Living purposefully post-COVID: How Kiwi mindsets have shifted

Even though we’ve been relatively sheltered from the worst of the pandemic, the past two years have still been a wild ride.

After going through something like that, it would be surprising if your mindset didn’t shift. That’s why we took a closer look at how we’re thinking these days and weren’t surprised to find that things have changed for many of us.

In our Living Purposefully study, we found that the majority (72.3%) reported at least some shift in mindset, which included things like prioritising family time, and spending less time sweating the small stuff.

And for 18%, that mindset shift includes prioritising themselves, and  putting more of a focus on doing the things they wanted.

Ways you can prioritise yourself

So how can you live more purposefully when it comes to putting yourself first? It’s something many of us struggle with when we are so used to giving our time and care to those around us.

The first step is to take one step back. Stop trying to rush and instead live within the moment. Be mindful that life can be messy and challenging at times, but there’s happiness to be found in taking a second to simply breathe it all in.

We all know we probably need to move our bodies more – and often enjoy it when we do. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to destress. Taking just half an hour a day to get some exercise in is an excellent way to put your physical and mental wellbeing at the top of the priority list.

Another idea is to venture into new waters and try your hand at a hobby, spending time doing something you enjoy can also improve your mental wellbeing.

Think back on those times in life when you wished you had the time to try something out. Now’s your chance. Get that dive certificate, learn how to decorate cakes like a pro, master the art of the perfect mini-golf hole-in-one…whatever it is, get out there and give it a shot! If nothing else, it’ll be a good laugh.

Finally, you can put yourself first by putting your health at the top of your list, which includes eating well. Give yourself the time to prepare healthy, delicious meals, don’t let health food myths derail you, and rediscover the fun in trying new, healthy recipes.

Shifting priorities over the past two years

As well as putting ourselves first more often, we have also been shifting priorities in other areas, too.

For many, that means family time. Our Living Purposefully study found that 39.9% are more focused on spending time with family when they can, with just over two-thirds (67.5%) saying that family get-togethers are the most important social events on the calendar.

And it’s not just family we want to connect with. A quarter of over 50s surveyed, said they want to participate in club or community group activities as things get back to normal, and two out of five (38.2%) want to prioritise their social life more.

On top of building those all-important personal connections, many have also had a mindset change on dealing with life’s little annoyances. Almost half (42.6%) said they are now learning not to sweat the small stuff.

But that’s not to say we’re less aware of the need to adapt and prepare for other curveballs in the future. A little over a third (36.1%) are focused on building resilience, and a little over half (50.6%) are looking to save more money for times ahead. Then there’s a quarter who said, at the time of the survey, they plan to or will organise a will and testament this year.

Focusing on what you want in life

Overall, we’re focusing a little more on what we want in life, and a little less on the things that don’t matter so much.

Our survey suggests that the main goal is now to accumulate enough savings to be financially independent, with almost half (46.4%) saying that was a milestone for their senior years.

But hot on that goal’s heels was ticking off bucket list items and travel, whether that’s here in New Zealand or gallivanting off overseas. A little more than a third of those surveyed said this was a goal they planned on achieving during retirement.

And perhaps least surprising of all, after a global pandemic, is the number of people thinking about the importance of their own health. Well over half of those surveyed (58.2%) said that their re-evaluation of life post-pandemic included their health.

The good news is that 88% of adults reported they were in good health in the last annual health survey, but there’s certainly ways we can take better care of ourselves.

Despite the hardships of the past couple of years, the shifting mindset of everyday Kiwis shows an incredible level of resilience and growth. If nothing else, being more focused on spending time with the family, prioritising one’s own health and wellbeing, and being more prepared for the future can only be a silver lining to the COVID cloud.

A big part of being prepared for the future and looking after our loved ones can include organising life insurance. With flexible cover, New Zealand Seniors can provide you with peace of mind, knowing your nearest and dearest will be looked after should the worst occur.

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