You’re not imagining it

Do you wake up some mornings wondering or, perhaps hoping, that you’re waking up from a bad dream? I have been feeling like this a lot lately. Waking up and realising that this is another day where Covid is real and coming to terms with my emotions has become a morning ritual.

I have been feeling lost emotionally. And for me, this is hard. I write and teach about the importance of naming the emotion so that you can connect with grief and move through it. And here I was, feeling numb, almost like someone switched on the dimmer switch to all my emotions.

I reached out to a friend who understood that I needed to name the emotion, and she explained the term ambiguous loss to me. It is not something you imagine at all!

Ambiguous loss feels uncertain, is without closure and clear understanding. It does not have defined boundaries; it is not a black and white event. You may be grieving for someone physically present but psychologically absent in your life (as in dementia, or so overwhelmed with stress and anxiety that they are incapable of connecting with you). Or you may mourn for someone who is physically absent but psychologically present (such as missing the people you love due to Covid restrictions, confinement to your home or living with someone who is autistic or a drug addict).

I suspect we are all grieving for the people absent in our lives but still a part of it. We are emotionally exhausted and drained, and very often, we mourn in isolation. We are unsure about what tomorrow will bring. Will we test positive for Covid? What if someone we love does? What does all this mean for our economy? It is hard to find the love, joy and belonging that we crave as humans.

This type of loss is hard to explain and even harder to heal from. If you can’t name it for what it is, you are left searching for answers, and because you are not really sure what or who you are grieving for, the healing process takes so much longer.

So let’s name it for what it is – you may also be experiencing ambiguous loss. I have felt a tremendous sense of relief to know that there is a name for what I was feeling. I was not imagining the sense of unease and the urge to numb the pain I was feeling. The problem is that if you numb the pain, the joyful moments are also less wonderous.

What has helped me is to become more conscious of finding my daily joy. You have to physically stop, pause for a moment, and take in the joyfulness. In this newsletter, Claire Holden shares a wonderful exercise on finding our joyful moments.
I find my peace and enjoyment in my garden, looking at my beautiful roses or sitting at the fish pond watching the Koi fish. My morning run has become my tonic for the day and, every time I’m able to connect with a friend face-to-face outdoors, my happiness index rises a couple of notches. As a family, we celebrated with lots of smiles and happiness when, after two operations and many treatments, my husband Gys’s cancer biopsies were negative. We have three stress-free months before we have to go for another check-up.

You are not imagining how you’re feeling, but you are not alone. Let’s spread some joy and love together.

Get Journaling

Soon it will be a year since life as we knew it changed, and many of us are feeling that we are missing out on our lives. Some days feel endlessly long and it is hard to see any silver linings. Sometimes we have to consciously remind ourselves to be grateful and to find joy in everyday life, and a great way of doing this is through the process of journaling.

Journaling has been found to have numerous positive benefits. For example, It makes us more self-aware and allows us to identify unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviours. This gives us greater control over our lives and can help us shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one, especially about ourselves. It reduces stress and anxiety as it provides a space to write about your emotional responses to events that have happened throughout the day as a way of coping with stress and anxiety. This can help you to process what you are feeling and perhaps even explore more positive reframing options. Because we’re getting things out of our head and onto a piece of paper, it increases working memory, this works together to improve sleep.

Journaling has health benefits too as it improves the immune system and strengthens immune cells. Studies have shown it reduces symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis and one study showed that expressive writing (journaling) for only 15-20 minutes a day 3 – 5 times over the course of a 4-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver function! Journaling uses the analytical, rational left side of the brain and the creative, emotional right side of the brain. This helps promote creativity, problem-solving and improves our sense of wellbeing.

If you are considering journaling but don’t know where to begin, a gratitude journal is a good place to start. It is as simple as getting a notebook and starting to write down three things each day that you’re grateful for. Gratitude journaling shifts our attention from what is wrong to what is right. It encourages us to focus on the things that are going well and the positives that each day brings regardless of the challenges that might come with it. What we focus on we find, so this simple tool really does work to reprogram the brain to look for the positive.

