Will the menopause ruin your life? Here’s what you need to know

The menopause is big news at the moment, thanks to Davina’s candid account of her menopause experience over on Channel 4 a few months back. For those of us hitting our 40s, you might already wondering if the menopause will ruin your life.

It’s a harsh reality that the menopause descending on us one day becomes pretty much avoidable. No longer will we be laughing at women being attached to their wide open freezers trying to surpress the cruelty of hot flashes because one day – probably sooner than we think – those women will be us.

The truth is, I am actually completely bricking it at the prospect of the menopause wrecking my life. I am scared of being a foggy, dried up, manica whose life seems to be swung into complete calamity thanks to the change in hormones. I’m just not ready to go there yet, and I am beyond frightened.

And I am frightened because everyone’s experience seems to be so different! Some women I have spoken to seem to have breezed through it without so much as batting an eyelash. Others on the other hand have pretty much been falling apart at the seams. I hope and pray I will not be the latter, but knowing my luck with hormones I’m banking on becoming a wailing banshee, who can not sleep or basically function, drenched in menopause induced sweat. Please God don’t let it be so.

So will the menopause ruin your life? I’ve asked Teresa Townsend, Menopause and Mental Fitness Coach, to join forces with us in this little explainer – or should I say – spoiler about the menopause.

Menopause: The basics

Every woman will go through a menopause stage (unless her ovaries were surgically removed before puberty), some with little to no symptoms, and some with many.

Perimenopause can last upwards of 10 years. Hot flashes and night sweats on average last about seven and a half years and they can last upwards of 14 years. It’s variable and, of course, depends on factors like genetics and health.

It’s often misunderstood – even by healthcare professionals

Since perimenopause arrives at a time of life when many different events are at play – and because symptoms are so numerous – it can be misdiagnosed by GPs and other healthcare professionals. Often women “report suddenly getting panic attacks from nowhere”, are often thought to be depressed or suffering heart problems, when really it is their fluctuating hormones that are responsible. Another thing a lot of women are told is that it isn’t the menopause because they’re still having periods, again just misunderstanding what menopause actually is. Some women are put on anxiety medication instead of HRT and this is why this petition below is so important.

In the UK #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign is aiming for 150,000 signatures on a petition to parliament demanding mandatory menopause training for all GPs, and menopause policies in every workplace.

Only in September 2020 was the subject of Menopause added to the UK school curriculum.

During menopause, approximately 85% report experiencing symptoms of varying type and severity.

Premature menopause can happen in early teens or 20s – about one in 1000 women reach menopause before the age of 30.

Challenges at work

In a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel Development survey in the U.K. found that 59% of women experiencing menopausal symptoms said that it had a negative impact on their work and difficult to cope with their tasks. Another study of nearly 900 professional women found that lowered confidence, poor concentration and poor memory associated with menopause symptoms caused significant difficulties at work.

Your “bad” cholesterol may go up

Turns out estrogen does a lot more than help regulate our periods: It keeps LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) low and HDL cholesterol (the good kind) high. So, as estrogen decreases during menopause, LDL tends to rise and HDL stays the same. The good news, that if you lead a healthy lifestyle as you approach menopause you can prevent these fluctuations. What’s more, making sure you get plenty of exercise and that you’re eating a heart-healthy diet are two lifestyle changes that can go a long way toward countering these cholesterol changes during menopause.

You may feel less social

If you’ve always been an extrovert, you may be surprised when you suddenly feel like spending more time alone. “Menopause is an introspective period, which means you might experience an emotional shift that could affect your social life,” says Holly Lucille, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Los Angeles. “Don’t just jump to the assumption that you’re depressed. This newfound introspection should be honored.” At long last, this is often a time in a woman’s life when she starts to put herself first. “Prior to menopause, women are more likely to make sure that their kids, partner, parents, co-workers—you name it—get what they need, and only then does she take care of herself,” says Barb Dehn, RN, a nurse practitioner in Mountain View, Calif., and author of The Hot Guide to Cool Sexy Menopause. “During menopause, many women start prioritizing themselves and start thinking about what they want to do.”

The emotional symptoms can sometimes be worse than the physical symptoms

The emotions can be really horrible and take you by surprise! A lot of women find they get angry, irritable, short-tempered and apathetic. Be aware, for some women, the emotional side of it can be worse than the physical symptoms that you’re experiencing. 

menopause ruin your life

The following menopausal symptoms are not as common, but are also usually caused by the same hormonal shifts:

  • Forgetfulness, confusion, loss of focus, and difficulty concentrating: Decrease of estrogen and progesterone can provoke cortisol levels into becoming erratic, resulting in ‘brain fog’ and slower cognitive skill function.
  • Bloating: During perimenopause and early menopause, flagging hormones can create bloating. This often disappears when levels permanently stabilize.
  • Sleep problems: Dwindling hormones can trigger sleep disturbances such as interrupted rest, insomnia, waking up too early, or sleeping too long.
  • Burning tongue: This condition, simulates a fiery sensation in the mouth and tongue in about 40% of menopausal women. It can create a metallic taste, dryness, soreness, and tingling and is believed to be activated by a drop in estrogen.
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence or frequent urination: Significant changes to pelvic muscles damaged or weakened during childbirth, or waning estrogen can prompt more bathroom visits.
  • Thinning or loss of hair and brittle nails: Increase in androgens (male hormones) spur shrinkage in hair follicles. Bald patches, thinning, and undesirable ‘peach fuzz’ may develop, along with dry, brittle cracked nails.
  • Digestive problems: Constipation, indigestion, and gas can be attributed to cortisol levels affected by hormone reduction.
  • Headaches or migraines: If women experienced headaches before and during menstruation, this may continue throughout perimenopause and menopause. These often decrease or completely disappear after menopause.
  • Weight gain: Estrogen loss prompts fat redistribution to the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and hips, resulting in that dreaded ‘middle age spread’.
  • Dizziness: Hormone fluctuations can disrupt efficient body and organ function, including the inner ear’s ability to provide balance, accounting for menopausal dizzy spells.
  • Increase in allergies: Ebbing hormones during menopause can accelerate histamine production, introducing new allergies or magnifying old ones.
  • Itchy skin, rash: Lubrication lost through lowered estrogen can spread throughout the body, contributing to dry skin, chafing from fabrics, and unpleasant reactions to soap and perfumes.
  • Breast sensitivity and pain (mastalgia): Hormonal spikes cause fluid buildup in the breasts, resulting in tenderness, swelling, and
  • Arthritis, joint, bone, and muscle aches: Estrogen minimizes inflammation. Loss of it intensifies aches, pains, stiffness, and
  • Irregular heartbeat and palpitations: Precipitated by hot flashes, these frightening sensations cause many women concern that they may be getting heart disease. Usually, this is not the case
  • Electric shocks: Often, these precursors to hot flashes radiate from areas on the head or extremities. It is theorized that these mild to severe jolts of pain can be ascribed to hormonal imbalances affecting the hypothalamus, or to neurons misfiring in the nervous system. Medical intervention is often necessary.
  • Change in body odour: Urinary or fecal odors arising from incontinence, pungent perspiration scents from hot flashes and night sweats, hormonal fluctuations affecting the thyroid’s impact on vaginal PH, producing a ‘fishy’ odor which can cause noticeable, unpleasant smells.
  • Tingling sensation throughout the body (paresthesia): Sensations like prickling, stinging, ‘pins and needles’, ‘crawling’ feelings, or numbness are experienced and are linked to the lubrication lost through estrogen drop.
  • Voice changes: As estrogen and progesterone diminish and testosterone rises, hoarseness, lowered pitch, and vocal fatigue after speaking too long are often overlooked menopausal symptoms.

