Tag: Life skills

My Dad – life at 90!

My Dad

I’ve always admired my Dad, his steady love of his family, his hard and unrelenting work and his stoical attitude. My Dad was a dairy farmer on a small tenanted farm, he loved his work, this life and community I believe.  I have learnt such a lot from my Dad, I’m sure his approach to life has really shaped who I am today.

My Dad
Dad in his 40s

This week my Dad reaches his 90th Birthday! He lives alone, my Mum died 9 years ago having had Alzheimer’s through which he steadfastly cared for her, often shielding my sisters and I from what this dreadful disease was doing to their life.  He is in good health, cooks a meal everyday from scratch and is still an inspiration to us all.

My Dad
Dad at 80 🙂

Dad’s garden

My Dad has a great garden, he even dug up a lawn to extend his vegetable plot! He grows lots of fruit and veg.: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, cabbage, chard, purple sprouting broccoli, runner beans, french beans, courgettes/marrow, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes (in his greenhouse), gooseberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb! This may not be an exhaustive list!

Dad then busies himself freezing or preserving (jam’s, chutney’s, pickles) his fresh produce, thus being self sufficient in this and having gifts for others.

In the last year he has asked us to help dig the garden at the start and end of the season, but he pretty much does everything else himself. He also has some beautiful fuchsia’s, that he and my Mum collected and cultivated. Along with some fabulous Bishop red dahlias.

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

Recently my sister defrosted Dad’s chest freezer, its contents along with the aforesaid fruit and veg was meat (he buys half a lamb from a local farmer) and game birds (a neighbour beats at shoots and brings Dad game birds…in full feather). The only supermarket products were oven chips and ice cream.

Dad’s social life

When the weather is clement he’ll go for a daily walk and I often find his social life is better than mine! One week in the autumn he was out for coffee on three mornings, lunch with friends one day, a wedding anniversary party (60 years, Dad had been Best Man) and then I was cooking a family Sunday lunch. Pretty good eh? Dad cooks a full Sunday lunch for my younger sister and her husband most weeks!

Celebrating 90 year of age!

So this weekend we celebrate Dad’s 90th Birthday with over 50 family and friends. Please raise your glass and toast my Dad this weekend!

My Dad
Dad as a youngster!

Who inspires you?

Read my tips on having a healthy later life here, it’s not too late!

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

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Do you plan to have a healthy later life?

I am not a medical expert, this post is my thoughts and beliefs on a happy, healthy later life, and not expert opinion or advice. I have included links to professional bodies which may help you.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” Carl Bard

How are you approaching old age?

I believe it is important and indeed our responsibility to look after our bodies and stay healthy.  I appreciate that for some genetics may play a part in your health and mobility, you can still affect your health outcomes to some extent. Our mental health will impact our physical health and I appreciate this can be a huge hurdle for some. The MIND website has some great information and support for mental health problems.

It is not too late if you are in midlife or even old age, don’t accept illness or dis-ease, choose a fit, happy and healthy later life. The choice is yours. I believe your mind plays an enormous part here.  It is important to learn to love yourself (read my blog on self esteem), be proud and you’ll find this makes it easier to look after yourself.

Functional Fitness for a healthy later life

Healthy later life – Start today!

However old you are – THINK “It doesn’t matter about yesterday” – whether you ate a pack of doughnuts or sat around all day – everyday is a new day and a time to make a change or do something differently. Take a walk, consider what you are eating, and take 5 minutes to contemplate the day/year or anything really.

Choose a good balance in your diet, lifestyle and activity and your body will reward you with less illness and dis-ease. The NHS Choices website may help.

The Menopause

Women will experience hormonal changes during the menopause which can sometimes have very debilitating effects and a knock on to your overall health and self esteem. I believe it is important to recognise the signs and take expert advice to help reduce any associated risks such as heart disease or osteoporosis  – this post has lots of good ideas for a healthy later life. Take a look at this great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk.

 

My Dad is 90 next month

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

His garden is full of fruit and veg that make their way either to his table, his freezer or a jam or chutney. His freezer also boasts cuts of meat and game; he buys half a lamb from the butcher and is gifted pheasants. The only quick or “ready” food in the freezer  is oven chips and ice cream. He cooks his meals from scratch and bakes cakes or tarts regularly. As well as tending his garden he will try to take a daily walk, weather and knee permitting. He is certainly an inspiration or is that an aspiration!

