How will you stay health in your 3rd chapter?

The Third Chapter – how do you plan to write yours?

How will you stay health in your 3rd chapter?
Are you ready to plan your third chapter of life to preserve your health?

The Third Chapter has become the popular term for life past about age 60 thanks to Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and her book by this name.  Your 3rd Chapter is where you leave your legacy, focus on what is most important, and do some things you couldn’t do during the peak of your career.

Big 3 – Third Chapter Options

  1. You can do nothing and continue to work. As a local lawyer recently stated, ‘They can pry my dead body from behind my keyboard.’
  2. You can just let the final third happen. Some people leave the office, go home, watch a lot of TV, and drift along until their health fails and they pass.
  3. You can plan and make this the best chapter yet.

Reasons to plan

  • Fulfill those dreams – What have you been putting off until you had the time, resources, and freedom to do them? I just talked with a family where the wife has been dreaming of a trip to Cuba.  For much of their lives that was not possible. Now he has retired, Cuba is open to visitors, she found a deal, and they can finally say ‘Yes’ to this opportunity.
    • If he was still working or even just going to work to maintain his comfortable schedule, they might have missed this chance.
    • If no planning had been done, they would still be talking about going to Cuba someday.
  • Intentionally get a handle on your health – Bad habits, work stress, limited time, and distraction can be risky for your long-term health. One of the earliest plans with the biggest return on investment in retirement is your health.  Proactive assessment and action now can prolong the healthy, active part of your third chapter.
    • While working, especially in high demand careers, many men ignore their own health in favor of the health of the company.  Then, they experience a rapid health decline.
    • Doing nothing will continue risky habits. Our current healthcare system is reactive.  Once you get sick, injure yourself, and find yourself declining, then the healthcare system kicks in.  You don’t want to wait for this to happen when you have this chance to proactively avoid or delay all of that.
  • Make this the most rewarding chapter yet! – With planning and intention you can make a mark on the world. Your years of collected skills, interests, and perspectives can make you invaluable in a role to address some issues in society.  Explore your interests.  What breaks your heart?  You now have the bandwidth to do something about it.
    • While continuing to work you will be disappointed that no one is doing anything to fix the societal problems that bother you most.
    • If you do nothing, your disappointment will grow.  As a result, that can lead to harmful negativity or complacency.

Retirement Wellness Strategies

This is what we do and why we do it.  Let’s talk today about taking a proactive approach to planning your third chapter!

You can reach Michelle at michelle@retirewellness.com, calling 410-472-5078, or check out the website at www.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

God has plans for us in each chapter of life.

Job 12:12 ESV

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

[Now, I’ll admit, I try to think of someone else much older than me when I read ‘old age’ in many translations of the Bible.  But, I think that is a translator’s term for having years of experience.]

The wisdom of years is highly respected in the Bible and in most cultures and historically in the US. I think this an important piece of our foundation that is now slipping – respect for your elders and care for your aging family members.

Proverbs 23:22 ESV

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Ephesians 6:1-3 ESV

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Years of accumulated experience brings perspective, skills, and a deep wisdom that comes from mistakes, successes, complete failures, adversity, and overcoming.  In particular, to see how God pulls you through over and over again leads to a deeper faith that He’ll do it again.

Job 32:7 ESV

I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’

Psalm 90:12 ESV

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Titus 2:2-3 ESV

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

Psalm 71:18-19 ESV

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?

I am so excited to see what can happen when people with years of wisdom and accumulated skill apply those to needs in society.

I’ll end with this quote on our bulletin at church today by Hugh Halter:

‘The convictions we need to rally around should be about life giving, community, transformation, holistic personal growth, sacrifice, beauty, blessing and world renewal.  Who wouldn’t want to be part of a people committed to something that brings personal meaning and makes the world a better place?’

This is how I see meaningful retirement.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

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Filters – living through the stresses in our society

Filters - so you can hear the love
Use filters to manage stress and bad news to preserve your health.

I was sitting at a stoplight one block from UNC-Charlotte preparing to turn on to WT Harris Boulevard when it felt like at explosion of sirens went off.  Suddenly there were rescue vehicles coming from everywhere. There were fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, marked and unmarked vehicles with lights and sirens.  It was completely disorienting.  I then watched motorists make all sorts of bad decisions.  Some tried to speed through intersections in front of emergency vehicles.  Some pulled to the right, some pulled to the left, some just stopped where they were.  It was complete chaos with these first responders trying to weave their way through the confused masses to get to the emergency.

It was a couple of hours before I learned that a gunman had entered campus and started shooting in a classroom on the last day of classes for the semester.

It was a few hours after that when I learned of the heroism of Riley Howell who ran toward the gunman and saved many lives while losing his own.