Hormonal changes during menopause can contribute to several serious conditions in women, including:

  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can be life-threatening. Estrogen and progesterone dictate your cells’ insulin behavior. Disrupted hormonal balances weaken that message, leading to blood sugar level chaos, and then diabetes. Complications such as heart attack and stroke may follow.
  • High cholesterol: Waning estrogen boosts harmful LDL cholesterol and decreases good HDL cholesterol, inviting a fatty buildup in the arteries. This can lead to stroke and heart attack.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): Plummeting hormones weaken the body’s resistance to several dangerous health risks, including those of salt and the rapid rise of a woman’s body mass index (BMI).
  • Irregular heartbeat (arterial fibrillation): Moderate symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and shortness of breath. More severe cases can develop into blockages which can trigger stroke, heart disease, and even death.
  • Osteoporosis: Bones become thinner, fragile, and more brittle from lack of estrogen and can lead to fractures and breakage.
menopause ruin your life

Will the menopause ruin your life?

For some women the symptoms can be debilitating. It’s more challenging because it’s not a disease or illness as such but comes with so many symptoms that make you feel ill.

If you’re having hot flashes – it’s highly likely you’re worried it may happen in an important or when you’re out with family.

If you’re not sleeping well – it’s highly likely you’re going to feel tired, be more snappy and not performing at your best – then relationships/health/performance are all affected.

Constant headaches or feeling emotional – it’s highly likely you feel on the edge and more anxious – again adding a strain on health etc.

The combination of anxiety, sleep issues and hot flashes is going to be pushing you even harder.

Some people have a few symptoms, some people have lots and it can vary day to day. So knowing how to manage your emotions, self-care, slowing down, time management and having lots of support all will aid to making this time easier.

With all that said however, the menopause can actually be a great opportunity for women to look at their life differently.

Chances are you’ve not put herself first – you’ve been saying yes, when you should be saying no – you think you can do it all but you can’t. Looking after your own needs is not selfish – you’ve been rushing around and now it’s time to put yourself first and this is your chance to do so.

Coaching yourself through the menopause

A lady at the peak of her menopause was having panic attacks- feeling like she’s going crazy, having hot flashes and struggling to cope with her mood changes. Then on top of this she’s got a demanding job, three children, husband, house to manage and so on. All she wants to do is sleep and rest but she can’t.

Sound familiar? First of all it’s time to look at her self-care – very basic but it’s amazing how many women still don’t look after themselves. Water – healthy foods – exercise – sleep – rest – time for herself – general medical checkups. Make sure syou goes to your doctor to be checked out, as you may need HRT, vitamins, etc.

Then look at how you’re managing your day – you’re probably not, the day is running you. Find ways to slow down – do you need to delegate some work? Do you need a cleaner? Do you need to ask for help? You do not need to be a martyr. Do you need to say NO? Are you putting her energy into the right things?

All these questions and many more will help you to prioritise and streamline your day.

This basically means you’ll feel more in control and lighter, which is what you need with all your symptoms. This will ripple out to other areas of her life.

Will the menopause ruin your life? Then time to get your life sorted

The menopause stage is the perfect time to get other things in your life sorted, as your tolerance levels are too low to deal with BS. This time we look at habits/people/thoughts that are draining. Declutter inside and out. Maybe it’s time to let go of some relationships and thoughts that no longer serve you. Maybe you need to let go of doing everything for everyone. Maybe you need to start saying no and start saying yes to yourself. Maybe you don’t want to be the rescuer, giver anymore. Maybe you don’t want to follow the rules anymore and live your life your way. This time is like a new chapter beginning where you don’t have to conform anymore and you can be your authentic self. Menopause is the perfect catalyst to say no more, I’ve had enough and begin to live again.

Are you worried about the impact of the menopause on your life? Comment below with your thoughts or experiences and follow us on Instagram here where we’ll be keeping the conversation around the menopause going.

photo created by jcomp, wayhomestudio, benzoix, love photo created by freepik

Style yourself confident with these Autumn fashion tips

Despite the fact that you have probably worn only an eighth of your summer wardrobe this year, it’s already time to make the big switch over to your Autumn threads. As the season changes, it can often leave us in a state of flux as to what to wear. That’s why we’re sharing these easy Autumn fashion tips to help make a subtle transition that will leave you looking stylish with minimal fuss.

Blend heritage and quirkiness

The top ten colours for the season include shades of blue, yellow, orange, green, red, pink and brown, with shades ranging from an uplifting orange to a delicate pink and even a grassy green, with a mix that is playful yet practical, according to global trend forecasting and colour consultancy, Pantone.

So how does this Autumn fashion palette manifest itself into something for us real life, 40 somethings?

Sarah Heron, Personal Colour & Style Coach & Director at True Colours with Sarah Heron recommends ditsy floral prints which make the transition from summer to autumn easy. Simply add brown boots and a denim or biker jacket and you’re good to go. A fringed bag also adds a modern twist. Try adding a quilted jacket to a midi skirt for a new season twist with pumps or peep toe boots until cold tootsies demand a full on ankle boot. Meanwhile, a longline sweater in zebra print or a colour block topa are your perfect sidekicks for for cooler days.

Get the look with:

Make a statement with cut outs, faux fur and upcycled bags

Cut outs are big news this Autumn, according to Shazia Saleem, founder of Pop London fun, which champions of fun, sustainable, feminine fashion and original designer quality clothing and accessories. But if the idea of the cold shoulder or an exposed flank (in Autumn – HOW???!) leaves you inwardly shuddering then there is an elegant solution to work this trend – the keyhole! A keyhole top is a fantastic Autumn fashion staple that you can wear for both casual and elegant occasions. It is pretty, easy to style with skirts, trousers, and jeans and isn’t too drafty for our climate either.

Similarly, faux fur is going to be everywhere this Autumn. Think artificial fur that is cosier and furier than fur itself. To be bang on trend, exaggerated faux fur looks are the way to go. Although leopard is in yet again this year, dalmatian print makes a great alternative if you’re keen to switch things up.

Upcycled bags are also having a moment. Look out for bags which play tribute to the circular economy making your accessory of choice a more sustainable option. Think designs that are practical and fun, using recycled materials and make-do-and-mend methods. Pop London’s Shimla upcycled bags (below) tick all the boxes with one-off styles made using antique and vintage embroideries and upcycled leather.

Get the look with:

  • Dalmatian faux fur coat, £110
  • Organic cotton polo neck with keyhole and belt detail, £59 also available in black, light gold and green
  • Harris Tweed XXL bag in houndstooth, £250

all from Pop London

Sequins for going Out Out and stepping into a Fantasy World

For those who are looking to dress up to the max, Natasha Edge, Personal Stylist at Appearance and Attitude is here to introduce you to the Out Out trend. Think sequined, glittery, flared, shimmery, skin-bearing belters that make you go “Can I really wear that?” before you remember you can wear whatever you damn well like.

