How are things with you? I’ll have more to say about how England is coping with a reduction in Lockdown Version 2.0 and a consequent move to a ‘tiered’ approach to the pandemic at the end of the month. For now, in the middle of November with the days rather grey and damp, my mood is low. Actually I feel a bit weary, and gosh, I could really do with a holiday.
So to counter this feeling of winter despondency I’ve done two things: Firstly, I’ve booked not one but two staycation holidays in the UK, one in June and one in September, yay! And second, I bought a book!
As you know I’m a great fan of Annabel Streets and Susan Saunders of the Age Well Project blog and their book. Saunders has just published another on the same theme. It is The Age Well Plan. The 6-week Programme to Kickstart a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life. And have I started the 6-week Programme? Have I heck! And to be absolutely honest I probably won’t, but it’s got a lot of very good information within it including some great recipes, so I’m going to pick out some bits to encourage you, and myself, to live well and happily, which is the main aim, and a good one.
The book is structured around the 6-week programme, which includes: How to Plan, How to Eat, How to Move, How to Sleep, How to Be, How to Live and I’ll now extract some of the points made in each of those chapters.
How to Plan
This is a fascinating chapter with a lot in it around the cellular ageing process. There are also boxes to tick and questionnaires to answer, such as why do you want to age well, plus an interesting task to fill in an ancestral health portrait. Do you know what illnesses your great-grandparents suffered from? I know my grandparents’ illnesses, but I’ll have to do some research to go back that far. And while there’s a couple of pages of what not to do, as in what is ageing you, I loved the emphasis on the positive including the description of Blue Zoners, those who live in areas of the world with the highest concentration of centenarians and SuperAgers, the ones who are still working into the their 80s and 90s and are extremely agile both physically and mentally. Plenty to think about here.
How to Eat
Saunders mantra, is eat well, age well, and there are some great recipes here. It’s what you would expect, eat Mediterranean; be good to your gut; olive oil; less salt; fast overnight for as long as possible, eat loads of vegetables especially the brightly coloured ones; fat is your friend while sugar….. And so on. There are no surprises, but I do like to have the knowledge I have re-inforced. What do you think about the tip to eat until 80% full? Yes, that’s about stopping eating before you think you’ve had enough. That’s a tricky one. Eating mindfully and slowly helps, apparently. And there are a week’s worth of recipes at the back of the book.
How to Move
Moving, oh yes, that’s something I do believe in wholeheartedly. My nutritionist who is a trained doctor, once said to me, don’t ever get confined to your bed for any illness. Yes, those poor Covid patients who have been in ITU for weeks apparently have to be taught how to walk again, and I can relate to that, when I stumble out of bed in the morning and walk stiffly to the bathroom! And through the pandemic I have definitely been sitting more than usual. But have I counted the hours? No I have not. Yes, there are some key questions to answer in this chapter and much to think about. And a lot of good advice including: move every single hour of the day; be active around your home; walk+++; get breathless (I now walk briskly up three flights of stairs to get to my flat and that, people, is a huge improvement in my health from the beginning of the year); take a yoga or Pilates class or stretch at home; and build your muscle. This is so essential as we age, I’m telling you, do get some supervised instruction and take up weights. I usually don’t like telling people what to do, I mean feel free, but in this instance, we need muscle to stay standing up and it can also cure that dreaded upper arm flab. You know it’s a win-win. But I did say supervised.
How to Sleep
Oh gosh, how to sleep. I could do with any advice what with my very poor sleep patterns, although recently my sleep has improved through listening to a mindful meditation immediately before I go to sleep, with the light off, and then, and I think this is key to my improvement, not putting the light on in the bathroom and cleaning my teeth, I do that beforehand, and if I need the bathroom I do not turn the light on. And as our bathroom is internal it is very, very dark, but I manage. Again there are no surprises in the questions asked and advice given, all of it is good. I guess I’ve worked through my bad sleeping pattern and come out the other side – phew, and thank goodness for that.
How to Be
What does Saunders mean, how to be? I think this is about being positive and believing that yes, you really are as old as you feel. There are lots of questions to assess how you feel about ageing and lots of advice about challenging yourself through: doing something new; managing stress; being sociable and contacting one friend a day – I definitely do that through texts, emails and WhatsApps; practicing empathy; meditating; challenging your brain; being grateful; planning a party and laughing. Oh yes! I have a friend who sends me funnies through WhatsApp, and another via emails, and I send them on. You have to have at least one belly laugh a day.
How to Live
This is an interesting one, as although it has the same feel of the last chapter, this has far more of an emphasis on the world we live in. It is about ageing in the world around us with all that this might mean, including an emphasis on looking closely at your future and how you interact with your world. There is also much about pollution in the home and outside in this chapter. In fact although Saunders doesn’t say so, it’s a reality check about where you live, how you live and what you might do about this as you age. It’s altogether quite thought-provoking.
I think the most important thing is to not stress too much about the current situation (not easy) but let’s be so very thankful as we can now look forward to hugging family, and friends, and being with people, as in loads of people on trains and buses, in cinemas and theatres and museums and art galleries, and so many things. All of this possible now, with the news of 3 vaccines coming in 2021 – huge cheers and hurrah!!!
In the meantime, here’s that coat I bought just before Lockdown Version 2.0 with my black jeans.
First, it’s my old back skinny jeans with a very old cashmere charity shop top. And now with an extra yellow (my favourite colour) top for warmth.
And the coat.
And finally the coat plus a warm hand-knitted beanie bought in Norway on my last cruise in August 2019.
Note the scarf picks up the orange in that bright orange hat – I also have orange gloves!
And that’s all for now. Take care
With love, Penny the Frugalfashionshopper