COVID 19 – Coping with uncertainty by having a sense of purpose

For all of us in the world and even more so those of us in our “later” years we are feeling very challenged at the moment. We are facing physical isolation, financial loss and threatened health. So how do we find purpose during this time?

While most of us who are retired are unlikely to be on the frontline of saving lives or making decisions about business and government, we can utilise the same powers of passion and commitment in our lives to make us happier, more satisfied people. For many of us, our job, if we liked it, gave us a purpose and goals to strive for. When we retire, our life changes and it’s common for lots of people to struggle finding a purpose, apart from just trying to enjoy themselves.

Researchers agree that purpose in life increases overall well-being. As Dr. Philip Pizzo of Stanford University, wrote in a recent piece for the Journal of the American Medical Association, “having a purpose, seeking social engagement, and fostering wellness through positive lifestyle choices are important in reducing morbidity and mortality and improving the life journey.”

We often look at purpose as needing to help others, but if that’s not possible physically for you, think of other ways to fill up your days. Think of this time as a great opportunity to really explore “retirement”.

Here are some ideas that may appeal to you:

  1. Communicate.Connect with family, friends and colleagues, particularly with those who are alone.
  2. Volunteer. Help others by reaching out to community organizations to offer assistance. Much of this can be online.
  3. Learn.Educating ourselves can foster a sense of purpose. Now we finally have the chance to catch up on our reading, and even join virtual book clubs! Online courses , virtual museum tours, music lessons and performances, poetry readings and cooking classes are all available.
  4. Exercise.Set daily goals and do what’s possible. The health benefits are obvious, but fitness goals can also be a manifestation of purposeful living.

As older people, we may be in isolation for the long haul, so, developing your own response to the situation and re-awakening your own sense of purpose can help make this a time for reflection and renewed purpose and passion to head back into our changed world post COVID 19.

To read more about how to find purpose in retirement check out the books on this website

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