - are all waiting to be organised and packed.
Then, of course, if you're going on an extended vacation, there may be paperwork involved - such as a passport or birth certificate or visa. And don't forget the traveller's cheques and currency! Let's face it... extended trips can be wearisome and make you ache for home (sometimes before you even set off!).
On the other hand, a weekend getaway takes a lot less planning and a lot less packing. You could probably get away with throwing a couple of things in a bag and just going with the flow on a weekend vacation.
In addition, the natural tendency on a weekend trip is to enjoy and savour every moment because you know it's a short-lived getaway. You're traveling lighter, have less planning and have a lighter, happier attitude along the way.
Typically, extended holiday destinations often tend to be the ones that are the most visited. You're more likely to find traffic jams, more tourists (as opposed to 'locals'), and larger crowds during longer trips. During weekend getaways, you have so many more opportunities to find destinations that are off the beaten path.
In addition, the cheaper cost of weekend getaways (instead of one long, expensive trip) offers you the opportunity to take more trips and explore a little bit of everything - the mountains, the countryside, the beach - almost like a buffet or smorgasbord of travel.
So next time you're feeling in need of a break, consider a short-lived weekend getaway instead of the usual extended trip. You may just find yourself returning refreshed and rejuvenated, rather than harried and hassled and in need of another vacation!
Whether you have a long trip in mind or just a couple of days rest and relaxation, check out our immediately downloadable collection of checklists to help you plan the perfect getaway. It's called The Trip Planner - you can choose the UK or US version and use it over and over again, no matter how many trips you're planning!
One of the difficulties with post-holiday weight gain is that it happens to come about in the middle of winter. Which is not exactly an inspiring time to get out and move! The weather's often cold and wet, and the mornings and evenings are dark. It's tempting just to hibernate and wait until spring to get in shape.
The trouble is that excess weight may get harder to lose the longer it's on, and you might get used to it. So take advantage of the timing - it may be the middle of winter, but it's a new year, and that's a good time for a healthy weight loss program. Here are some tips for burning off that holiday weight.
Choose Your Exercise
During the winter, you may have to be more deliberate about exercising, but that doesn't make it less important. If you can't get outside for your usual walk or jog, try some of these options instead:
1. Use a rebounder (or mini-trampoline) - the sort that's only about three feet across, to jog in place. It's easy on the joints, and the mini-trampoline can be stored fairly easily. Some of these trampolines come with upper-body workout attachments and timers to track your progress.
2. Take to the stairs! If you live in a one-storey house, this may not be practical, but for those who have access to indoor stairs, you can design a workout around running up and down them. If you don't have stairs, you can use a stepper block to mimic steps and do your workout accordingly. In fact, you can find videos online and in stores to help you design a stair-based workout.
3. Spice up your meals with low-calorie, high-flavour foods. Think salsas and spicy peppers, and condiments like Dijon mustard and horseradish. Use these flavourful condiments as replacements for higher-calorie, higher-fat items like mayonnaise or cheese. Also, spicy foods may mean you'll eat less, and studies have shown that some piquant condiments - mustard in particular - actually boost metabolism.
4. Freeze leftovers - preferably in a deep freezer that's located in the basement or garage. Not many people can resist temptation, but if you put all those holiday chocolates, cakes, pies, casseroles, etc. in the freezer, they might well be out of sight and out of mind. And if you have to make the effort to go down into a basement or out to the garage on a cold day to get them, you may think twice before indulging that craving.
Another perk of freezing your leftovers is that you can dip into them slowly and carefully over the following months, making sure to share with friends and family. Leftovers can also make great 'emergency meals' months down the road, when one fattening meal won't set you back from your main goals. Speaking of goals...
5. Experts say that making lots of little resolutions (instead of one big one) is best for weight loss goals. See if you can put together weekly goals that challenge you, but that still are reachable. You don't want to get discouraged and end up carrying that extra weight when the next holiday season comes around!
If you're wanting to get (and stay) healthier this New Year and would like a little support to help you do it, check out our collection of forms, trackers and checklists - ready to print out and keep in a binder - so that all the information you need with regard to your health and wellbeing is right there at your fingertips. We have checklists covering: exercise, food, mental wellbeing, breast health and many more...
For many retired people who are looking for love, online dating makes sense - with today's busy schedules (even in retirement!) and widely varying lifestyles, finding someone to date 'in real life' (IRL) may not be feasible. The Internet offers the chance to meet people who might not otherwise cross your path - especially when you're no longer out at work every day and, consequently, may not be meeting that many new people.
But the world of online dating can seem intimidating, especially if you're new to it. Here are some tips for getting started with online dating.
It's Okay to Be Proactive
For some, being proactive about finding a partner may seem like a sign of weakness or simply 'not the way they were raised'. But relying on chance is getting less and less effective in an era where people seem to gather in front of their computers in the evenings more than they go out and about. These days, it's okay to be proactive about dating, whether you're male or female.