Food for thought

I hope this post has given you something to think about, perhaps even inspired to choose to start to make a new ending. I hope so.

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

How is your self esteem? Please accept yourself!

Whilst pondering today’s post which was going to be an account of “My October”  – mostly the usual round of work, coffee catch ups, walking and more change – and probably not terribly exciting reading! I was struck by an emerging theme; how motivating myself and being comfortable in my own skin has enabled me to have the life I have. This has not always been easy, it is not an easy lesson to learn and for some people it comes naturally.

The importance of putting some effort in to reap ongoing, long term rewards and friendships can be daunting and full of anxiety – Do they want to be my friend? Have they got time for me? Have they got more than enough friends? Will it work? Am I doing the right thing? It’s too risky! I’m scared! You know what….. you have to have confidence in yourself, your abilities, your life and your experiences. #youareenough #selfesteem

I don’t know if it’s a confidence thing or laziness but I can be the queen of procrastination. I can put off tasks and suddenly find days have turned into weeks and weeks into months. Does this happen to you?

This can have an adverse impact on your self esteem. When you find you’ve not been anywhere or done anything, it can be debilitating and will feed your lack of self worth. You have to take some responsibility, take some action, fight your demons and be positive. So much of how our lives pan out is dealing with those demons and finding the mindset to accept ourselves for who we are.

I have found an inner strength to love myself and love my life. I’m not saying my life is perfect but it is mine and I am happy. I don’t have a lot of friends but I do make sure I see them regularly. I make the contact (eventually) to make an arrangement and I do the things I want to do, it is in my control. My self esteem is good.

I see a lot of chat and support on this on social media: it’s not all people showing off their fabulous lives! There are a lot of youngsters sharing their vulnerabilities and helping others to open up and accept themselves, value themselves and be deserving of happiness. Take a look at the fabulous Sophie Gray on Instagram . This sort of thing wasn’t available to me as I was growing up, if you’re struggling with these sort of issues please make use of the wealth of help and support available to you.

SELF ESTEEM                                  SELF ESTEEM

This blog is my personal thoughts on self esteem and not expert opinion or advice. For help on self esteem please visit MIND – How to improve your self esteem..

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

You may like to check out my blog on loneliness , or the Offa’s Dyke Path last stage walk I did in October.

And one of big October challenges taking My Massage business mobile!

Twitter @jenafitlife

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Loneliness; Am I alone or a loner?

This blog is my personal thoughts on loneliness and not expert opinion or advice. For help on Mental Health issues please visit MIND.

Some days when there is nothing in the diary: no massaging or other work or social events.  I like to keep it that way and challenge myself to be busy, happy, entertained and to spend no money! The latter I list because I know other people who would “go shopping” either online or to the local outlets to fill the gap. Personally this is a short lived pleasure followed by buyer’s remorse; also I don’t have the money to make regular shopping a joy!

Usually I choose to go nowhere and speak to no one. Well I may ring my Dad or have a chat with my daughters but I don’t have a phone book full of friends with whom I regularly chat to. I do like to engage on social media and may What’s App a couple of people……….oh the modern world!

So what do I do?

  • Write blogs
  • Exercise (I workout with a great online gym)
  • Try to reach my audience on social media
  • Read
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Listen to Radio 5
  • Yoga
  • Shower
  • Walk the dog …. I do talk to him (Benefits of walking here)
  • Try to be productive to make progress with my blog and extend my audience
  • I may plan and scheme; there is so much to learn about blogging and the ways to use social media to extend your reach. You can get lost in the rabbit warren that is the world wide web for hours, days…..
Low cost health -walk
10 minutes brisk walking daily – low cost health!

Happy in my own skin

I am not unhappy with this situation or my circumstances, quite the opposite although that’s not to say I don’t have down days.

I think this is because I am happy in my own skin and in my own company. I have accepted this is who I am, I love myself and I love my life. I am happier than when I’ve been in relationships. I’m not lonely; I may be a bit of a loner.

That said I do like to see social events planned ahead in my diary, not chock-a-block but something to look forward to …..a coffee or lunch date, a walk or theatre with family or friends or alone!

This blog was in draft when Julia Buckley published this post On Loneliness take a read, something will probably resonate with you. For me it was this ” For many of us, loving ourselves is about the biggest challenge anyone could suggest. But I think at least becoming aware that this is what we need, rather than looking for solutions outside of ourselves, can be an important turning point.”  I think this is so true and can help with many aspects of our lives and health.