And it was a few hours after that when another life was lost just off campus in an altercation.  This lost life didn’t receive as much attention, but was still a precious life lost.

Then, as were moving our daughter back from Clemson a couple of days later, she received notice of a senior killed when he hit the back of a stopped dump truck on the highway.

In the midst of all of this loss I have talked with several parents of college students.  Some are grieving and throwing themselves into remembrance events.  Some are shocked and having difficulty resuming daily life.  Some are having nightmares and anxiety.  Some are carrying on as if nothing happened.

Healthy Responses

What are healthy responses to the events around us?  Certainly no day carries a guarantee of safety or ease.  And, rarely does a day carry a certainty of difficulty.  Most days arrive, and we use our toolbox of skills and emotional intelligence to get through them.

So what is in your toolbox of skills?

  • Who are the key people who support you?
  • How do you relieve stress?
  • How much attention do you give to the news?
  • How have you been hurt in the past?
  • How have you dealt with that past hurt?
  • What is your source of hope?

Filters as tools

As a healthcare provider, I have encountered countless people with negative health outcomes related to a lack of tools to handle stress and negative events.

Some of these negative health outcomes have included chronic pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, heart attacks, strokes, phobias, and deep anger.

Consider these filters to enhance a healthier response –

  • Gratitude– What is going right in your life? For what can you be thankful?
  • Who/what is higher than you– deity, person, other that can help guide and protect you?
  • Past events– When have you been stressed or in a bad situation in the past and now you are on the other side? You survived.  If all of those events in the past were survivable, how can that bring you hope in this situation?
  • Perspective– What is the worst possible scenario you can imagine? If you can imagine that, your reality is most likely to be much better than that.
  • Let it go– How have you learned to forgive and move on?This is one of the most freeing acts you can take for your own health.

Retirement stress

Are you nearing or past retirement and feel like you’re surrounded by stress and worry?  We can help!

Contact us today at www.retirewellness.com, call 410-472-5078, or e-mail me at michelle@retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

I have this mental image of the devil with a bullhorn blasting messages of doubt, insecurity, worry, what-if’s, self-deprecation, and other ugliness right into my brain.  His messages are so noisy and chaotic!  They can pull me down and sit on me to pin me to the ground if I don’t take action.

Do you ever feel the same way?

Jesus is speaking into my other ear with messages of love, acceptance, strength, mercy, and grace. He does not use a bullhorn.  In fact, if I don’t make an effort, I won’t even hear his sweet call.

This is what I picture is happening to each person I meet.

So, how do we tune out the bullhorn and relax into the loving messages?

Here are a few tips that I know to be true.  (Now don’t ask if I practice them every day. I 100% know that my day is so much better when I do, and I still mess up and skip these life-sustaining practices regularly.)

  1. Thanks to the advice of a Godly friend, I use an app called ‘Remember Me’ to keep favorite verses on my phone. When I have a minute here, 5 minutes there, I work to memorize these key verses.
  2. Spend TRULY quiet time focused on God and hearing His voice each day.
  3. Stay in the Word. Keep dedicated Bible reading time and really pray and think about what you are reading, asking God to explain.  It’s amazing what you will learn!
  4. Think outside of yourself. Be aware of the people around you.  Reach out to friends in need.  Reach out to friends who you don’t know are in need (they all have the bullhorn in their ear).
  5. Let God guide your path. Satan will keep you so busy you can’t catch your breath.  Let God quiet you and focus you on what matters.

Here are some favorite verses about God’s deep, unfathomable love for you to get you started!

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:19 ESV

We love because he first loved us.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:16 ESV

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Use those filters and have a blessed week!

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Your Doctor’s Advise – Misunderstanding can lead to BAD Decisions

Good communication with your doctor
Let us help you avoid misunderstanding with your doctor.

Have you ever experienced misunderstanding with someone?  Did that lead you to make a bad decision?  If you had understood the original message, would you have made a different decision?

I have had two client examples this week.

Misunderstanding what the doctor said

In one instance, the doctor had said something about the pain medicine and the stomach acid medicine should not be taken together.  This person has had a long history of Barrett’s Esophagus – a severe inflammation of the esophagus cause by extreme gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  To break that down, this person’s stomach acid was going back up the esophagus – the tube from the mouth to the stomach.  Normally there is a sphincter that closes to keep the acid safely in the stomach.  In many of us, that sphincter can become loose or have a condition that keeps it from completely closing.  When that happens, the acid can go back up the esophagus. Indigestion, burping, pain and/or burning in the mid chest area can result.  The acid inflames the esophagus lining.  When that inflammation becomes severe, the inflammation can lead to Barrett’s Esophagus.  So the stomach acid medicine was VERY important!