Below are some examples of how to wear sequins both day and night – because sparkle isn’t just for the evening. Plus did you know that wearing sequins or sparkle near your face makes you look younger – the light reflects onto your skin and brightens your complexion! So it’s a win win.

Meanwhile, Natasha reports that fashion designers are hot under the Regency-era collar. We can blame Bridgerton for a few of the sexier Autumn fashion trends that dominated the autumn catwalks, namely very sheer gowns embroidered with sequins, bows, and satin roses. Here are a few high street versions that are easy to wear and style.

Get the looks with:

Strong Suits and shirt dressing

With so many of us returning to the office soon having spent over a year hunched over our laptops at the kitchen table, it’s no surprise that suiting dominated the autumn/winter 2021 catwalks. Natasha advises that it’s all about flared shapes and bold colours, with both jackets and trousers exploiting a more relaxed silhouette. Got your eye on a zesty lemon yellow blazer? Get the trews too, and even consider a bag and shoes to match.

Moving onto shirts, this season’s take on shirt dressing is all about layering. So how to rock this Autumn fashion look? Natasha recommends getting your favourite crisp white shirt and simply wear it beneath a dress. It’s that simple. Whether your dress is strapless, v-neck, round-neck, or a tight bustier-style worn around the waist, the layered collar will add a chic, formal dimension to an otherwise more relaxed silhouette.

Get the looks with:

Channel your inner American

According to fashion expert Carolyn Rubido, another key look for this Autumn is the classic Americana style. Think the Ralph Lauren old money fashion look with lots of brown leather, forest greens, classic neutral tones, burnt reds, navy blues and off whites. Your inspiration here for this Autumn fashion look? Pine trees and woodlands, a fireplace in a chateau (we wish!), horses and hound dogs. Must haves to nail this aestehtic include cowboy boots, a brown leather jacket and some dad jeans!

Get the look with:

Which of these Autumn fashion looks do you think you’ll try this season? Do share in a comment below and follow us on Instagram where we love to talk all things fashion over 40 here.

Cover picture:Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

40 things to do now that you’re 40

So now that you’re 40, what exactly does that change? Some might say nothing, but there is a feeling that perhaps we have less time to do what we wanted before – that time is becoming more precious. While it’s all too easy to have an existential or mid-life crisis at this point, instead of having a freak out, we say it’s to do what you’ve always wanted to do but have never done!

With that in mind- for your inspiration – we’ve put together this list of 40 things to do now that’s your 40. Because now is the time to live it baby!

40 things to do now that you are 40

1. Do something jaw-dropping

….that will have everyone in your family talking about you.

2. Embark on a really bizarre hobby

…along the lines of soap carving, making snow globes, beetle fighting or mooing (yes really it’s a thing!). More idea on weird hobbies here.

3. Drive your dream car

Can’t afford one? No shame, go and hire one for the day instead.

4. Try a watersport

…if you haven’t already – think windsurfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding or jet skiing for the ultimate in adrenaline rushes.

5. Take flight

Book a helicopter or hot air balloon trip.

now that you're 40

6. Woman-up

…and go on the scariest ride possible at a theme park

7. Unleash your inner dare devil

Do a sky-dive, bunjee jump or abseil if you’ve always wanted to but still not ticked it off your bucket list.

8. Sleep under the stars

Go camping/glamping, roast marshmellows over a fire, sing camp songs, make breakfast on a camping stove…I am always amazed at how many people say they have still never done so.

9. Rediscover where you live

Make like a tourist for the day where you live and see it with a pair of fresh eyes.

10. Sort your s*** out

Have therapy and sort out any unresolved issues you’ve dragged with you through life – or take them to the grave with you.

11. Feel the fear and do it anyway

Knock your biggest fears on the head – whether it’s a fear of heights, spiders, snakes with either exposure therapy or hypnotherapy.

12. Release your inner child

Do something ridiculous like sliding down the bannister, dressing up in fancy dress for no particular reason, play Twister, have a go on your child’s skateboard…..

13. Bring out the entertainer in you

Learn some good jokes and a party trick or two if you don’t have some up your sleeve already.

14. Love yourself

Have a date with yourself whether it be to an art gallery, bar or restaurant. Learn to love yourself. You need to live with her for the rest of your life.

15. Find joy in movement

Learn how to dance – I mean really dance! – whether it be ballroom, salsa, tango or belly! Even a bear can learn to dance, and so can you!

now that you're 40

16. Make history

Create a time capsule and bury it somewhere in your garden. Make a note to dig it up in five years time.

17. Reconnect with your younger self

Write a letter to your younger self telling her everything you would ever want to.

18. Discover your inner mixologist

Learn how to make a decent cocktail if you don’t know how to already.

19. Stop dreaming, start doing!

Push the button on whatever you’ve been dreaming about doing….and do it!

20. Be a hero

Let go of your ego, be heroic and initiate the change you want to see rather than just waxing lyrical about it.

21. Do what the f*** you want

Have a blank canvas day – leave the house with no plans in mind and see where the day takes you

22. Open your ears (and mind)

Listen to all the weird radio stations available on digital radio – you will be amazed at some of the things you’ll find on there!

23. Remember every good friend was once a stranger

Start talking to strangers – in the supermarket, on the train, on your next flight. Opening up is a beautiful thing. And who knows, maybe – just maybe – they could end up being a new friend.

24. Protest!

Stand up for something you believe in. Go on a protest march, start a petition, appeal to your local councillor.

25. Be naughty

Make sure you’ve gotten up to enough mischief in life. If not, don’t worry…there’s still time.

26. Look up to the skies

Go stargazing, visit an observatory, look for UFOS, planets, shooting stars and satellites.

27. Experiment!

Experiment with hair colour. Going grey is your chance to have fun and relive your teen years when you hair was every colour of the rainbow

28. Experience true decadence

Bath in a tub full of rose petals, dried citrus and oat bath milk – for the ultimate in luxurious experiences

29. Be your own doctor

Quit relying on your GP to solve your health problems. Try alternative medicines and therapies.

30. Meditate

Start a meditation practice. It’s the most amazing way of connecting with your inner self.

31. Do your Kegels

Do your pelvic floor exercises. Your bladder will be thanking you for it as you continue to age.

32. Reconnect with your wardrobe

Have a massive wardrobe detox. Book a personal stylist or shopper for the day create a little reinvention.

33. Get in the picture

Commission someone to paint a portrait of take some professional photos of you

34. Stay out of the sun

We all love the sun but who wants to look like a dried up pair of leather trousers?

35. Embrace the power of compliments

Start giving compliments to others more often and learn to receive compliments more graciously.

now that you're 40

36. Witness a miracle

Watch a sunrise from a mountain top and a sunset over the sea somewhere breathtaking.

37. Become a wordsmith

Try free writing or painting – grab a pen or paintbrush and just start writing or painting and see what comes out.

38. Hold the vision

Make a vision board of what you want your 40s to look like.

39. Silence your inner critic

It’s not nice to you and the only thing it’s good for is reaffirming untruths about yourself.

