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Hello and welcome

If you're due to retire in the near future, how will you make the most of the freedom, choices and opportunities available to you?

How much thought have you given to the life and lifestyle transitions that retirement will bring?

Are you aware of the potential pitfalls associated with retirement and do you have strategies to overcome them? 

How can you make sure you get the retirement you deserve?

Titchymugshot_2Hello!  My name is Ann Harrison.  I’m passionate about helping people like you to get the happiest, healthiest, most vital, productive, energetic, prosperous and fulfilling retirement you could possibly have, whilst, at the same time, helping you to balance having the kind of retirement you want and deserve to have, with planning to meet your future needs.

I'm a Retirement Optionstrained retirement coach and trainer and a Too Young To Retire facilitator.   I'm also the author of Thought Provokers: Questions You Need to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Retire and The Retirement Detox Programme: 40 days to get your retirement back on track.  You can find out more about me here.  But enough about me.  What about you?

GiftMy free course, The 6 Stages of Retirement, will give you a birds-eye view of the retirement process so you know what to expect. It includes a list of the major pitfalls at every stage of the process and self-coaching questions to help you avoid those pitfalls.  Just click on the image below and you'll be taken to the sign-up page...

  6 stages


To start receiving 'The 6 Stages of Retirement' click on the image above and you'll be taken to the sign-up page...


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Affiliate Disclosure: I make recommendations for books, courses and other products and in many cases the link provided is an affiliate link. This means I may profit when you take action on my recommendations.


At Home Activities to Help You Stay Calm And Centred In Times Of Corona-Related Panic

As COVID-19 makes its way into every facet of our lives, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic.

We've been told to stay in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that brings with it the challenge of keeping ourselves occupied without sending ourselves bonkers by focusing our attention on the media and what's happening in the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the over-hyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then try your best to focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more often and more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps to reduce your stress and anxiety and promote calmness while the virus runs its course.

Here are  three of the best ways that you can stay calm and centred in times of COVID-19-related panic:

Meditation & Mindfulness

If you're feeling anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus and you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is the perfect time to try them out and get some practice under your belt.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health. Here are some of the potential benefits:

  • Stress reduction
  • Anxiety reduction
  • The promotion of emotional health
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Increased attention span
  • Improved sleep patterns

The best part is: there are plenty of different types of meditation so you can experiment until you find one that suits you.  For example, if you’re able to focus for long periods of time, you might want to try out guided meditations or visualization techniques. If you’re looking to stay more active while you’re self-isolating or quarantined, you might find that yoga suits your needs better!

Finding a Creative Outlet

You might be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the likelihood that you're going to go stir crazy. In fact, that’ll probably only increase your feelings of panic during such trying times!

This is a great opportunity to try out some new (or resurrect some old) creative hobbies. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. That means exercising your creativity is also a great way of helping you to relax.

A creative outlet can be almost anything - so long as you're getting pleasure out of it. (If it's just causing you frustration, it's defeating the object!) Here are a few things you might want to try out (if you have the supplies readily available):

Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. 

Giving Back & Helping Others

It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to keep your fears at bay. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety.

With so many people sick, self-isolating or in lockdown, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own.

As long as you’re keeping your distance, not exposing anyone to the virus and not breaking any lockdown requirements, you can deliver food and groceries, chat to them on the phone or do jobs for them such as gardening or carrying out pet care tasks. It’ll make you feel good about yourself while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbours, post something on your Facebook to let those in need know you're available and how to get in contact.

Final Thoughts

You can’t do anything yourself when it comes to curing or stopping the spread of COVID-19, but there are things you can do that can reduce your panic and invoke a sense of calmness.

By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centred, even in these tough times!



More on the theme of 'Doing the Hard Things'

I'm thinking a lot about this theme of 'Doing the Hard Things' at the moment. My reading took me to the following juicy thing to ponder by Reece Robertson: 

When you spend your time in the present consuming anything that doesn’t enable and empower you to reach your future goals and ambitions, life will just start happening to you.

Rather than shaping and creating the future as you desire, things will become increasingly complex, confusing, and hectic. It will feel like you’re a victim of your destiny, rather than the master and creator of it.