This person’s other issue was low back pain due to a herniated (bulging) disk and sciatic pain. Sciatic pain results in pain and burning from the lower back and spreading through the buttocks and the leg. It is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, common with lower back issues.

When this person heard the doctor say the stomach acid medicine and the pain medicine shouldn’t be taken together, the person decided to STOP the stomach acid medicine.  The sciatic pain was the ‘bigger issue’, so if both couldn’t be taken, the pain medicine took priority.  The doctor was not told.

The client heard ’these medicines shouldn’t be taken together’.  The more complete answer is, the pain medicine will make the stomach acid and esophagus irritation even worse.  There are safer pain medicine options that won’t make the Barrett’s Esophagus worse.  The person should DEFINITELY be on both a stomach acid medicine and a pain medicine. The pain medicine should just be changed to a safer option.

This was explained, and this person is now on a safer medication regimen for both conditions.

Another Misunderstanding Example

Another recent example was a man with severe vascular issues and lung cancer.

The lung and cancer doctors had together told him and his family there is no more they could do. They recommended hospice care. Hospice care was accepted.

The vascular issues caused very little blood flow to the feet.  As a result, one foot and lower leg had been amputated a few months ago. The second leg and foot are now very infected.  The foot infection is causing severe pain.  Hospice is treating the pain with morphine.  The morphine makes the patient’s stomach upset and dulls his thinking.

His wife understands that the hospice doctor is now his doctor rather than his specialists and primary doctor from before.  The hospice nurses visits regularly, but the doctor has not.  His wife is very upset that the doctor is doing nothing to heal the infection.  She also feels he is very overmedicated since his memory and decision making are slowed due to the morphine.

When we discussed goals – quality vs quantity of life – they each indicated the specialists who recommended hospice had asked that.  They chose quality.  However, they didn’t understand that this would mean a rather rapid decline with the untreated lung cancer and foot infection.  They thought he would be able to back to the things he loves like working on projects around the house and cooking.   They see a decline in quality of life rather than the expected increase.

Now they want to go back to the specialists and change their minds.  It has been six months of no curative treatment.  There is most likely no way to alter the pending outcome.

Essential Clear Communication

Healthcare visits can feel fast and pressured.  Any time there is bad news involved, it is hard to fully hear and process all that is being communicated.  These and other communication issues lead to misunderstanding of healthcare information. This is NOT an uncommon problem.

Another contributing factor is difficulty reaching the doctor after getting home to request clarification.  Most doctors are given schedules that make it difficult to squeeze in phone calls.  So, it is always best to receive, process, and fully understand the information while you have the doctor’s full attention during an appointment.

At Meds MASH and Retirement Wellness Strategies, we are your advocate.  You have guidance to prepare for medical visits by assuring you have your questions ready and the information your doctor needs organized and clear.  We also attend the visit with you by video when you want that.

After the visit, we can provide a wealth of information to further explain any new conditions or medications.  We can even contact your doctor(s) on your behalf to obtain any needed clarification.

Call today at 410-472-5078 and ask for Michelle Fritsch, Pharm.D.  Or e-mail at michelle@medsmash.com.   Check out more at www.medsmash.comor www.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Miscommunication and misunderstanding can lead to so many preventable problems.  I often ask this question of students in the health professions. ‘Tell me about a time miscommunication led to a bad outcome.’  Usually the answers involve people going to different restaurants or friends having an argument.  One time, while teaching active duty military healthcare providers, the example was of an international hunt for a notorious terrorist.  The terrorist had been found and surrounded, but a delay in the order to detain him resulted in his escape.  What an example!

The Bible has much instruction about good communication.

This Psalmist knows exactly how much trouble our words can cause:

Psalm 141:3 ESV

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Our communication is instructed to build people up and turn them to Christ.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Colossians 4:6 ESV

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

I know I have spoken in frustration and said words I regretted.  I know I have neglected to speak up when my support could have been very helpful to someone else.  I know I have said the wrong thing and caused more harm than good, usually out of complete ignorance or insensitivity.

Proverbs 15:2 ESV / 176 helpful votes

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

One of my frequent prayers in the morning is, ‘Lord please fill me up and pour me out today.’  I ask to be poured out with the Lord’s words and attitudes and sensitivities.

Psalm 19:14 ESV

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I certainly can’t be trusted to do this on my own, but with the Lord’s guidance, excellent communication can make a huge positive difference in the lives we meet!

Blessings,

Michelle

Retirement is a Dish Best Served Well-Prepared

Well prepared retirement
A well-prepared retirement can be healthy and fulfilling

Retirement will be most successful if you take some time and do some planning.  This is true whether you stop working completely or adjust responsibilities to have more flexibility.