40. Organise a reunion

Whether it be old friends, colleagues, or families, resist the cringe and enjoy the chance to reminisce about your former glory days.

What else would you add to this list of 40 things to do now that you’re 40? Let us know in a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things about life in your 40s!

Photos by Julia AvamotiveSkitterphoto,  Tara Winstead,  Los Muertos Crew,  ThirdmanNataliya Vaitkevich, RF._.studio,  Eva Elijas,  Askar Abayev from Pexels

I tried naked yoga and here’s what happened

It seems that being naked is having a bit of a moment. From naked yoga, to the rebirth of the nudist beach as well as influencers baring all on Instagram, slowly being naked is starting to not only be something you do whilst in the bath.

I actually grew up in a household where being naked wasn’t a big deal. As weird as it was being confronted with my mum’s drooping boobs and catching sight of my dad’s penis aged 8 on a daily basis, I actually have a lot to thank my parents for. Being naked in front of me was probably one of the best things they ever did for me in terms of my body image and self-acceptance. Thanks to them I never felt that weird about being naked, even in front of other people. I continued this trend in our house, even to this day.

But even still, when The Naked Yoga Effect by Doria Gani landed in my hands, my daughter part-balked and part-sniggered at me with disbelief that I was entertaining the idea of doing yoga…..naked.

What’s the big deal – I thought – doing naked yoga in my own home? I wondered whether doing yoga naked could really feel that different. After all, a sun salutation is a sun salutation, naked or not…..or is it?

The Naked Yoga Effect

Doria Gani wrote The Naked Yoga effect having overcome a critical illness (cancer), having experienced first hand the liberating effects of practising yoga naked. It was the day after my dad had told me that he had a mutation in his BRCA1 gene widely known to be a cause of various cancers including breast cancer. I had a fifty percent chance of having inherited the gene and would also need to be tested. I was feeling ill at ease in myself having already had to have my entire thyroid removed due to the existence of pre-cancerous cells over a decade ago. I needed to feel free from the mental prison I was currently trapped in.

My experience of naked yoga

And so I grabbed my copy of The Naked Yoga effect, and flipped over to The Beginner’s Yoga Guide. I stripped off all my clothes there and then with purpose – relishing in the moment. That act alone felt so unbelievably freeing.

I instantly felt the difference as I moved through the sun salutation sequences. It felt amazing to not have a single piece of material on my body – feeling the gentle air against my skin. I felt more in tune with my body – and indeed myself – during a yoga practice than I had ever been.

I didn’t mind seeing my breasts swinging down underneath me, or seeing the folds of my tummy from my vantage point. For I was doing something mighty and I could see every single bit of it – every single movement and muscle working away without anything blocking my view.

I think part of the reason naked yoga feels so empowering is that you are doing something you might ordinarily do, in a way you wouldn’t ordinarily do it. So it’s not something completely new and hairy scary, but the fact that you are doing it completely bare makes you incredibly aware and mindful of everything. It also puts you gently out of your comfort zone. It’s a beautiful feeling! Just you, and yoga without any barriers, annoying bits of material or limitations. I honestly never realised that being naked could be such an inspiring and positive act.

Is naked yoga for you?

If you want to feel more comfortable in your skin, practice self-kindness, reconnect with yourself after some form of personal struggle, feel stronger and more confident, more positive or be more mindful that take off your clothes, and get on your yoga matt….because you’ve got nothing to lose apart from the clothes you are wearing.

What’s next?

I loved the feeling of having this special, private practice all to myself. Would I do it in a group class? Well, never say never, but for now, I’m happy to practice naked yoga just by myself. Just me, my body, and I.

Do you think you could give naked yoga a try? Do leave a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here to keep the conversation going.

How to keep calm and carry on in your 40s

Being in your 40s can be a funny old time. On the one hand you can feel mentally fierce and fabulous, on the other hand your body starts letting you know its age, and you are teetering on the brink of hormonal calamity otherwise known as the menopause. But hey! who are we to let all of that stop us from living our best life in your 40s?

But the thing is, in your 40s, you can no longer take for granted all the things you had done previously – especially when it comes to health (both mental and physical). The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, you are on a one way ticket towards perimenopause – a whole can of worms hormonally – as you edge close to the menopause (more on that in our upcoming article!).

Here, Kate Chaytor-Norris author of I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This shares her top ten tip for keeping calm and carrying on in your 40s:

Be calm

Do anything that makes you feel calm – this helps the adrenal glands to work optimally – if we are running lots of stress, they then cannot take over the job of producing sex hormones to maintain a balance. 

Balance your blood sugar levels

This is so that the adrenals do not have to produce stress hormones when they are swinging up and down.  Try to avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta rice etc) to reduce your sugar intake as much as possible and make sure that you have some source of protein with every meal or snack.

Breathe

This is probably the single most important thing that we can do for our health – breathing deep down into the diaphragm (fill the balloon in your abdomen) and practise exhaling more slowly.  This calms the body and so that everything works better.  If you extend the out breath this also helps to switch the body out of fight/flight.

Meditate

This for me is about stilling the mind so you can do this whilst walking, running or with any activity where you can switch your mind off. When I walk the dogs, I try to really focus on what the dogs are doing to bring me into that moment, instead of pounding along thinking about all the emails I need to send. It really helps.

Embrace nature

Be outside in nature and ideally with your bare feet on the earth/grass or if it is in the midst of winter, hug a tree.  This fills the body with free electrons which act as antioxidants helping to reduce the ageing of our body. Nature sounds help to switch off the fight/flight stress response.

Sleep

Sleep is a hugely undervalued activity – my rule of thumb is if you have to wake up to an alarm you are probably not getting enough sleep.  Try to be strict about bedtime, and as much as you can, go to bed at the same time each night.  If you struggle to get off to sleep watch your bedtime routine, keep it gentle and calm (no heart thumping thrillers or news at 10) with low lighting if possible.

Support your liver

Man-made toxins in our environment, such as pesticides and household detergents can overwork the liver. The liver is responsible for clearing out excess hormones, so to help it work better eat more cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts – as they help support the detox pathways in the liver. An optimally functioning liver can really help you through the menopause.

Drink more water

Try to make sure that you are hydrated every day as our bodies do not function properly if dehydrated. To work out how much water to drink, take your weight in kgs and multiply by 0.033 – this will give you the amount in litres that you should ideally be having daily.

Eat a rainbow

…of different coloured foods every day (think red pepper, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, kale). Not only is it a joy to sit in front of a colourful plate but the antioxidants in the different coloured pigments help to reduce ageing and inflammation in the body.

Hug

…as much as you can and if you are on your own or self-isolating hug yourself- wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze tight.  This helps to increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress hormones, balances sex hormones, reduces cravings and helps with sleep.

How do you keep calm and carry on in your 40s? Share your tips with us in a comment below or keep the conversation going on Instagram here.

Reader offer: Get 20% off I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This with the code KATECN20 at checkout here.