Choose Your Site
As you begin to look around for the right online dating site, check with your friends who are also looking for love online. They are excellent 'filters' who will tell you what the pros and cons of the various sites are. You can also do a search for reviews of the sites that interest you.
Some sites do more 'filtering' than others, so if you're very cautious, you might want to go with the sites that have many detailed questions as part of their joining process. If you're more relaxed and open, you might prefer a site that leans more towards letting the members sort things out themselves.
As you begin to fill in questions and talk about yourself, dating experts point out that it's good to avoid statements that are too general or cliched (such as "I enjoy spending time with family"). Remember that you are one of many thousands on the site, so make your profile specific and unique. Instead of the bit about spending time with family, mention how you love to spend time with your crazy niece (or whoever) and how that makes you feel.
Many people agonize over this one, and it's understandable; that's the first thing people see when they look at your profile or are matched with you. But your picture should, above all, be something that is typical of you. It's not a great idea to get dressed up in an outfit that has nothing to do with your personality type or interests, for example.
You can get away with a decent self-portrait, or have friends and/or family take your picture. It's also a good idea to have more than one picture on your profile, and to have a variety of pictures (some just your face, others full length, etc.). Above all, make sure the pictures are current - there's nothing more disappointing than meeting someone and realising that the photo they posted was 10 (or 20!) years out of date!
Even if you've heard of someone who met the love of his/her life within 24 hours of joining a dating website, such stories are the exception, not the rule. Experts point out that it can take many weeks to find someone you'd want to get to know better and you may need to take a break and re-join later. Just like IRL dating, you have to sift few quite a few potential matches before you find the right one!
Whether you are the grandparent of an out-of-town grandchild or one who lives in the same town or even neighbourhood, it can sometimes be challenging to forge a bond with them. If you feel at a loss when it comes to connecting with your grandkids, here's a list of ten bonding ideas and tips you can try:
1. Find some activities you can share
Are you a grandpa who likes to work on engines or build things out of wood? Maybe you can do a project with your grandson or granddaughter which involves making or building something together. You'll be building memories at the same time! Or maybe a shared interest in photography or sport will get you the two of you out and about together?
2. Beauty treatments
Grandmothers and granddaughters can make a day of it by going to get their hair or nails done, or getting a makeover at a makeup counter. Some grandmothers may be great hair-stylists, and can style their granddaughter's hair. You can build some wonderful, fond memories this way.
3. Cook together
Some of the fondest memories kids have of their grandparents involve cooking. Maybe it's a favorite cookie or dessert recipe, or a special afternoon spent learning how to barbecue. Whatever it is, making and sharing food and passing down family recipes are great ways to bond.
Long-distance grandparents can form a bond with grandkids by texting them, now and then. Texting can involve pictures and videos, too, if you have the right phones. Grandkids can take a picture of the woods they're walking in, the coffee shop they're sitting in, or have Mum or Dad film the play they're in - then send the pictures and videos with a text. (Just don't worry too much about the 'text speak' and missing capital letters that are part and parcel of texting!)
5. Video chat
Skype and Google Talk are great ways to stay in touch with out-of-town grandkids. Try to schedule some time to 'get together' for a video chat once a week (or whatever works with your schedule - just try to schedule it into a regular time-slot, so your 'get together' doesn't get put off or overlooked).
Seasonal crafts or just fun 'make-it-yourself' type crafts can be great fun for grandkids. Cigar box (or tissue box) guitars, pinhole cameras, paper snowflakes, sewing, knitting, etc. are all fun crafts grandparents can share with their grandkids.
Growing food, repotting plants, planting flowers and seeds... gardening is a wonderful way to share a skill and hobby that's generations old. Then you can share what you've grown with each other (and other people too).
The old-fashioned art of letter-writing can be revived and cultivated whether your grandkids live out-of-town or not. Letters also make wonderful keepsakes for the future, too - to be read again, years down the road, and have all the memories come flooding back.
Games can be played long-distance or right at home. Video chat and even the telephone are great ways to include grandchildren in a night of board games, card games, or even sports. Parents can take a mobile or cell phone to the grandkids' soccer game and shoot videos and take pictures, then text them. Or just have Grandpa and Grandma on the phone during the game.
10. Volunteer together
Grandparents can take the grandkids to the local RSPCA or humane society and volunteer to walk the dogs. Or maybe volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food bank would be more appropriate. Teaching your grandkids about the importance of community is a life-long lesson and a wonderful bonding idea.
The holiday season can be a stressful time - running here and there, visiting friends and relatives, receiving visitors in your own home, and trying to make sure that no one in the family feels overlooked.
The irony here is that the holidays are supposed to be a time to reconnect with family and loved ones. Which is why we do so much visiting and hosting in the first place! But when it gets hectic, sometimes you don't really get a chance to connect at all - especially with your spouse or partner...