Like every phase of life, big decision, or major transition, planning helps navigate the expected and provide the flexibility to negotiate the unexpected.

What is Retirement Planning?

When you search using terms like ‘retirement planning’ the items listed are almost solely about financial planning.  There are numerous large companies, small companies, and individuals offering assistance in making financial decisions that will enable the retirement you desire.

Financial planning includes amount of funds available, timing of fund use, anticipated monthly budgets, and a diversified portfolio.  (And more I’m sure; this is definitely not my area of expertise).

Succession planning is a key part of preparation to leave or reduce time at your workplace.  You want to be sure what you have worked so hard to build or support will be left in capable hands.

Family care is another element of retirement planning.  You are assuring the house, the car(s), the major purchases are updated and ready for the days of a more ‘fixed’ income.  Legally, this is a good time to assure wills, estates, powers of attorney, and other legal documents are updated.

What ELSE is Retirement Planning?

At Retirement Wellness Strategieswe are focused on your health and wellness as you approach retirement.

‘My doctor already does that,’ you might be saying.  Your doctor is certainly doing some of that.  Your doctor also has a very limited time with you and is frequently using that time to address issues of the moment.  Healthcare in general is mostly reactive.  We want to be proactive!

Retirement Wellness Strategies is

  • PROACTIVE
  • RISK REDUCING
  • As interested in your MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL, and SOCIAL health as your PHYSICAL health.

Retirement is a major life transition.  Far too many men in leadership positions are stumbling as they leap the chasm from a very full, rewarding, consuming work life to retirement.

These stumbles are leading to rapid health decline, failed marriages, and suicide.  This DOES NOT need to happen.

Let’s plan these critical elements of your retirement today.

Call us at 410-472-5078, e-mail michelle@retirewellness.com, or learn more at www.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Part of retirement planning is spiritual health planning.  How much emphasis have you placed here so far?

How are you managing these complex times in our world?  They shouldn’t come as a surprise, but that doesn’t make them easy.  Have you found that deep down peace and joy of Christ? That is a beautiful thing and worthy of sharing!

1 Peter 3:15  NIV

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Matthew 24:44  NLT

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

When I think of preparation, nothing excites me or sobers me like preparation for eternity.  I love trying to imagine Heaven, eternity, God’s omniscience.  Do you ever try to wrap your mind around those concepts?  I can’t wait to experience them in person!

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives insights into the times before His return.  There will be a lot of people trying to deceive us.  There will be wars and famine and earthquakes.  I can think of a lot of examples of each of these things right now.

In 2 Timothy 3 there is a description of the difficult times for Christians in the last days.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

In Jude, who was Jesus’ brother, we learn more about the last times.

Jude 17-21 NLT

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted.  They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.  These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[a]  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

I read in a devotion recently that we prepare in three ways:

  1. Prepare yourself
  2. Prepare those close to you
  3. Prepare your church and community

How are you preparing for difficult times ahead?  How can we build a more solid network of believers to support each other through these times? Once disaster strikes is not the time to develop a plan.

Blessings,

Michelle

Thanksgiving – Gratitude keeping you Healthy

 

On this Thanksgiving, praying you take the time to reflect on your many blessings.  What a day to remind us of how our areas of gratitude!

Gratitude, grateful, thankful, thanksgiving, appreciation

What do these words mean to you? What role do they play in your everyday life?

Wow, I am amazed how much information is available on this important link between gratitude and health. Just search for these two terms and see what all you will find.

What is gratitude?

This is being aware of all of the good things in your life. And it is being thankful for those things. Have you considered being grateful for:

  • A safe place to sleep
  • Food to eat
  • Clothes to cover yourself
  • Having a friend to call
  • Your job – current or past
  • A beautiful day

This simple awareness of and being thankful for these ‘little’ things can boost your health.

Note, it doesn’t have to be the biggest house or the softest bed or the tastiest food or the latest fashion clothing to be grateful. Gratitude focuses on what you have – all of the good things – rather than what you don’t have.

Expressing gratitude can:

  • Boost your spirits and sense of well-being
  • Boost your immune system making you less likely to get sick
  • Decrease your chances of heart disease
  • Improve your performance (grades, work productivity, concentration)
  • Bust your stress

There are many ways you can make gratitude part of your life. Here are a few recommended in a Harvard Mental Health newsletter:

  • Write a thank-you note
  • Go up and thank someone
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Keep a list of your thanks = count your blessings

See your day and your health improve by focusing on the positive.

Even therapy for mood disorders and approaches to negative thinking know this truth. I am quoting this from Rick Warren, “When you change the way you think, it changes the way you feel. And when you change the way you feel, it changes the way you act.”