Another way to start is to complete the 50 Things that Make me Happy exercise developed by Claire Holden. This exercise allows us to reflect on the things that make us happy – not just the big exciting things like overseas holidays or special treats but, more importantly perhaps, the little everyday things too. It may be the sound of birdsong or the feel of sunshine on your face. As you begin to reflect and record theses small moments of happiness you will become more conscious of them. As this consciousness increases so too will your conscious moments of happiness each day.

If you would like help in kickstarting your journaling journey we recommend you sign up here for Claire’s free 20-minute online course as an introduction to the Joy of Journaling available through her ‘Be A Better Human’ online learning platform.

Remember that journaling is for you, so don’t preoccupy yourself with managing perfect punctuation, grammar or spelling. Just write and don’t censor yourself. There is a beautiful quote by Mina Murray that sums it up best. “Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Extracts from an (Eventless) Diary

DAY A

Big discussions in our house today. Kev (my hubby) who has not been at work since the initial lockdown in March, was asked to return to his GP practice. None of the circumstances have changed – he remains a 77 year old diabetic in the times of Covid. If anything, things have got worse. But, here’s the rub. Is it better to take a calculated risk and do the thing you love or stay at home unfulfilled but safe? There are so many people out there who need him for check-ups, script repeats etc. He isn’t in the frontline where exposure is unrelenting. It took him less than 5 minutes to make the decision to return to work and his beloved patients. I was not best pleased, but for selfish reasons, because now I would also become more exposed, but on reflection I was proud of the decision. We aren’t going to live forever and isn’t it better to be able to be a meaningful contributor to the well-being of others rather than ossify in isolation?

DAY B

I have made an exciting discovery! I think I have found a new psychological disorder which I have named “Justitis.” I was the only lab rat during the observation period. These are my findings. If I have an early morning appointment (I often am on the golf course before seven), then the symptoms don’t kick in, but if there are no commitments, then “Justitis” displays its scary symptoms with gay abandon. Let me explain. I’ll get up and go to the bathroom. Thereafter, the disorder wreaks havoc with my day. On my way to the kitchen to make my cappuccino, I have to pass my study so I say to myself “I’ll just check my e-mails”. Half an hour later, I make my coffee but then I open a cupboard which “just” needs a bit of cleaning. Then I notice my plants look a bit wilted and “just” need a quick watering. And so it goes. By the time I have “just” done this and that it is midday and I am still unwashed and in my pyjamas. My brain seems to have lost its ability to prioritise! I have spoken to some of my friends who were delighted at my confession because they too suffer from the same malady to a greater or lesser extent.

DAY C

To my shock and horror I seem to have developed the habit of speaking to myself OUT LOUD! I often find myself saying “I could swear I put my cell phone on this table.” Of course it isn’t there and no amount of oath taking will make it miraculously appear on the table, but I do it anyway. Thankfully I have a pinging thing on my watch to pinpoint my phone’s location. But not all of my “lost” items have this advantage, so I spend a large portion of my day trying to find misplaced thigs. Can you imagine how “Justitis” thrives then?

DAY D

I don’t think my hearing is bad at all but I really struggle to hear what callers are saying on talk radio. 702 used to be my go to station but now I just get so frustrated because I am only hearing one side of a conversation. Also I am tired of political debates and the state of the nation shenanigans. There is an adage that when one door closes, another will open. Now am happily listening to Classic FM which is really weird for me because I have always been more of a pop adherent. I think I made an early association between classical music and sadness so I have been working hard at reconditioning myself. Surprisingly I actually recognise a lot of the music but find it hard to connect tunes with names if there are no words. Maybe I have finally grown up! Bit of a late bloomer perhaps?

Learning another language

It has been my dream/desire/wish to learn to speak isiZulu, this for several reasons, a few of which I mention here…

  1. I know that as one gets older, our old brain cells slow down/die; one of the ways of retarding that process is to learn another language – old dogs apparently can learn new tricks!
  2. My wife Michelle and I recently moved to KZN; it makes sense therefore if I was to learn a new language that isiZulu should be the one.
  3. I believe that one of the ways to bridge the racism gap in SA is to learn ‘the other’ person’s language – it not only shows enormous respect to the recipient, but also commands it.