Do you ever feel lonely? What do you do when you’re lonely?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

You may like to check out my Great Month on a Budget blog 

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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Mindset – What do you think?

What I mean by Mindset

By mindset I mean your approach, your way of thinking, your attitude, your mood. I touched on this in my recent post about 4 Pillars of Good Health, take a read here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

Are you able to control your mindset?

How do you manage your thoughts?

Do you choose how to behave or react?

If you can master controlling your thoughts or how you react it goes a long way to helping you move towards and achieving lots of things in life. There can be some things in life that debilitate this: alcohol, other drugs, illness…

Beat the excuse generator.

Overcome the procrastination.

Doing something regularly, irrespective of motivation, it will become a habit. Part of what you do; non-negotiable (to an extent).

Life will always get in the way – illness, work, holidays, and demands of others. BUT you must make time for yourself, it’s so important for your health and self esteem. Others will benefit from it, it is not a selfish act to take time for YOU.

Valuing yourself; put a value on your time, don’t let others devalue it or erode it.

Can you conquer your thinking?

I firmly believe conquering how and what you think will be of fantastic value to your life. I’m not suggesting it’s easy.

I don’t have any magic answer to how you do this, like most things in life you need to make the trip in short steps.

  1. Perhaps saying NO to that invitation to something you don’t want to do. Don’t say YES and then worry about how you can get out of it or regret it or worse be there/do it.
  2. Only do the things you enjoy or make life easier- obviously give & take, compromise has to exist to make relationships work but don’t be a doormat
  3. Choose to be positive and happy – why be a glass half empty when it’s still half full 🙂

    Mindset - glass half full
    Glass half full!
  4. Don’t dwell on the bad things, resolve them quickly or look for the silver lining. Always move forward, “don’t look back, that’s not the way you’re going”!
  5. Perhaps devise a positive mantra (a saying or short sentence) to utter when you need a boost or reminder. Vocalise them, write them down
    or share them on social media
  6. Perhaps sharing a goal on social media or with close friends will make you more accountable and help you work more positively towards it
  7. Start a gratefulness journal

Doctor Rupy of The Doctor’s Kitchen (Facebook) does a gratefulness exercise. Three things to be grateful for everyday [he puts them on Instagram Stories see @Doctors_Kitchen on Instagram]. Doctor Rupy has recently said that he has found many benefits to this exercise notably:

“• throughout my day I think I subconsciously look for things to be positive about
• my reaction to the inevitable negative occurrences during a day is much more mellowed and calm
• I’ve learnt to slow down a lot and appreciate the wider world around me and cherish our existence.”

Remember the long term

Sometimes you have to remember why you made a decision or why you’re trying to achieve a particular thing. It may be for a long term goal which means short term sacrifices, then refocus on the long term, be happy! Being miserable in the short term won’t make the situation any better or move any quicker. My daughter and her bf have moved in with his parents in order to be able to save money for a house deposit. This may not be an ideal situation but they have to remember the long term goal when the current situation may be tricky!

YOU have to be in control of your mindset and I really believe conquering this will enable you to conquer so much more in life.

Believe in yourself

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

mindset

 

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

 

Good Health Pillars

I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

4 Pillars for Good Health

I believe there are four pillars for good health. We all know that regular exercise will help us to have a healthier heart, reduce health risks and help our mobility (have a read of my Functional Fitness blog) but doing it is another matter. However there are three other things which are equally important, in my opinion, to good health and a happier life. They are what we eat, what we think and quality sleep.

Good Health Pillar 1 – Let’s start with what we eat.

Understanding the value of what we put into our bodies (nutritionally) might influence what we do eat. I’m not a Dietitian or Nutritionist but there is lots of advice and information “out there”, and it doesn’t have to be complicated, cool or the latest fad or super food.  Take a look at these websites     http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/healthy-eating/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx  and http://nicsnutrition.com/about-me/

You may be better placed spending your time looking in to this than paying out for something like Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Aloe C9 Cleanse, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach),  Lighter Life or the like.  These may help with support and motivation (see my thoughts on mindset below) but really developing your understanding of the basics of a good diet will give you lifelong sustainable skills not short term restrictive plans.

You have to look at what you are nourishing your body with as a long term life change; rebel against the modern society of quick fixes – they don’t exist and only send you into a spiral of despair when the results don’t come or are not sustained. Only YOU can lift yourself out of this cycle and YOU CAN. Take responsibility. Take control.

pillars of good health -food
Preparing coleslaw!