On this Independence Day weekend, as a country, we have much reason for gratitude!

For more information on gratitude and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We have so many reasons to be grateful!

Have you ever been in a ‘funk’ having a bad day and then remembered to be grateful? I have done this so many times. When all looks dark and gloomy, make yourself think about all of the things that are good and right.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I’ll quickly admit I don’t always think to do this. I stay in that dark place far too long. Later, once I’m out I realize I had the ‘magic potion’ to leave that darkness behind. It was given to us by Christ when he died to erase our sins. It was given to us by God who maintained His love and focus on the good in the Jews through centuries of missteps (just as we live a series of missteps).

Lamentations 3:23 ESV

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I don’t even know where to begin selecting Bible verses to draw us closer to the benefits of gratitude. There are so many!!!

Psalm 118:24 ESV

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Colossians 3:17 ESV

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 136:1 ESV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Ephesians 1:16 ESV

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

James 1:17 ESV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

I feel energized, positive, and excited just reading these verses full of hope and promise! I am thankful for each person who takes the time to read this. May you be blessed by these assurances from God!

I pray you can stay focused on the many good things in your life this week and that can keep you out of the dark, gloomy places.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Prevent post retirement suicide

Retirement and the Rising Rate of Suicide – plan to avoid this outcome

Prevent post retirement suicide
Know the risk factors, the warning signs, and the phone number.

You have had tremendous success in your career. Perhaps you started the company yourself. You at least had a major impact on its success.

For years you have been planning for retirement. Your financial portfolio is ready. Your succession plans are in place. Your family is excited to have more of your time.

Or, maybe retirement has come before you are ready. A buy-out or lay-off situation seemed to come out of nowhere.

Any of these situations can lead to the almost unthinkable outcome of suicide.

Rise in Suicide in the US

The Centers for Disease Control released new data in June 2018 about the rising rate of suicide in the United States. Over at least the last decade, the population with the most increase was men ages 45-59 followed closely by those over 60. All but one state has seen an increase in suicide from 1999 to 2016.

Note, during this time two key variables could be playing a role.

  • The Boomer generation has a different perspective on life and religion as compared to previous generations. This generation has explored a wider range of religions and a larger segment has moved away from traditional religion.
  • There was a recession that changed the economic portfolio for many people. Although age and health might indicate it is time to retire, the financial situation might have taken a hit from which it has not yet recovered.

Depression and Suicide in Retirement

Another factor for anyone who retires is the possibility of the post-retirement-blues. Those with hobbies and a broad social network seem to get through this the best. But, especially for those who spent most of their time working and had their social network primarily consist of work colleagues, retirement can feel like sudden isolation.   So much planning has gone into getting to retirement. Then, once there, the sudden stop of the normal routine and the uncertainty about what comes next can have a big effect. In some cases it is mild disillusionment and an impetus to start creating new routines exploring new opportunities.

In some cases, it leads to a loss of self. A deeper, darker depression can erode confidence, meaning, and a sense of relevance. For some, this downward spiral can lead to suicide.

  • If you ever have a desire to end your life, or know someone who may be contemplating suicide, please reach out to a resource such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255.

Planning for Retirement

Much effort often goes into planning for the financial component of retirement and the succession at work. But, what about preparing mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for the personal transition of retirement? This is at least as important as the other planning.

At Retirement Wellness Strategies, we have a unique mapping tool to help you plan for this next chapter. Retirement should be meaningful, active, sustained (for a good long time), and healthy. That is where we come in. Don’t leave your transition to chance.

You can reach us at www.retirewellness.com, michelle@retirewellness.com, or by calling 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Life can be so stressful. Even during the transition to retirement, life stressors can overtake you.

Retirement is meant to be a time of new possibilities, adventure, relaxation, and no more rigid time rules. It is a reward that is earned through years of hard work.

Yet, many people, especially men in positions of leadership and great responsibility, struggle with this transition. It impacts every aspect of their being. It is too easy to get lost in the separation from work life to retirement life.

We are assured throughout the Bible that we will encounter difficult times.

John 16:33  NIV

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Romans 5:3-5  NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

We are also assured throughout the Bible that we will not be left alone during these struggles.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 34:17-20 ESV

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

I encourage all who read this to consider how they can help those who are giving up to see these promises of Christ! Even Christians and successful leaders can fall into despair.

I often wonder if someone who chooses suicide could have held on for just another couple of minutes, if the outcome could have been different. Our deepest valleys do eventually dissipate into a more hopeful scenario.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

How can you help decrease this rise in suicide in our country?

Blessings,

Michelle

Why is DIVORCE during and after retirement on the rise?