Kate Chaytor-Norris is a Nutritional Therapist who has made it her mission to empower people to heal themselves. She trained at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and has been practising for the past ten years. Kate is also trained in Health Kinesiology, Nutrigenomics, counselling and PSYCH-K®. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

Finding happiness in your 40s – this summer and beyond

Life starts at 40….or does it? While some people might already living their best life in their 40s, others are feeling miserable as muck wondering what has become of their life. But wait for it…apparently being in our late 40s is the most miserable time in our lives. Now there’s something to look forward to…..NOT! Damn it, I thought I would be swinging by the chandeliers by then. So is finding happiness in your 40s a total pipe dream? Or can we still take life by the balls and throw a big two fingers up in the face of the midlife slump.

Well good news people because yes, happiness in your 40s feels as the scarlett pimpernell, here  Andy Cope and Paul McGee – authors of The Happiness Revolution – share their top tips for finding happiness in your 40s – this summer and beyond. Taken from the science of wellbeing, here’s how to have the best summer of your entire life that will help you feel fiendishly fantastic rather than flat as a pancake.

Going viral

Human beings are wired for emotional contagion. Your feelings and attitudes will spread. In holiday terms, if you have small children, they will be as happy in Margate as they are in Miami. So long as you are!

Similarly, one negative family member will lower the tone of the entire holiday party. Top tip: make sure it’s not you!

The $64,000 question

According to an esteemed researcher at the University of London’s Institute of Education, here are some monetary values of happiness:

  • Seeing friends and relatives is equivalent to a pay rise of £64k a year
  • Chatting to nice neighbours is worth £37k a year
  • Getting married is worth £50k a year
  • And the biggy? Excellent health is estimated to be worth £300k a year to you

Hopefully you can tick some of those boxes, in which case, you are enjoying ‘mental wealth’. Whatever the summer brings you, be grateful.

Happiness is Maximized at 57°F

Weird I know, but the American Meteorological Society found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so, technically, point number 1 is bang on – you’re more likely to find happiness in Margate than Miami!

Stop musterbating

Musterbating’ is when you turn things you’d like to have into things you absolutely MUST have. Every advert on the TV is designed to make you unhappy with what you currently own, luring you to Amazon to spend money on products that will make you happy. Mr Postie’s next day delivery does indeed create a spike of happiness, for an hour or two, before you’re back online seeking another hit.

So here’s an interesting list to write… the top 10 happiest moments of your life. I’ll wager that most of your top 10 happiest moments are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. So, to squeeze maximum happiness from your summer, throw yourself into experiences (picnics, BBQs, walks, swims, bike rides, pub lunches, sandcastles, hugs…)

‘Forest bathing’

The Japanese call it ‘shinrin-yoku’. We call it ‘going for a walk’. A study from the University of Sussex found that being outdoors made people happier: “Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.”

To be fair, no University degree is required. The point is obvious; fresh air – lots of it – makes us feel fab. Top tip, while you’re out and about, walk with your sense open. Bathe yourself in mother nature.

Be the Pied Piper of Happiness

Your emotions are contagious – they leak out of you and ‘infect’ those around you. So, when you make the conscious choice to be positive and upbeat, other people will catch your good vibes. So, top tip, be enthusiastic for 4 minutes and everyone else will feel great too!

This is especially important if you’re camping in the rain. It only takes one idiot (you!) to be enthusiastically jumping in puddles and, before you know it, the entire campsite is doing the same. When you are old and prune-like, you will look back on your life and realise that these ‘little moments’ were, in fact, the best bits of your life.

So here’s to happiness in your 40s and saying no to being miserable and middle aged this summer and beyond!

***

Dr Andy Cope and Professor Paul McGee have combined forces to pen THE HAPPINESS REVOLUTION: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life (published by Capstone, June 2021). It’s the perfect summer read. It won’t change the world, but it’ll certainly change yours.

About the Authors

DR ANDY COPE is the UK’s first ever Dr of Happiness. He has a passion for motivation and positive psychology and strives to influence people to think differently. He founded Art of Brilliance in 2004 to blaze a new trail – one that was non-academic, totally rooted in the real world and that would make a massive and immediate impact on individuals and organisations. Andy is a sought-after keynote speaker, bestselling author, and authority on happiness, motivation, and human flourishing

PROF PAUL MCGEE is a visiting professor at the University of Chester and is one of Europe’s leading speakers on the subject of change, resilience, wellbeing, and communication. His book SUMO became a Sunday Times best seller and his book on Self Confidence reached number one in the WHSmith’s business chart and remained there for a further 24 weeks. His books have sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast television and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio.

Photo by Julia Avamotive from Pexels

Style over 40: Time to re-discover the joy of dressing up

So here we are….we made it to freedom day (whatever the heck that even means!). Now faced with a prospect of a so-coined summer of fun (that is if we don’t get pinged and have to isolate like half of the country), mingling with more people and going to more places, that actually means that we have to start looking presentable again! But if you have been spending most days in a onesie (as I have) and feel your brow beading with sweat at the idea of having to look stylish again, then fear not people! We have rounded up the best in advice on how to ease yourself back into dressing up again as we all run (or stagger) into the sunshine and embrace whatever version your summer of fun looks like.

Read on for tips on reiscovering the joy of dressing up from Style Coach Janine Coney at Own Your Style; Jacynth Bassett, founder of age-inclusive online fashion boutique The Bias Cut and ‘ageism fighting trailblazer’ Jacynth Bassett; and Donna McCulloch, Stylist to the stars and Fashion Editor at Style Nest.

First up: reconnect with your wardrobe

Start by reconnecting with your wardrobe after all it should feel like your own personal boutique – when you open the doors it should have clothes that you love to wear, suit your style, your lifestyle, that fit you and make you feel great. Take some time going through it, pull out the pieces you love, say goodbye, and put aside to give away, sell or recycle the pieces that you no longer love.  After all this is the perfect time to hit the reset button and curate a wardrobe that really works for you!

Have a play

Play with items already in your own wardrobe, pull out a top and find three different ways to style it.  Pull on a pair of jeans and think of three ways you can add your own signature style to your look with what you wear through colour, accessories or even layering!

Seek out Pinspiration

Start a Pinterest board and use it as inspiration for your dressing up reboot – head into your wardrobe and see if you can recreate any of the looks you love. It’s incredible how many pieces that go unworn in a wardrobe.  Women wear 20% of their wardrobes – that’s 80% sat there waiting for you to rediscover it.

Janine Coney, Founder & Style Director at Own Your Style and the joys of reconnecting with your wardrobe

Go neutral

Neutrals should make up about 60% of your wardrobe and neutrals remain a key trend for summer going through to Autumn and winter too – investing in neutrals is always a good choice and look for quality over quantity as neutral pieces have the longevity we should all desire in our wardrobes in our 40s and beyond

Say it with a statement dress

We all need that go-to feel good piece in our wardrobe that we can rely on for dressing up in. But rather than the classic LBD, opt for a beautiful statement dress, or chic jumpsuit that you can effortlessly slip on, and instantly feel great in.

dressing up
Delicious Mess Ecru Dress by POM Amsterdam, Scotch & Soda Raspberry Red V Neck Sweatshirt, Scotch & Soda Princess Dark Denim Jumpsuit all sold on The Bias Cut

Colours and prints are your friends

Don’t be afraid of colour or print when dressing up – wearing something that’s bright and joyful will boost your mood and your confidence will shine through 

Balance things out with….trainers!

