With age comes great wisdom. The price comparison website Compare the Market sat down to get advice from Golden Years, a Northamptonshire-based social group for the over 50s, to find out how they deal with stress.
Speaking to a few of their members at a biker café in London, they were asked if they feel less stressed now than they used to if there’s anything they wished they had worried less about when they were younger and what they do to keep relaxed.
They were also asked if they had any advice for younger people who may be experiencing their life’s peak of anxiety and low life satisfaction. Here is what they came up with:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Mary Mchugh, 69 year-old self proclaimed perfectionist, says: ‘I think back now, and I think to myself nearly every day that I put myself through stress I shouldn’t have.’
2. Have a raspberry vodka with lemonade
Elizabeth Ann James, aged 82 had a raspberry vodka with lemonade at her last Golden Years meet up. If she recommends it we’re willing to try it.
3. Pay your bills on time
Melvin Douglas, aged 76, says: ‘I used to worry about everything, especially paying my bills and where the money is coming from. I don’t worry now because I’m on top of everything – I pay everything on time and I don’t worry.’
4. Retire and move to where the air is fresher
Early retirement is everyone’s dream but unlikely to be a reality. Venturing out to where the air is clearer can definitely be done though. If you have a busy job, spend weekends in the countryside or at the beach – go somewhere it is quieter and the air is fresher.
5. Work hard and have a good work ethic but don’t let that become stressful
Your job is your livelihood but it isn’t your life.
6. Don’t stress over mortgages
It’s no secret that getting a mortgage is much harder than it used to be. It is every millennial’s Mount Everest, but it is achievable. You might be doing it later in life then your parents and grandparents managed but it can happen. And it isn’t worth stressing over until it does. You should always stay informed about current mortgage refi rates in case a good opportunity arises.
7. Have a McDonalds ‘kiddie bag’
McDonalds happy meals aren’t named ‘happy’ by accident. Elizabeth Ann James, aged 82 thinks back to early this year when 10 members of the Golden Years group boarded the bus with a happy meal – drink and toy included.
8. Don’t stress over material things
Material goods come and go. Stick with the people around you that are here to stay.
9. You’re a kid at heart, let people treat you like it
Ageing doesn’t have to mean you have to become more serious. 82-year-old Elizabeth is on to something here.
10. Know when to switch off and rest
This is even harder when your emails follow you home at night but 69-year-old Mary McHugh is right: always leave time for yourself.
11. As long as the family are happy and healthy, you’re OK
It’s easy to catastrophise when you’re young. Everything seems like the biggest thing in the world! But advice from the golden oldies tells us that all that really matters is that your family and friends are OK.
12. Ride a motorbike
Melvin Douglas, aged 76 rides his motorbike to relax and recommends you do the same. It might not be the stereotypical relaxing hobby but for Melvin it works!
13. Help others
Helping others is a great way to help yourself. Thanks for the tip, Sue Jones.
14. Complete your bucket list – go to Royal Ascot
A bucket list forces you to do the things you’ve been putting off and for Mary McHugh (aged 69) this was heading to Royal Ascot.
15. Talk to people, be with a group
Sue Jones recommends going out with a group for some down-time. Nothing gets you out of your head quicker than talking to others.
16. Crochet blankets and cushions
This one is more niche but find what you like doing, just like Elizabeth Ann James has found crochet, and make sure you allow yourself time to do it.
17. Do things you’ve never done before
There is something special about that ‘first-time adrenaline’.
‘I lost my husband and even if you’re in a crowded room, you just feel lost. But coming to Golden Years, I’ve done things I would never have done before.’ And you can guess it Ruth Hitchcock (82) feels better for it.
18. Cope as much as you can
Mary McHugh admits to stressing a lot throughout her life but one thing she has learned is to ‘cope as much as you can, otherwise, stress will make you ill.’
19. Go by your instincts
Give yourself credit – you know what to do.
20. Don’t worry
‘I worried years ago and what’s the point? Because you get to this age and you think, what was all the worrying about?’ says Melvin Douglas, 76.
21. There is always help out there, don’t do it alone
A clear piece of advice from these over 50’s was to go out, look for help and surround yourself with friends. ‘There’s always help out there – don’t do it alone. Don’t keep it within yourself, go out and talk to people,’ warns Sue Jones, 67.
22. Go and enjoy yourself while you’ve got it
Time spent stressing is time wasted, Elizabeth recommends enjoying yourself while you can.
23. A cup of tea will put it right
An age-old British solution to problems but it still works for Elizabeth Ann James.
24. You need friends
Don’t be scared to lean on those around you. Your friends and family will always be willing to help you.
25. There is good in everything
It is all about perspective. You can look at the day and think ‘What a horrible day’, but if you think about the good things in life it helps you through.
To see the full range of data and some detailed pearls of wisdom from the Golden Years group, please visit The Long Road to Happiness.