Protect your marriage
Protect your marriage from the stresses of divorce

Divorce around retirement – You’ve seen it in pop culture, in famous people. And, you’ve likely seen it in your own community. It won’t be surprising if you are seeing this trend in your own family, even your own marriage.

The incidence of divorce over age 50 is experiencing a sharp rise. It has nearly TRIPLED since 1990. (Interestingly, the divorce rate among younger adults under age 40 is declining). So, why are the Boomer’s divorcing at an unprecedented rate?

The role of RETIREMENT in divorce

Retirement is one of the top 10 biggest life adjustments. It is a time of huge transition ranking right up there with marriage, having children, moving, and loss of a loved one.

Many people enter retirement unprepared. They often haven’t thought about the daily changes, the sudden loss of routine, and the sudden increase in togetherness time with their spouse.

In a perfect, romantic world, more time together is exactly what each couple wants. Nothing in life is perfect, at least not for long.

That’s not to say that marriages can’t thrive in retirement. They absolutely can. But that usually requires some communication, compromise, and adjusted expectations.

A healthy marriage in retirement

Both partners have a lot of change to navigate with retirement. Time spent together usually increases. Either partner might find that restrictive. The more we are together, the more complicated communication can be as well. (It is much easier to say the wrong thing when you’re talking more).

  1. The most important step to a healthy marriage in retirement is to talk about it before it happens, or at least before relations get very hurtful after retirement. Rarely do both partners have a clear picture of what retirement will really be like. But, both have some ideas of what they want it to be like. How much have you talked about this?
  2. Until it happens, sometimes people don’t even know what might annoy, frustrate, or stifle them in retirement. Agree to be open with one another as these stumbling blocks present themselves. Recognize that they will occur, and before they are personal or hurtful, calmly talk about them.
  3. Plan for how you will maintain some independent interests and activities. If you have had only a few hours in the evening and on the weekends together for decades, 24/7 togetherness can be overwhelming.
  4. Talk about expectations. What are common aspirations, plans, and desires? Unmet expectations are almost always at the center of a divorce. Often, one doesn’t know what the other was expecting until the relationship is too far-gone. Don’t let that happen.
    1. I’ve seen examples where one person wants to travel while the other wants to stay home.
    2. Sometimes one has always dreamed of taking couples dance lessons and the other would rather do anything but that.
    3. A big issue I’ve seen is one spouse wants a lot of togetherness going and doing things while the other wants to spend most time with the grandchildren.
  5. Include the more intimate parts of your relationship in your planning. This is an area of frequent mismatch in expectations. There is NO truth that sex ends at a particular age. It is very helpful when partners can open discuss these expectations and honor what motivates the other partner to share the same desires.

Planning is key

Don’t leave your marriage to chance after retirement. Recognize that retirement is a major life transition. Respect the wide range of emotions and adjustments each partner will make.

Retirement Wellness Strategies is here to help!   Let us help you preserve your health and strategically plan for all aspects of your retirement such that it is Meaningful, Active, Sustained, and Healthy!

Learn more at www.retirewellness.com, michelle@retirewellness.com, or call 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Marriage is sacred. Marriage vows are committed in the presence of God and witnesses.

Yet, marriage can be very hard. Marriages go through good and bad times (as usually stated in the vows).

Today’s culture values feelings over commitment. Culture supports and sometimes even promotes greater focus on self than on a partner.

I know so many lovely people who have experienced the trauma of divorce. Know that you are deeply loved. God knows the details. Give the grief, disillusionment, and any other feelings over to him who can heal all wounds.

Where have you made mistakes in your marriage?

When have you put yourself above your spouse?

When have you been hurtful and unkind?

When have you taken your marriage for granted?

I believe all married people have done these things. We all have difficult days.

The commitment of marriage doesn’t mean sunshine and roses.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

There’s a reason these verses list all of the ways we mess up in marriage or any love relationship.

If you feel like you’ve done it all wrong, don’t give up hope. Love comes from God, and He can fill your love bucket at any time…just ask. Love is so much more than a mushy feeling.

Ephesians 5:33 ESV

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

1 John 4:7 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

I pray your love and marriage are resilient. If your marriage has officially ended, I pray you find healing, forgiveness, and hope for a bright new future. God is good!

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Retirement preparation

The best laid plans… When retirement is unnecessarily too short

Retirement preparation
Retirement should be meaningful, active, sustained, and healthy.

I am sad.

I am surprised.

I am mad.

So, I need to take action.

Retirement is often not the golden age of happiness that is dreamed.

Retirement is a MAJOR life transition – up there with marriage, having children, and moving.