Pair a more dressy item such as a printed dress or jumpsuit with a pair of trainers. It will help ground the look – so you don’t go immediately from 0 to 100 on the glamour scale – and adds a cool, effortless vibe. 

Or opt for a statement shoe

A statement (but comfortable) shoe is a very easy way to elevate a look. 

Accessorise baby!

Never underestimate the power of accessories; belts, bags & jewellery can take a look from zero to hero. Here are some recommendations to get you started:

Jump to it with a jumpsuit

If the thought of dressing up still scares you then ease yourself out of loungewear with a jumpsuit, they don’t feel too dressy and can be styled up or down. Add heels or trainers depending on your mood. 

dressing up
Greta Limited Edition Mink Leather Cross Body Bag from Kerkit, Lucky charms on a gold-plated chain from My-Wishbone, Pink Roses Ladies Pink Champagne Stretch Belt from Ellie & Bea

Remember, dressing up again doesn’t have to feel hairy scary again with the latest restrictions easing. But with just a few tweaks and unearthing the right items from the back of our wardrobes, we can start to look and feel awesome again. What will your go-to piece for going out be?

Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.

Cover picture credit: Maria Orlova from Pexels; Maryia Plashchynskaya, Polina Tankilevitch, Artem Beliaikin, Bella Zhong from Pexels

How to be body confident in your 40s

Remember in your 20s when you finally got that taste of sweet freedom and you felt invincible? Your body was probably a lithe machine of a vessel! No neither do I because quite frankly, it feels like another lifetime ago, and almost certainly a different person! Fast forward to now – your 4th decade – and urban legend tells us that you should be feeling confident in your 40s because of a whole list of reasons. The greatest reason is because we are allegdly supposed to no longer give a shit about anything (hmm debatable). But what about being body confident?

For many of us, our 40s are a time of great change in our bodies and this is exactly why it’s the perfect time to rewrite the narrative around our bodies and self-worth. But how do we do that?

Today we’re giving the floor over to Body Confidence Coach Sarah Lyons who having recently turned 40 herself shares her reflections and tips for feeling confident in both mind and body in your 40s – whatever the situation!

***

The fact that my body is now 40 years old is not something to be ashamed of, not something to hide or fix but it is a wonderful palace that I live in. My body is my home in this lifetime and I plan on enjoying it.

Having been around the block in regards to body confidence and finally made my peace I am truly looking forward to the next 40 year because it will not be filled with shame, self doubt or worry about  what anyone else thinks about me or my body. It is none of their business !

Being body confident means something totally different to me now  than even a few years ago. Body confidence to me was always about looking your best so people would think the best of you. It  was about trying to be a certain weight. Because being a teenager in the 90’s was all about being thin and thin ment being happy!

Body confidence now is about having an amazing connection with myself. I must be who I am regardless of how I look and regardless of what I weigh. Body confidence is about the relationship I have with myself and my body.

It has nothing to do with anyone else and I have stopped looking to outside sources for my validation and happiness. Yes I still love to wear my beautiful clothes but now I wear them for me to make me happy.

I can hear you asking how I got to this place of  body confidence. Well the answer is self acceptance and kindness.

Keys was to start being kind to yourself and accepting yourself are

  • To focus on your positive qualities
  • Say kind and positive words to yourself everyday
  • Avoid negative self talk
  • Set positive healthy goals and respect what your body can do.
  • Admire the beauty of others but do NOT compare yourself to them
  • Remind yourself that the media images we see are often unrealistic and unattainable .

Once I started to do these things they quickly became automatic, becoming body confidence is a change of mindset but it is something you have to work on daily. Putting in the work on yourself will lead to united rewards for you and the people around you. You deserve to live a fabulous life.

So how can we be body confident in different areas of our lives? As I said it starts with self acceptance and kindness. And here are some tips to get you started.

Social occasions

It is totally normal to feel some anxiety around social occasions , it is a new experience of meeting new people and being in a new place but try a few things to make it a little easier.

  1. Posture, you are a little bit older but there is no need to be slouching down. Stand tall with your shoulders back. Keep your head up and make eye contact.

2. Tone of voice -a friendly or gentle tone of voice is helpful in any kind of communication, especially an uncomfortable one. When you are mindful of how you say things, you will feel more confident. You will also make the people around you feel at ease.

3. Listen -becoming a good listener is always a good thing but especially in social situations. Don’t look at your phone all the time and use kind facial expressions to show you are listening.

4. Reality check -when we are in new situations like social ones our mind can run away with itself and we start to overthink or over analyze our existence and why we are there in the first place! Reconnect back to yourself with some deep breaths or box breathing .

5. Smile – my number one tip for loving yourself and feeling confident. Smiling is scientifically proven to make you feel better. Smiling at others will help you feel confident and make them feel great.

At work

Feeling confident at work can be hard if you don’t really love the job you are in – if it’s making you feel miserable and depressed then maybe consider moving on. Our work environment plays such a vital role in our wellbeing and confidence.

Here are my top tips for confidence at work:

  1. Cut out the negative self-talk. Try becoming your own best friend and use kinder, more reassuring words to and about yourself.By developing a positive mindset it will help you feel 100% more confident in yourself.

2. Focus on your own strengths not on your weaknesses, if anything needs some improvement don’t talk badly of yourself just work on it.

3. Ask for feedback, if you don’t ask for feedback you will never know how to improve and when its positive feedback just accept it and say thank you

4. Eliminate negative language – your body is always listening to you and if you are always talking to yourself in negative terms you will never feel confident.

5. Fake it till you make it, people may not agree with this one but it has always helped me out in a lot of situations. Acting like you are confident, speaking like you are confident is a sure way to start helping you feel more confident. The more you do it the easier it gets then you actually start to feel it for real !

Confidence as you get older

Our bodies change every day, none of us have the body we had 10 years ago let alone last year. Aging is part of life and it happens to us all no matter what expensive face cream we use! In order to start being confident at any age we have to accept where we are right now. Looking back and longing for the body we had in our 20’s is no good to us because we’ll never have that back . If we constantly measure ourselves against something in the past we are setting ourselves up for failure. Comparison is the thief of joy as the saying goes so whether you are comparing yourself to others or to your younger self it is not serving you . By doing this you will be chasing happiness that could be yours right now at this moment .

Here are my tips for being confident as we get older:

1. Write down all of your achievements – having done this myself I am blown away by how much I have achieved. You will be surprised when you start to really think how much stuff you have forgotten !

2. Develop and open mindset – when we have an open mindset we can start to learn new things and have new adventures. Life is for learning and you are never too old to learn.”Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”.

3. Update your image. Change up your look , change your hair or update your wardrobe this can give you an instant confidence boost.

4. Move your body. Our bodies love to move and find out how yours likes to move – is it dancing, pilates, yoga, or walking. Whatever it prefers, just keep moving.

5. Keep up the positive self talk, don’t join in when your friends start talking badly about thor bodies you steer the conversation to a more positive area.It very easy to get sucked in when others are talking but don’t let it. Stay with the positive !

6. Self care – looking after your well being inside and out will always help you feel confident and your body will thank you for it. Put yourself on top of the list.

7. Set some boundaries. This is also a form of self care. Get away from people who are draining your energy or making you feel bad. Think about the consequence of saying yes all the time.

