When we think ahead, make financial decisions, set plans in motion, and consider our health and care plans, most of us are thinking about the practical benefits. We’re thinking about how we, today, can make our life in the present – and the lives of our loved ones – as simple and straightforward as possible.
While the practical benefits of planning ahead cannot be underestimated, it’s rarely a simple task – especially if your present-day life is incredibly busy. If you find yourself with a free ten minutes, convincing yourself to look ahead and start planning for old age is incredibly challenging – but could there be benefits, outside of the practical, to doing so?
As I write this, I’ve just come back from visiting my dad in his care home.
His descent from an active contributing member of society to a frail old man beset with stroke damage and dementia, was slow but steady. Even so, it was quite difficult for my step mum, my sister and me to deal with the various steps and changes when they came, and it puts things into perspective how a little bit of planning for a future that most of us will have to face, can make things so much easier in the long run.
From experience, you never expect these things to happen, until one day, suddenly, they do. And then you wish that you had made some plans for them.
Changing what constitutes “self care”
The concept of self care has become incredibly popular over recent years, with countless experts advancing the idea that we all need to take time off and focus on ourselves every once in a while. For the most part, the importance of self care has been well-embraced, and now a quick Google search for “self-care ideas” will elicit millions of results.
Much of the advice about self-care is focused on taking care of you right now; taking some time off to do something fun, treating yourself, taking a yoga class, having a bath surrounded by scented candles, and so on. As beneficial as these ideas may be, the benefits they offer do tend to be temporary: very few offer genuine benefits away from the self-care activity itself. They’re short-term fixes, necessary and helpful, but focused on your experience of the moment.
It’s therefore worth considering whether your self-care could encompass ideas that spread their reach a little father, beyond the immediate respite and instead, easing your entire life – and it’s in pursuit of this goal that planning ahead as a form of self-care comes into its own.
The benefits of planning for the future
When you plan for the future, it’s easy to see your actions as helping out your future self – but you’re also helping your present-day self. You’re satisfying the nagging voice in the back of your mind that reminds you that you have things to do, actions to take, plans to put into place. You’re essentially buying yourself peace of mind; a way to reassure yourself, every single day, that everything is in hand.
When viewed through this lens, straightening your finances, researching care homes such as Porthaven, sorting through legal documentation, and even making a will can be seen very differently. Rather than these tasks being boring, dull demands on a schedule that is already full, these tasks can become treats; little gifts to yourself that allow you to feel centred, prepared for the future, ready for any challenges tomorrow may hold – and thus you’re all the more free to enjoy the moment.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
If you, like so many others, have previously found planning for the future to be a tiresome drag, then changing your perception of why you need to do it is definitely worth trying. Ultimately, knowing that the future is secure for you and your family is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself – both now, and across the years to come.