I have been researching more and more about retirement. As a healthcare professional, I have seen TOO MANY people lying in a hospital bed with their future retirement plans dashed. And, TOO MANY times, this event that led to the hospital could have been prevented. If only things had gone differently hours, days, months, or years earlier, this hospital visit could have been avoided.

Role of Medication Use

Medication use plays a part in these avoidable events at least 80% of the time. There are many ways medication can be part of the problem:

  1. Not taking a medication that is prescribed.
  2. Taking too much of the medication.
  3. Taking too little of the medication.
  4. Taking a medication for one thing that makes another problem worse.
  5. Taking medications that are not safe together.
  6. Having a severe side effect from a medication.
  7. Not seeking medical care for a problem that should be treated with medication.
  8. Taking a medication when no medication is needed.

And then there are multiple variations of each of these issues.

Medications are not benign.

Medications are not all bad.

Medications can save lives.

Preparing for the future

Sometimes the preventable problem is related to lack of planning for retirement.

Most people think of MONEY when they think of retirement planning. There are many professionals who dedicate their career to helping people secure the finances for retirement. Others focus on insurance and protection of assets.

Few have made plans for the enormous lifestyle transition that is retirement. Those who especially struggle with the transition are:

  • people who are very busy at work with a lot of responsibility,
  • those who always have people lined up to talk with them,
  • those who are the decision makers, and
  • those who run the company.

Work Withdrawal

The withdrawal from the daily demands of work can be similar to any other withdrawal from an addiction. Symptoms the first few days can include:

  • sense of loss
  • restlessness
  • frustration
  • anger
  • palpitations
  • sense of loss

Later withdrawal symptoms can be:

  • depression
  • despondence
  • loneliness
  • feelings of inadequacy or irrelevance
  • anger
  • lack of concentration
  • irritability

Planning for Retirement

Finding the retirement years of your dreams takes planning. How will you prepare for the first day the phone no longer rings, people are no longer lined up outside your office, and the big decisions are made without your input?

We dream of retirement practically from the time we start working. The thought of a break from the pressure sounds wonderful. Then it happens…

I have talked to many men, most thinking they had planned well for retirement, who are then surprised and disappointed when the realities of the transition hit. Others plan to never retire to avoid going through this.

A successful transition to many happy years and a long delay of functional decline is possible!!!

Contact us today at www.retirewellness.com, or call 410-472-5078, or e-mail michelle@retirewellness.com.

BIBLICATION APPLICATION

Retirement is a Biblical concept. We are designed for a period of rest from work, but not from ministry.

Going back to the Levites –

Numbers 8:23-26 ESV

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.

And how wonderful to have a phase of life where you keep doing the joyous parts and let the hard work go!

Acts 20:24 ESV

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

It might feel frightening to let go of a decades-long career and enter the unknown of retirement. Then again, that is right where you should be, and God can use you in amazing ways!

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Philippians 1:6 ESV / 67 helpful votes

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 71:17 MSG

You got me when I was an unformed youth,
    God, and taught me everything I know.
Now I’m telling the world your wonders;
    I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.

Consider how God wants to use you in retirement. What blessings are just around the corner, when you give the part of your life completely over to His guidance?

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Attitude – the choice is yours and the impact is huge for your health!

Attitude
Choose your attitude each day, and make it a good one for your health!

Is your attitude the RESULT of what is happening around you? Is it the RESULT of what others do to you? Is it the RESULT of your life circumstances? —-OR—-Is your attitude your CHOICE?

I propose your attitude is your CHOICE!

We live in such a blame society. People are called haters, shamers, intolerant, biased, and worse.

So often we try to claim that others made us the way we are – sullen, angry, withdrawn, hurt, rejected.

We give others and situations the power to determine how we are going to go through each day and how we are going to approach life.

If you are a balloon bouncing in the winds of circumstances, there is hope!

How to choose your attitude

What are your first thoughts in the morning? How do you approach your day? What music do you choose? What do you read, think about, and how do you plan for your day?

These aspects of your life are associated with maintaining health even in the midst of negative events:

  • friends to talk to
  • people who care about you
  • a sense of self-worth
  • forgiveness
  • security
  • conflict management skills
  • religion/spirituality

The items on this list have all been linked with improved health.

And I will add having a source of HOPE. I believe hope is powerful in the midst of difficulty.

Gratitude and attitude

Another way of thinking that improves your attitude and your health is gratitude. For what are you thankful? No matter how many bad things are around you, what is good? You’re still here if you’re reading this! What parts of your body work? What are you able to do? Who do you care about? Where are your safe places? Where is the beauty around you – pictures, nature, architecture, music, literature, videos, clouds, trees, or babbling water?