Being confident at the beach or pool

For many this type of situation can cause a lot of anxiety. The thoughts of putting on swimwear can send people over the edge.

Again if you start to accept and be kind to your body this will be a lot easier .

  1. Buy a swimsuit that flatters your body shape.

2. Dont add any extra layers or skirts, this only adds bulk and may draw attention.

3. Remember having a beach body was made up by people in the fashion and weight loss industry to make you buy their product and feel bad about your body. Don’t let them win.

4. If you love the beach or love to swim don’t let the opinions of strangers stop you from doing what you love.

5. Remember fake it till you make it!

Having true body confidence comes from being our authentic self. When we are living as our true self everything starts to fall into place. It all starts with love and kindness towards you and your body. We only have one body in this lifetime and it’s our home so lets start loving and respecting it.

How confident are you feeling these days? Do you feel body confident? Share your thoughts in a comment below and keep the conversation going on our Instagram here.

Sarah Lyons is a body confidence and well-being coach for mums. Drawing from her own experience in motherhood she is passionate about helping mums develop a positive body image & reconnect to themselves. Get in touch through www.sarahlyonscoaching.com or www.instagram.com/themammycoach

Photo credits: Sunsetoned, Laura Tancredi,  Lisa from Pexels 

Tried and Tested: The summer edit + a massive giveaway!

Welcome to our new regular feature at 40 Now What where we hunt down and share with you some of the awesome things that have landed in our inboxes lately! In the name of you – our lovely readers – we have been busy chugging, chowing, nurturing and guinea-pigging ourselves to the max. Read on to find out what has made the cut in our recommendations to you in our summer edition of Tried and Tested. PLUS there is the chance to win over £1000 in prizes in our bumper giveaway where you can win a massive selection of the items featured in this edition.

So without further ado, come a little closer and let us tell you about this month’s shining stars because this month we have been….

Eating/drinking

Melitta epour

To say we are obsessed with Melitta’s new epour filter coffee machine is an understatement. With this sexy-looking machine on your countertop, great-tasting pour-over filter coffee has never been easier. The beauty is in the brewing process, which you will watch with an ohhhh and an ahhhhh thanks to its open filter allowing you to experience the brewing process at a touch of a button with all your senses. Extra brownie points for the pre-brew function which gives the coffee time for ideal blooming, so its full-bodied aroma can fully develop. Mmmmmmm…..coffee! The Melitta®epour® is available in two colour versions: Matt Back & GoldAND Matt Black & Chrome via melitta.co.uk RRP: £199.00

Wheyhey sugar free ice cream

This summer, we have been living our best life by devouring outrageously yummy and guilt-free tubs of Wheyhey sugar free ice cream. Packed with protein and naturally sugar free, made with the best bit of milk, from grass fed cows is a one way ticket to allowing yourself to live outrageously well without skipping on that well earned ice cream at 80 calories per 100ml serving. Because after all, life is better with ice cream! Wheyhey ice cream is available to buy in M&S, Spar and directly via Wheyhey.com across the UK starting at an RRP of £4.50.

Dietly snack boxes

Let’s face it – we all love to snack but when snacking options can start to become so blah can’t they leading to the road of all temptation. That’s why this summer we’ve been loving the snack boxes from Dietly. Choose from either Vegan or Keto boxes and be introduced to a whole world of healthy and yes – yummy! – snacking options you never knew existed be soon be so grateful to have in your life. From freeze dried fruits, to scrummy protein balls, popped cheese bites and nutritionally balanced energy bars Dietly has got you covered. Subscribe to Dietly’s monthly snack boxes for £40 a month at diet.ly.

SO PERF, Prebiotic + Probiotic Bars and Juice

We are big on gut health at 40 Now What which is why we have been chowing down on delicious superfood cold-pressed prebiotic and probiotic bars and juices from SO PERF designed to support the gut, immune system and microbiome health. Perfect for those who want to improve their gut health and reap the associated benefits but not predisposed to chowing down buckets of kimchi at every meal, the range from SO PERF is packed with superfoods, antioxidants, nutrients, fibre, protein and omega 3. Made with high quality fruits, nuts, seeds pre and probiotics which have been hand-picked to support your gut, immune system, microbiome health, brain function and energy which are both nutritious + delicious! Try a sample pack of their bars for £15.80 and juices for £17.25.

Berczy Hard Seltzers – 100% natural, low calorie low abv drinks

We know we should all be drinking more water right? So let’s make it more bearable with this fizz-tacular range of Berczy alcoholic sparking water. Still counts huh? Perfect for those dusk picnics with your tribe. With real fruit flavours of Passionfruit & Turmeric, Lemon & Lime and Peach & Raspberry. Always remember to drink responsibly. Try their taster pack for £14.95 at berczydrinks.com.

Doughlicious – gluten free ready-to-bake cookie dough

Guilt-free snacking at its best. It truly was ‘love at first bite.’ Every flavour is 100% gluten free. There are dairy-free, organic and vegan flavours too. The smell of freshly baked cookies will fill your home. You can choose to have a crispy or gooey cookie. Our favourite was the Double Chocolate Chip. What will yours be? Order now . Boxes from £3.99 at doughlicious.co.uk.

Happi Free From – Oat Milk Chocolate Bars

Having cut back on dairy to help combat eczema, you can only imagine our sheer joy at discovering these bars and we were not disappointed. Bliss is sharing a family-size choc bar with a loved one right? We can honestly agree there was no compromise on taste and we savoured every morsel. What are you waiting for? At £7 for 4 x 40g bars, check them out at happifreefrom.com.

Great British Porridge Co Instant & 100% natural

We’ve been instant porridge fans for a long time. You can add water or milk and create the perfect consistency for you and your whole family without the faff. High in fibre, no added sugar, dairy-free, gluten-free. It’s perfect hot or cold. The classic chocolate has become a breakfast staple in our house! See the range here thegreatbritishporridgeco.co.uk. Single bags start from £3.99.

The Protein Ball Co – 100% natural, bite-size protein balls 

These tiny balls of joy have got us yelling for more at 40NW HQ. High protein, gluten-free, no palm oil, no added sugar and packed with vitamins, these bad boys will get you through that afternoon slump. So many awesome combinations to choose from. We love the Peanut Butter ones soooooo much. You can pick a bag up from £1.99 direct from theproteinballco.com.

Looking after our bodies & minds

tried and tested

Dr. Vegan Supplements

If there are two things that have taken a pummeling during the pandemic, it has to be our energy levels and eyes. Sitting staring at a screen for all hours of the day and battling pandemic fatigue do not good bedfellows make. Thankfully Dr. Vegan’s Uber Energy Complete B-Complex and Screen Eyes Vision Health have been kicking us back into check on both fronts. Think naturally sourced supplements that are more absorbable, more affordable, made in the UK and not just for vegans! The perfect way to better yourself and the planet in one fell swoop. Shop the range from £6.49 at drvegan.com.