You need to develop a new and good relationship with food, it is not a crutch for your emotional state (if anything it fuels that cycle). Food is the fuel that makes our brilliant bodies work properly. It is the petrol for our car, and our car is the very top model, the very best, most exquisite, a fantastic feat of engineering – we should and will be very proud of it. But we need to look after it, putting the right fuel in will go a long way to getting it to run in Formula 1 condition.

Discovering what good food is and beginning to understand the detrimental effects foods can have on your body. Like those containing too much sugar or processed foods containing many additives (chemicals) to make them taste good or keep longer. You can then change the balance and variety of foods you consume, this will have amazing results on your well-being. Just give it a go! 

Good food is not an expensive or time consuming option. Aldi and other supermarkets sell fabulous products at great prices, and nutritious meals can be put together in minutes. Look here for inspiration; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/15-minute-meal

 

pillars of good health - food
Eggs – a great food!

Good Health Pillar 2 – Mindset

I know it is a “chicken & egg” situation, I believe having the right mindset is imperative to getting your head around eating well. You will find that as your body adjusts to this new fuel you will feel energised and motivated perhaps to tweak your foods even more or get out for a walk, swim or cycle. One will support the other and you will gradually feel happier, healthier and motivated to carry on this journey.

You need to be committed to make changes – whatever your motivation

  • health scares; breathlessness, racing heart, joint pains
  • aesthetic reason “nothing fits” , I’m not going to buy the next size up
  • social reasons; you want to join friends on that hiking/cycling/beach holiday
  • family reasons; I can’t play with the grandchildren or help my ageing parents

The reason will be personal to you, the solution will be personal to you and the resolution yours alone.

Good Health Pillars

I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Do you have any advice on food choices?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Read more about sleep and health here; http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Update 22/8/17 further blogs posts

on sleep; https://www.jenafitlife.com/sleep-pillar-of-good-health/  and mindset; https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/

I was feeling sorry for myself, do you ever feel a little down?

There I was walking Rufus on a glorious Monday morning (there’s the rub 🙁 ) feeling a little sorry for myself. Why? The sun was out and warm, at 8.15! I was in the countryside with my best friend (my dog), the cattle had said hello – all my favourite things.  A good day lay ahead, I’m my own boss, I was planning to include a workout, a trip to the gym with my youngest daughter and a catch up chat with my sister before her holiday.

Good Mooorning - feeling sorry for myself
The cattle say Good Moooorning!

So why was I feeling sorry for myself? Well before my walk I’d scrolled through my Instagram feed and viewed gorgeous blue seas and beaches, hen parties with lots of friends and pic’s of couples kissing……it made me feel a little lonesome, and perhaps a little sad.
Do you ever feel like this?

It’s at times like these that I have to shake myself, perhaps remind myself why I’m here (in this situation), how I got here * and what that really means to me**.  I’m not going to say this is easy to do but it brings me perspective and makes me count my blessings not my inadequacies or losses. It’s at times like these I have to “force” myself into a happier space.

** So what does it mean to me: freedom, control, choice, independence…… I may not be able to control all the circumstances life throws at me but I can control and choose how I experience them.

So my advice is:

  • Don’t dwell on the past; the should’ve been or could’ve been
  • What is, what is; live it or make plans to change it
  • Perhaps pick on an uplifting mantra for times like this, and when your thoughts stray use it
  • Build a brighter future and when I analyse what that really means to me ….. It is actually where I am and what I am currently working on and building. I’ve had it all (the multiple friends, the kissing) and it’s probably only the sea that I’m missing in this moment!

I believe the bottom line is I can choose how I’m feeling on the whole. Sometimes I need to remind myself to choose happiness and to be positive.

Rufus as I'm feeling sorry for myself
Rufus waiting as I jotted my “feeling sorry for myself” thoughts!

 

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” Henry Miller

Do you have any tips or tricks for picking yourself up out of a bad time?

* Check out these blog posts to read about my new life and link further to how that came about  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-waters-part-1/ and http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-water-part-2/

Read more about making changes in your life here https://www.jenafitlife.com/make-a-change/

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Blogtacular – Blogging Conference

Getting there

I spent a beautiful sunny Saturday in June at a Blogging Conference in London! It was very colourful, bright and cheery both in terms of the decor, the people and the presentations….oh and the food! It was indeed more than a Conference.