Which leads me to the following thought provokers:

How many people in retirement still have goals and ambitions that they're actively working towards?  Do you?  What are they? Are they written down and referred to, often? Are your goals S.M.A.R.T. ones? Are you making solid and sustainable progress towards them?

What are you consuming that doesn't enable and empower you? (Could be the food you eat, the amount of alcohol you drink, the news you watch, television in general, Netflix, social media, the amount of 'stuff' that you own, etc)

In what areas of your life is life 'just happening to you'?

Is life becoming increasingly 'complex, confusing and hectic' for you? How? Why?

And finally... What are you doing about it?



Doing the hard things...

I've been pondering the following Les Brown quote since I discovered it about a week ago:

Les Brown quoteIf you think back, over the course of your life, how often has this been true for you? (For me? A lot! Particularly with regard to finances and exercise!)

And, looking ahead to the rest of your life, are there any hard things you need to start doing now that will make your life easier in the years to come?

Would love to hear what you think in the comments section below...



Do you have a grab bag?

Do you have a grab bag
Friday, 9.30 pm. A ring on my doorbell, a 999 call and a resident from the retirement community that I managed was soon to be on the way to hospital following a particularly nasty fall.

As I stood on the corridor with my resident's husband, waiting whilst the paramedics did their job, my practical side kicked in and I started to think about the things he would need to take with him to get them both through what could be a long night in an A&E department.

Coat, door key to get back into his apartment, change for the coffee machine, details of any medication his wife was taking (and the dosage)... I gently started to question the husband about the whereabouts of some of these items and, because he, understandably, was shocked by the events of the evening, he, like so many other people in the same situation, didn't have the foggiest...

Which brings me to the subject of a grab bag: a bag containing the stuff that you could possibly need if you or your significant other (if you have one) were to be taken to the hospital at short notice. Put together, in advance, in case you ever need it.

What would you need/want to have in such a bag? 

Think about it now, BEFORE you need it and assemble it at your earliest convenience.

Nightdress or PJ's. Dressing gown or cardigan. Slippers. Phone and phone charger. Toiletries. Next of kin details... Get this stuff together now.  It's not tempting fate, it's just sensible and practical. I hope you never need it but, from experience, it makes things a lot easier if/when you do.

If you can think of anything else that deserves a place in a grab bag, please let me know in the comments section below...


20 Journaling Prompts for the New Year

  1. What are 3 goals you completed last year?
  2.  List 3 goals you didn't get around to
  3.  What will be your main focus this year?
  4.  What do you feel has been keeping you from achieving your goals?
  5.  What are your biggest challenges with regard to productivity?
  6.  How could you become more productive?
  7.  Name 5 things you could do to improve your life in 2020
  8.  What's causing you stress right now?
  9.  What are some new stress relief methods you could try this year?
  10.  What made you choose this year's resolutions?
  11.  If you could achieve any one thing this year, what would it be?
  12.  What is something big you achieved last year?
  13.  Write a journal entry as if you have already achieved your 2020 resolutions
  14.  What are the 3 main areas of your life that you want to improve?
  15.  Name 5 people you would like to get back into contact with this year
  16.  How do you feel about tracking your progress towards your goals?
  17.  List 10 new things to add to your bucket list this year
  18.  What is one thing you want to complete in the first quarter of this year?
  19.  Do you have support for your goals?
  20.  Who is someone you admire for the way they're living their life in retirement?


9 Ways to Make New Friends

Join a choir. (There are even choirs for people who can't sing - google 'choirs for people who can't sing' or 'tuneless choirs')

Join a book club. (Try your local library for details of clubs in your area.)

Become a befriender. (Befriending.co.uk for a list of local networks)

Volunteer. (Do-it.org - Volunteering made easy: just type in your postcode and see what comes up)

Join your local U3A. (University of the Third Age

Enjoy cycling? Meet up with other cyclists on the Let's Ride website.

Prefer to keep two feet on the ground?  Check out Walking for Health or The Ramblers.

Join a group: there's something for everyone at Meet Up. (Or start your own...)

Get a dog. (You'll get an instant best friend and you'll meet up with other dog lovers on your daily walks.)