Find those good things and be thankful for them. Fill your bucket with all of the good in your life. It makes the bad much more tolerable.

Make it about someone else

Doing something for or being kind to someone else can be a real attitude adjuster. Rather than focus on yourself and your own needs, raise your head and look at the people around you. Find something small you can do to make someone else’s day. You will be amazed that you benefit from those actions at least as much as the person you blessed.

Health benefits of a good attitude

No one can choose your attitude except YOU! This is such a liberating concept. In the midst of and despite the difficulties of life, you can each day CHOOSE to have a GOOD attitude!

When you do, your physical health (blood pressure, breathing, kidney function); your mental health (calm, clearer thinking, more creativity); your emotional health (less reactive, more even emotions); and your spiritual health (happiness, hope, joy) benefit.

For more information about how you can choose your own attitude and the health benefits, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact, michelle@medsmash.com, or call at 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Choosing and displaying a good attitude consistently is one of the best ways you can ‘let your light shine’. The world is craving examples of ‘good’ in the midst of the struggles of life.

Proverbs 15:30 NIV

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.

Most people are pushed and pulled and slammed against the wall when events happen. It’s hard to catch your breath, let alone be positive, if you don’t have some anchor.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Psalm 112:7 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

John 16:33 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We have eternal hope and joy to hold onto in the midst of anything that happens. We have the assurances of God that we are never alone.

1 Thes 5:16-18 NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8 :28 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

If you haven’t heard Francesca Battistelli’s song, Where Were You?, I highly encourage you to listen.

Yes, the difficulties of life will keep coming at you. You know they will, but those are the very events that allow us to grow deeper in our faith and find that hope that keeps our attitude good in the midst of everything.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Choose your good attitude each day and let it shine for the world to see!

Blessings,

Michelle

Gratitude, love, and health

Celebrating the Glory of Today – Gratitude and Love

Gratitude, love, and health
Gratitude for beauty and blessings improves health.

We spend so much of our time thinking about tomorrow, planning for tomorrow, working for tomorrow, hoping and dreaming for tomorrow. But tomorrow is never here, and we’ve learned that over and over.

We’ve seen so many examples lately of the value of living in the moment. There is value in loving those around you each and every day. You never know which is that last day.

Rather than be depressed about that, we can claim the joy and the opportunities of each day that presents itself to us.

Seasons of Loss

We have lost a dear friend in the last couple of weeks. He was someone who was always thinking of and giving to others. He was a very strong-in-his-faith man. He died in a freak accident doing what he does best – helping others. He was building a Habitat for Humanity house. We will never know what happened. The freak accident occurred, and he was suddenly gone.

A tiny baby died in his sleep at two months. There was so much promise there. Why was that child taken at such a young age?

Then we see the news stories of people harming one another. It seems there are more and more stories of mass deaths and of people managing conflict with murder.

The tragedies of nature have taken even more lives and wreaked havoc in many parts of the world.

It’s been such a heavy season of so many people taken at a time no one would have expected.

How do we keep moving forward?

So with that in mind, how can we live each day to its fullest? The more we live in gratitude and love and recognize the joys that are around us in spite of the tragedies, the more healthy we are.   It lowers our blood pressure and anxiety levels. It lowers our risk for heart attack and stroke.

Gratitude and Love

Gratitude and love allow us to think so much clearly. They take us out of that worry mode and in to a more creative space in our brain. We think more clearly, can be more rational, and recognize the good when our brain is fully functioning at calmer times. This calm allows our breathing to slow. It allows us to really see the things around us rather than be so focused on what’s ahead.

I encourage everyone to take a deep breath. Love on the people who are around you. Look around with joy and gratitude at the many blessings that you do have.

Remember with fond memories, and hopefully with some tears and laughter, those who we’ve lost.

Let this be a day of renewed health and joy and love.

At Meds MASH we would love to talk with you more about the benefits of gratitude and love. You can reach us at www.medsmash.com/contact; michelle@medsmash.com; or 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

As worshippers and faithful followers of Christ, we are instructed over and over the Bible to praise and worship and show our love through gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you tried making gratitude your very first morning event, before you even crawl out of bed? I find when I start my day in thanks it sets the tone for a much better day. I can be grateful for the fact that a whole new day is before me, and once I get started, there are SO many things to list. Even the warm bed and blankets are a gift that not everyone shares. It’s so easy to take home and family and jobs and clothes and food and friends for granted.

James 1:17 ESV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Start your day with gratitude and joy and just see where it heads from there!

Psalm 118:24 ESV

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

When you are sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, or feeling your hope dampen, count your blessings.

Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

And finally, remember, His love endures forever!

Psalm 118:1-18 ESV

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …

Blessings,

Michelle