So I did some internet research (yep even I can) and found an excellent qualified Zulu teacher called Bryan; he has moved from KZN to Vietnam of all places (the joys of ZOOM)! He is also fluent in Afrikaans, French and Spanish and is currently learning Vietnamese while teaching English there. Most impressive!

My question to him was “How have you learnt so many languages and yet you are not even 40?” Bryan’s methodology (and what he uses/employs with me) he explained, is called Comprehensive Input (CI) – and I quote:

“Comprehensible Input is meaningful, compelling interaction in the target language which is the KEY to acquisition. It’s the way language gets language into heads, and stays there so that eventually it will be used it to communicate.”

Simply put CI means: dedicated and regular hours to ‘hearing’ – Bryan has given me many links to Zulu movies, narrated stories with pictures; to ‘reading’ – I buy the local Zulu Newspaper once a month plus Bryan sends me more reading; to ‘speaking’ – wherever possible I speak to Zulu folk e.g. at the garage, at the shops, with the gardener, with security guards… explaining that I am learning. Everyone helps!

What joy – not the old classroom method of laborious grammar classes, although some grammar has to be explained during ‘class’ time with Bryan.

A New Long Life – Book Review

A New Long Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott
A framework for flourishing in a changing world.

This book was launched during lockdown, and I read it during the month of May. It was not written with COVID-19 in mind, but it certainly has escalated some of the ideas, and it was a great navigation tool for me to use during this time.

This is a second book by these authors. The first one was the 100-year life. The first book focused on longevity and how this is impacting individuals, business, government, and society. The second book includes how technology is impacting the way we live and has some great ideas to use as you navigate your own life currently. This is leading to a changing landscape of jobs and careers for the future. Technologies are not just changing jobs but also how we live and work. COVID-19 certainly accelerated this process as so many of us found ourselves communicating more online and via platforms like Zoom.

Lifespan and life stages are changing. Many over the age of 65 are living longer, healthier lives. What does it mean NOW to be old? Younger generations will need to structure and finance for a 100-year life.

The old story was the linear story of education, work, retirement, and death. Three stages. This story is now shifting. Longer life, technology disruption- creates more transitions. This moves us to a multi-stage life. It needs to change the questions we ask and how we narrate our story.

Looking at your story and designing future possibilities can create several paths. This is your crossroads moment. The past is known. We need to imagine the future. Each of us is unique. We all arrive at this point with a number of factors to consider and are the collective of our past. We need to imagine age as malleable to design a different future. Age needs to be disrupted. People are living longer, and how they age is changing. Age is influenced by your actions and beliefs

For your age to be malleable, you need to focus on making significant investments in your future through learning new skills, building relationships and investing in your health.

We each age uniquely, shaped by our behaviour, environment, circumstances, and genetics.

The book brings together three main areas we need to focus on in the design of our lives. Our lives have all been impacted, and this brings time for reflection and asking some questions may help each of us to reimagine a new future.

Narrate
Navigating a life story and creating a narrative that brings meaning to life and helps to navigate the choices we need to make.

  • What will my job be if any?
  • What skills will I need?
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it mean to be old?

Explore
Learning and transforming that enable us to successfully make the transitions that will be part of our lives

  • How do I explore the new options?
  • How will I learn the new skills I require?
  • How do I experiment with change and navigate through a life with more transitions?

Relate
Connecting deeply and building and sustaining meaningful relationships.

  • How do I respond to changing family structures?
  • What will a world with more older people and fewer children look like?
  • How do we learn to bring generational harmony?

For each of us, this is a personal journey of reflection. It can also be a wonderful way to start and work together as a couple or even as a family. These new macro trends are changing the way we need to think, plan, and live our lives. We are social pioneers in this space. Our parents and grandparents did not have the privilege of this longevity or the technology that is driving change. “A new long-life” will take you on an exciting journey. Be curious, engage and experiment.

Ten ways to improve your technology skills

How to improve your technology skills for the world we find ourselves in

The world changed overnight and forced us to isolate. This impacted us in different ways, depending on our work and life scenarios. We have all realised that improving our technology and digital skills can help us better navigate this new world we find ourselves in.

We own digital tools. Our computers, smart phones and tablets. Smart technology has certainly made it easy to navigate. We learn new skills in different ways.