With that in mind, here are four tips for staying connected with your significant other this holiday season.
1. Make Your Own Holiday
There's no hard and fast rule that says you have to open gifts on the 25th of December, or that you HAVE to have holiday celebrations right on the date of that holiday. So, why don't you and your significant other plan a time together when there are no parties or events looming?
Look at your calendar and plan a date-night together, either before or after the holidays - sometimes after is the best. (You won't find many parties being thrown on the day after New Year's Day, for example!) So choose a downtime-date to spend some time together, catch up with each other and make some plans for the coming year. Give yourselves something to look forward to in order to combat the post-holiday slump.
2. Keep Out-of-Town Visits Short... and Stay in a Hotel
Many couples visit in-laws or parents during the holidays, and if those family members live out of town, travel and visiting time can be real strains on your time together with your spouse or partner. You can ease the burden and spend more time with your partner if you stay in a hotel instead of staying with family. Yes, it's an added expense; but it really helps to be able to get away in the evenings and prepare to see your family the next day rather than having them right in your space 24/7.
Also, try to keep out-of-town visits short, no more than 2 or 3 days, to avoid everyone getting tense and your relationship with your spouse coming under strain.
3. Build on Memories
How did you and your partner spend your first holiday season together? Is there a possibility that you can go back to that same place for a special time, even if it's just for a few hours? Building on memories can be a great way for couples to re-ignite their relationship and stay in touch during the holidays.
4. Don't Let Guilt Get to You
Some couples get the guilt trip from their families about how and with whom they choose to spend the holidays. One of the big keys to staying connected with your significant other at this time of year is to be firm with your holiday plans.
If one or both of you have retired, you might need to make changes in the way you approach the holiday period - money may be tighter or you may just not be up to full-on partying for days on end. Long-distance travel can be tiring and tiresome.
If you really would prefer to spend Christmas or New Year in your own home this year, don't feel guilty. Break the news gently to family members who'll be affected by your decision. Explain the reasons behind your choice (if you want to) but be firm. Do what you can to keep everyone happy but don't forget to hold your own needs - and those of your significant other - in mind as you make your plans and preparations.
The period between Christmas and the New Year is the perfect time to sit down with your partner and the Retirement Life Inventory - 50 thought-provoking, once-a-year questions to ask yourself about your retirement. And the R.L.I. is available on Kindle right now for just £1.91 or $3.12.
If you’re like most grandparents of more than one child, you probably get tired of hearing, “He touched me” or “She’s on my side of the car”, when the little darlings come to stay with you for any length of time. You may also get weary of the bickering and name-calling that are so prevalent with siblings.
Even though these ideas are not the only ones grandparents have come up with, the following five strategies for helping siblings get along may be just what you need to get a little peace and quiet in your home.
1. Establish house rules about acceptable behaviour and be prepared to follow through with agreed-upon discipline if they break the rules. When your grandchildren know what's expected of them and that you will dole out discipline when necessary, they may be more willing to stick to the house rules.
2. When the bickering starts, separate the children so you have a chance to talk with each one on their own. Ask them to slowly explain, without calling names or blaming the other child, what caused the disagreement. Acknowledge their feelings and try to understand what is underneath them.
Explain to your grandchildren that, even though you understand their feelings, the way they handled the situation isn’t acceptable. Are they jealous because their younger sibling gets to do something they weren’t able to do at their age? Are they angry because their older sibling took something away from them? Suggest that they think about what was said and done, how things could have been handled differently and how they can make amends.
Once you've determined the underlying cause, and the children have had a chance to think about things, you can help your grandchildren make peace and get along better - at least until the next time.
3. Try to focus on each child’s strengths rather than on their weaknesses. Try giving your grandchildren tasks that play to their strengths and allow them to show their accomplishments. Give them a reason to feel good about themselves without having to compare themselves with the other children in the family. Celebrate their uniqueness and ask them to cooperate rather than compete.
4. Obviously you know that each child is an individual but sometimes it's important to verbalize it. While you may enjoy Amy’s singing voice, you also appreciate Todd’s willingness to help cook. Be sure you let them know that you love each of your grandchildren as much as the other and that you don’t have favourites; however, because each child is different you may appreciate different things about them. It may also be helpful to explain why you decided to let one child do something while the other one is told they may not.
5. Encourage them when you see them doing something nice for their sibling or when you catch them playing nicely together. Sometimes hearing “It was very good of you to let your brother play the game instead of continuing to play yourself” or “Thank you for reading to your sister while I was cooking dinner when you wanted to watch television instead.”
These five strategies for helping siblings get along are by no means exhaustive. You may find some strategies work better for your family than others. Remember to use what works and scrap the things that don’t. When your grandchildren understand that you're serious about their behaviour and their getting along, it may be easier for them to follow the house rules and finally get along with their siblings. Well, at least until you can hand them back to their parents!