Blog Conference
Arriving at Blogtacular

When I booked on to the event I hadn’t realised there was a pre conference event on the Friday; a photowalk followed by a party at West Elm. This looked great fun but logistics (trains already booked and a dog!) meant I couldn’t make it.

I live a 50 minute train trip (and a 20 minute car journey) from Euston and a Virgin Rail offer enabled my to travel for £8 return…..YES £8 crazy! I had an early start as the Conference kicked off at 8.30 with Breakfast (you can see the day’s schedule here). My plan was to arrive at 9ish and partake in second breakfast – I am a hobbit and I can’t leave home without breakfast :).

Conference travel
Waiting for my bargain Virgin Train!

The Conference – morning session

Blogtacular Conference
Kat Molesworth welcoming us to Blogtacular

Things really got started at 9.40, after I’d consumed several Beurre d’Isigny pain au chocolate and pain au raisin, washed down with a bucket of coffee, with an inspiring keynote speech from Natalie Lue . The message promoted Blogging for yourself, doing it because you want to, not copying or comparing but LOVING IT.

Following a short coffee break a choice of 4 workshops were available, each with enough space not to be turned away disappointed. I had met a lovely lady (Jo) at this point. We were going to different workshops, this meant when we met later we were able to feedback and share our workshop experiences. This added great value to the Conference overall.

I attended the Foundations of Marketing workshop led by Kayte Ferris ( http://www.simpleandseason.com/) . I have some marketing knowledge and was interested to get a bloggers view, not only does Kayte blog but she is a Marketing Consultant and Coach. The session was useful. Kayte made me think I needed to look more specifically at who I expect or want my audience to be and to develop a “Buyer Persona”. From this analysis you can develop your stories and how to communicate them. Lots of food for thought and work to be done. Talking this through with my new friend Jo and others in the lunch break started the process!

Conference workshop
Kayte Ferris Marketing Workshop

Lunch was spectacular, I chose roasted salmon pea risotto, lemon butter and pea shoots accompanied with a variety of salads. It was very well organised and plentiful. No hassle, no queuing and plenty of time to chat or peruse the market.

The Conference – afternoon session

Next I chose to go to the Working with Brands workshop presented by Lucy Nicholls (http://www.shinythoughts.net/hello/ ). Lucy has worked for ASOS and now Boden as a Social Media Content Producer. Being a Blogger herself Lucy knows a lot about Influencer Marketing. The packed presentation was comprehensive and a little bit “on the horizon” for me but one can dream! Again it made me realise a scatter-gun approach to my blog was not ideal and identifying my audience is paramount.

Jo had been to the Finding your Niche workshop and came away with a useful handout. Needless to say I stole a copy, a useful tool to help my post conference work.

A short break before the last workshop of the day. Jo and I had selected the same one, the Creative Business Masterclass. Three lovely ladies with successful creative online shops talked us through the importance of Community, Collaboration and Balance for you and your business. They were very lively and at times haphazard. This wasn’t the best session or presentation, the slides were illegible as they were too pale and the lighting in the room couldn’t be adjusted well enough to improve this. There is always a kernel of something valuable tho’ and we did come away with a list of great websites for tools and resources.

The Conference – the finale

The final break and a cup of tea was much needed, along with a smidgen of cake, all fueled up for the final keynote speaker Emma Gannon. Emma was great, very entertaining presenting the changes in blogging from 2010 to 2016 , making predictions for 2017 and championing playing to your strengths:
Ideas first, Platform second.

Blogtacular Conference Emma Gannon
Emma Gannon Keynote Speaker at Blogtacular

The Conference was rounded off by Kat Molesworth, co-founder and director of Blogtacular (http://blogtacular.com/team-blogtacular/) and a group photo. I pretty much missed the latter as a dash to the loo pre tube and train journey was a priority! Sorry Kat 🙁

Conference photo
Just too late for the Group photo!

In conclusion

Blogtacular promised to be “more than an event, it’s the catalyst to transform your career.   You will leave with the tools, ideas and inspiration to achieve your goals plus the network of contemporaries who’ll help you get there”.
I think it lived up to this. The Conference has helped me to really consider my audience and given me some tools and advice on how to go about this. It sent me away with lots to think about, lots of resources to research and lots of places to look for inspiration.

Have you been to Blogtacular?

Would you recommend any other Blogger events?

 

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

Conference goody bag
The morning after! Tea in bed and my Blogtacular goody bag!

You can read the Blogtacular write up in their blog here  http://blogtacular.com/blog/