  1. Use a manual or instruction on Google or You-tube and self-learn.
  2. Ask a family member to guide you- often frustrating due to generational differences.
  3. Use a coach and work systematically through the process you are trying to conquer.
  4. Attend a class to understand the concept or skill and then go and practice.

Our fears or lack of knowledge can be frustrating and challenging. These skills are new for many of us and not growing up with technology can be frustrating. The media often feed us enough to convince us not to try. Being empowered and making your own decision is a much better strategy.

Here are ten ideas to try:

  1. Look for podcasts in your area of interest to listen to.
  2. Download books on Audible.
  3. Use a platform like Zoom to engage with family and friends.
  4. Join a workshop online in your area of interest.
  5. Chat to your grandchildren.
  6. Do all your banking, buying and paying of accounts online.
  7. Start a blog
  8. Join an online church service
  9. Learn remote skills to work from home
  10. Build a business and develop your online presence using social media.

The lists are endless. The challenge is once you know how, so many new opportunities will emerge.

Staying relevant and connected is critical as we age. Technology has shifted the world we live in. The pandemic has forced us indoors. A perfect time to learn these new skills and open new and exciting opportunities.

At 50plus-skills we help our members to learn, serve and earn and many of these skills are learnt collectively through our online events. You are welcome to connect with us if you would like to become a member or need coaching. www.50plus-skills.co.za

Navigating the new normal

I, like many of you, entered 2020 full of hope for the new year and all the opportunities it would bring. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that three months in we would find ourselves in a state of turmoil. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a new normal, which is unlike anything we have ever seen before. Our lives have turned upside down, and we’ve all had to put measures in place to adapt. Social distancing, online schooling and remote working have become the norm in the space of a few days.

The past week at Chartered was spent making the necessary plans and adjustments to set up our staff members to work from home. It’s been a hive of activity installing the essential software and providing the required training to all our staff to ensure that we can stay connected with you, our clients, and with each other.

We are working tirelessly finding ways to stay in touch. This will be done through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webinars and Podcasts. We will be sending out detailed step by step guidelines explaining how to navigate these new systems. It’s a learning curve for all of us, and we promise to support you every step of the way. I often joke with the team at Chartered that if they can teach me, they can teach anyone.

There have been moments this past week, where I have felt completely overwhelmed by the uncertainty of what lies ahead. A hundred scenarios playing out in my head. When this happens, I stop myself and recite the serenity prayer – God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I have always found immense comfort from this prayer in times of uncertainty. So, what do I have control of? I can socially distance, I can find things to be grateful for every day, and I can be open to the learning opportunities that our new working environment will bring.

The weeks and months ahead are going to be difficult. They are going to require all of us to dig deep. I encourage you to use this time at home to practise self-care. Have longer, deeper conversations with the people you love, rest and read. Most importantly check in with people, we need each other now more than ever. Please keep in touch, your comments and ideas are always appreciated. We are all doing the best we can right now, we don’t know when it’s going to end – but we know it will end.

Warm Regards

How to join Retire Successfully Facebook Group

How to create a Facebook account

If you’re having a problem creating a Facebook account:
To let us know about the problem you’re experiencing while creating a Facebook account, you can fill out this form.

If you’re having a problem logging in:

How to join the closed Retiremeant™ Facebook group

Chartered Wealth Solutions encourages all clients to join the closed RetiremeantTM Facebook group. It is a platform where you as clients may interact, share ideas and stories

STEP ONE:
Once you have logged into your Facebook account click on the “search icon”.



STEP TWO:
Once you have selected the “search icon”, type in “retire successfully” and then select (click on) “retire successfully”.



STEP THREE:
You will then be directed to the following page with the option to select (click on) “Retire Successfully” – the official Retire Successfully Facebook Page.



STEP FOUR:
Once you have landed on the official “Retire Successfully” Facebook page you will see the “Like” icon – select (click on) the icon. By ‘liking’ the Retire Successfully Facebook Page, you will gain access to all the content that is shared on this page.



STEP FIVE:
Scroll down on the “Retire Successfully” Facebook Page – you will come across the “RetiremeantTM Community Private Group”. Select (click on) “Join Group”.



