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Growing Old Disgracefully

Growing Old Disgracefully

Growing Old Disgracefully

    Sixty Eight Going on Thirty Three

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    seniors

      For those of you who have read my book Fattitude, you have already ‘met’ one of my favourite people; Jan Frazer. Jan is one of my personal trainers, has worked along side me at Harper’s Personal Training for about fifteen years and is sixty eight years young. She’s a great trainer, gifted teacher, charismatic communicator, completely lovable chick and funny as hell. And no, she’s not great for a sixty eight year-old; she’s just great. Full stop. Her age is irrelevant. As it should be for all of us. She’s fit, strong, intelligent, driven, compassionate and has amazing people skills. She’s an inspired leader, role model and motivator who consistently produces great results with her clients. I’ve always been fascinated with Jan because she simply doesn’t worry about what someone her age is ‘meant to be doing’ (I hate that term) and she’s always doing things which would leave most thirty year-olds exhausted or intimidated. And no, this is not some feel-good, exaggerated, love-fest to make for an interesting article, it is a completely honest and accurate account of a woman nearing seventy who has a biological age of thirty three (yep, thirty three) and consistently produces incredible results in her world.

      Mrs. Hard Work

      Sometimes when I’m mentoring someone who is hard work, I feel like walking them across the gym floor to meet Jan and saying something like, “Mrs. Hard Work, I’d like you to meet Jan; she’s twice your age, fitter, leaner, stronger, never complains, is tough as nails and has an infinitely better attitude that you’ve ever had… so suck it up, Princess!!”

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      Too nasty? Perhaps I should do it anyway.

      The Rules

      Jan is completely unaffected by the rules. You know the rules; the ‘what is and isn’t appropriate for someone of your age’ rules. I hate those rules. Always have. And don’t think that just because the rules aren’t written anywhere (formally), that they don’t exist; they absolutely do. In fact, they pervade every area of our existence; our culture, our language, our corporations and our collective mindset. I find many of these rules to be destructive, disempowering and completely unwarranted. I could give you countless examples of how we disadvantage our more ‘experienced’ citizens with our stupid thinking, rules, expectations and standards but I don’t want this to turn into an epic that you won’t read. If we were to believe some experts, we might be forgiven for thinking that anyone over fifty should have one of those disabled stickers on their car and be wrapped in cotton wool. Personally, I intend to head back to college when I’m in my sixties to do my Masters and possibly a PhD. Not wishful thinking, a plan. I also hope that Jan will work with me for a least another decade or two.

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      The Psychology of Aging

      Neither is it wishful thinking when I tell you that age (as we experience it in our culture) is more about psychology than it is about physiology. It’s about much more than our body or how many years we’ve been here on the big blue ball; it’s about how we think, act, communicate, work, socialise, recreate and love. That’s why we see ‘young’ people in their seventies and ‘old’ people in their fifties or even forties – because years on the planet is only part of the age equation. Of course there is a physical consequence of time but many of us unnecessarily accelerate the aging process via our programmed ageist thinking, our poor choices, our stupid behaviours, our irresponsible diet, our sedentary lifestyle, our lack of exercise and our propensity to listen to the morons who tell us to grow old gracefully.

      F*** that. I’ll grow old disgracefully thanks.

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      Old Before Our Time

      Sadly, many of us will get old before we should. I won’t. And not because I’m genetically gifted but I choose not to get ‘old’ (in the way that many people allow themselves to age, that is). Even the term ‘Acting Your Age’ infers that we must fulfill some kind of pre-determined ‘old’ role. “How old am I? Okay, that’s how ‘old’ I should act. Hmm, exactly what is appropriate behaviour for some my age?” It’s ridiculous that we should somehow feel a need to conform to some standardised set of acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviours based on our chronological age.

      Of all the mental barriers that we humans create for ourselves, the age thing has gotta be right up there on the ‘stupid list’. The truth is that chronological age isn’t our real problem, how we (the society) think about age (and subsequently behave) is the problem. Of course the years have a physical impact on us (especially when we don’t maximise our genetics) but for the majority of us, age is more of a psychological issue than it is a physiological one.

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      How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

      How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

      Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

      But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

      Sight – Visual Stimulation

      The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

      1. Maximize your exposure to light.

      Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

      Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

      2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

      Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

      Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

      Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

      3. Take note of your environment.

      Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

      By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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      Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

      What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

      4. Engage in conversation.

      Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

      Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

      Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

      Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

      5. Listen to upbeat music.

      Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

      Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

      Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

      If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

      6. Work your nose.

      Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

      If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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      Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

      Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

      If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

      7. Have a good breakfast.

      Start off with the most important meal of the day.

      Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

      Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

      Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

      20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

      8. Drink lots of water.

      Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

      So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

      How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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      Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

      3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

      9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

      Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

      Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

      Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

      25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

      Touch – Tactile Stimulation

      Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

      10. Splash cold water on your face.

      Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

      This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

      5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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      11. Use acupressure.

      Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

      Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

      12. Get moving.

      Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

      And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

      You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

      Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

      Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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