STEP SIX:
You will then be directed to the “RetiremeantTM Community Private Group” Page where you will then have to answer the question: “Are you a Chartered Wealth Solutions Client?” Write your answer in the text box and select (click on) “Submit”.



PLEASE NOTE: You will ONLY be accepted onto the “RetiremeantTM Community Private Group” if you are a client.

PLEASE NOTE
If you have any further queries please contact holly@charteredwealth.co.za or call (011) 502 2800
Teams Featured Image

Using Microsoft Teams

Chartered Wealth Solutions looks forward to meeting with you on Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is an easy and simple communication platform that allows us to catch up with you over a video call.

Please follow the simple steps below, to get your Team video call up and running:

  1. You will receive an email that looks like the image below. Select the underlined text, “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting”:
  1. The link will re-direct you to a screen, that will allow you to “Join conversation”:
  1. Select the option that says “Join on the web instead”:
  1. Teams will then prompt you to use your microphone and camera
    If asked to use mic and video, select “Allow”:
  1. Your meeting will now launch and you will be presented with the following screen:
  • Type in your name on the blue line and select “Join now”
  • Wait here and your planner should let you into your meeting shortly:
  1. When your meeting starts, you will see your controls, in the middle of the screen:

The Controls mean the following:

Video On/Off
Microphone On/Off
Share content
Advanced settings
Chat/type
Manage participants
End call
  1. To enter the full screen for your planner to see you better, click on the 3 dots, shown below:
  • When the three dots show, select “Enter full screen”

If for any reason you have audio and visual problems

  • Select the three dots again and select “Show the device settings”, a side bar will appear, that will allow you to check for the correct audio and camera:

If for any reason, Teams is not compatible with your web browser, the below image will appear:

  • Select the option to “Join in Microsoft Edge”
  • There may be additional options that will pop up:
  • Click on “Open link” in either Microsoft Edge or Chrome

Microsoft Edge

  • When the pop up appears, select “Yes” to the use of your webcam and microphone
  • You will then be asked to join the meeting, select the “Join now” option:
Teams Image 12

Your Microsoft Team meeting should now be underway.

PLEASE NOTE
If you have any further queries please contact holly@charteredwealth.co.za or call (011) 502 2800

Staying in touch

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting our everyday lives in multiple different ways, things are changing at such a rapid pace that it’s impossible to know what to expect next.

As we navigate these unchartered waters, please be reassured that communicating with you remains our top priority. Listed below are the communication channels we will be using. All content will be adapted to ensure you only receive up to date relevant information. Should you not be receiving any of these updates please email info@charteredwealth.co.za.

Inflight Newsletter

While traditionally sent out once a month, this will now be sent on a regular basis and will continue to offer relevant insights into RetiremeantTM and ways to engage the Wheel of Balance: Work, Give Back, Relationships, Money, Learn, Health, Purpose and Play, while at home.

The Beacon

We will continue to send thought provoking articles written by our Directors and RetiremeantTM Specialists on what is happening in the economy, your investments, and up to date information on how Chartered is here to assist and support you. In the past this was sent out quarterly, however it will be sent more regularly.

Navigating the Tides

Market updates will be communicated weekly.

RetiremeantTM Tips

We will continue sending weekly RetiremeantTM tips with ideas and supporting articles on how to stay safe, courageous and kind during the Coronavirus.

Webinars

Life Planning and Financial reviews and updates will be held via webinars. We will also use this platform to run workshops on how to connect with each other while we are practicing social distancing.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams

This will allow us to have regular virtual meetings with clients. Step by step guidelines explaining how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams will be sent out and communicated via webinars.

Podcasts

Kim Potgieter will share regular podcasts covering relevant topics to keep us supported during this uncertain time.

Retire Successfully Facebook page

Please like our Facebook Page. We share regular, informative and inspirational content here – this is an open group.

RetiremeantTM Community Facebook Page

Our private Facebook group, specifically for our Chartered Wealth Family, is a place where our clients can connect and share tips and advice with each other.

Chartered Wealth App

Keep an eye out for our app, launching soon.

Let’s stay in touch and connected.