Raw Beauty Lab vegan collegen

Taking a collagen supplement when you hit 40 is a non-negotiable in our book. Why? In our forties, collagen has already been reduced signficantly and it is this that leads to wrinkles and sagging. But what if you aren’t keen on the plethora of bovine-based collagen supplements on the market because quite frankly, they can taste foul! Cue Raw Beauty Lab’s Vegan collagen which is made from skin boosting botanicals and harnesses the power of plants to protect and support beauty and wellness, with a delicious natural berry flavour which is hugely refreshing for a collagen supplement. Without a collagen after taste in site, we are converts! Available at Raw Beauty Lab at £34.95 for a month’s supply.

REDjuvenate red light therapy

If you have been battling fatigue, insomnia, pain or an injury recently then let us introduce you to the wonder that is Red Light Therapy. Harnesses the healing power of red and near infrared light, through photobiomodulation (PBM) and proven benefits for aforementioned applications, a 15 minute session at REDjuvenate Medical gave us the best night’s sleep ever (a major win for us insomniacs!) and boundless energy which felt like turning back the clock by twenty years. So how does it work? RLT targets mitochondria which are responsible for the energy generating spark plugs found in every cell. Many chronic illnesses are associated with some element of mitochondrial dysfunction, therefore, RLT is a targeted and effective treatment for many conditions. One session costs £85 (and is worth its weight in gold!). For more information on RLT and to book see redjuvenatemedical.com.

Efamol® Efalex Brain Formula Liquid

We all know the best way to get the nutrients we need is by eating a balanced and healthy diet, but if you are struggling to make sure you eat the recommended amount of oily fish, it may be worth considering taking a supplement. At a very reasonable RRP £9.99 for 150ml it’s available from efamol.com, Amazon, Boots the Chemists, health food stores and independent pharmacies. Always remember that food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

Wassen Magnesium-OK supplements

Wassen Magnesium-OK is a one-a-day nutritional supplement especially for women to help support general health and vitality throughout the monthly cycle and beyond. It contains a balanced combination of six important minerals including Magnesium which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and normal psychological function, plus chromium which helps keep blood glucose levels normal. Magnesium OK also contains eight vitamins including Vitamin B6, which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Wassen Magnesium-OK (£11.99) is available to buy from wassen.com, Amazon, Boots the Chemists, health food stores and independent pharmacies. Food supplements should not replace a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Adbra Happiness Jars

With so many of us spending more time at our screens than ever before, sometimes we need a little prompt to encourage us to step away from the daily craziness of life and be in the moment. The latest addition to our desk comes in the from of an Adbra Mindfulness Jar. Think 30 micro mindfulness challenges to inspire and relax you and help you be more at peace if only for a moment. We absolutely love dipping into our jar when we’ve hit a wall during our working day and need to hit the reset button. The jars are also available in motivation, sustainability, friendship, self-kindness themes and more. Available at adbra.co.uk for £12.50.

The Positive Day Planner

Did you know it takes 21 days to form a new habit? We have been working on our positivity muscle at 40 Now What with the help of The Positive Day Planner. The Positive Day Planner is a 21-day gratitude practicing, affirmation affirming and self-commitment measuring mind dumping essential- that allows you to create your own happiness one day at a time. It’s the perfect tool for reflecting on the good things in your life, holding yourself accountable and feeling more positive about life – no matter what curveballs it may be throwing at you. The Positive Day Planner is available in 5 different styles at £10 each from thepositivedayplanner.com.

Dragonfly and Canamis CBD oils

If you’ve previously wanted to reap the numerous health benefits of CBD oils (anxiety, pain and insomnia relief but to name a few) but have been put off by the taste in on past attempts then you will love the CBD oils from both Dragonfly and Canamis. Think flavours in peppermint, anise, orange and cinnamon which really take the otherwise usual ashray taste away that can often be offputting for people. Needless to say, we are converts! Dragonfly CBD oil is available in a range of strengths available at Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and online at dragonflycbd.com from £19.95. Canamis CBD oil comes in a whole range of favours with prices from £26. You can buy direct from their website canamis.com

Royce Lingerie

You know what we have really started hating over the last year? Underwired bras! So when we discovered Royce Lingerie – purveyors of beautiful wire-free bras, we could have cried with joy. Think incredible support and comfort rolled into one, we are absolutely in love with their super sexy Zahra matching set. The rounded cups are non-padded with a removable panel at the centre front offering the option of more or less coverage and the cups are lined with cotton making them super soft. The Zahra bra is £38 at royce-lingerie.co.uk.

Beautifying with

tried and tested

Eye Amour – Bella Vida Santa Barbara

Be gone eye wrinkles and fine lines! The latest addition to our beauty routine comes Stateside in the form of Bella Vida’s Eye Amour Serum. Creamy, rich and unscented – making it also perfect for those with sensitive skin – its lush blend of organic evening primrose, soothing organic aloe, vitamin E and rich organic oils do a stella job of deeply hydrating, soothing, repair ingand renewing cells of your fragile under-eye skin while you sleep. Eye Amour is $59.99 at bellavidasb.com.

Footner Exfoliating Socks

Feeling repulsed by the dry skin accumulating on your feet? So were we, until we discovered Footner Exfoliating Socks. Good god, the amount of dry skin that comes off your skin when using these babies is nothing short of INSANE. An intensive foot mask that peels away hard and dry skin in one 60-minute application then banishes all dead skin within  7-10 days. Super easy to use with no cutting, scrubbing or pain and not a foot file in sight, our feet still feel like a baby’s bottom 4 weeks on and counting. This is the future of feet people! Footner Exfoliating Socks are available to buy at Superdrug, Boots and Amazon for £9.99.

Face Yoga

Yes you read that right – face yoga! Did you know that just a few simple face yoga exercises each day can help to combat wrinkles, sagginess and puffiness we all battle against in our 40s. Whether you pick a few facial exercises to do in the shower daily or decide to have a massive self care session and dedicated face yoga sesh, you need a copy of Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga: Firming Facial Exercises & Inspiring Tips to Glow, Inside and Out which is packed with exactly that. If you’ve never tried face yoga before then okay…you may be silly….but let’s talk again in ten years time when you will be looking younger and more radiant than everyone else and therefore definitely not silly in the slightest! Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga is available from Amazon for £9.79.

***GIVEAWAY***

Would you like to get your hands on a bounty of items featured above. We love to share, so that’s why we’ve put together a massive giveaway to win a whopping £1000 worth of prizes! Would you like to win 10 sessions of REDjuvenate light therapy, a vegan and keto Dietly box, the whole range of SO PERF Prebiotic + Probiotic Bars and Juices, a selection of Berczy low calorie, low abv seltzers, a box of Doughlicious cookies, some Happi Free From – Oat Milk Chocolate Bars, a selection of Great British Porridge Co Instants, a range of no added sugar bite-size protein balls from The Protein Ball Co, a ADBRA Happiness Jar, a Royce lingerie matching bra and knicker Zahra set, a Positive Day Planner, a stash of Dr Vegan Screen Eyes and Uber Energy, two month’s supply of Raw Beauty Lab vegan collegen, some Canamis Peppermint CBD oil, Efamol Efalex Brain Formula, a year’s supply of Wassen Magnesium-OK supplements, some Footner Exfoliating socks plus some Eye Amour eye serum and a copy of Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga?

PHEW! That is indeed a MASSIVE giveaway! and you can enter it over on our Instagram as soon as it launches.

Follow us on Instagram now to be the first to find out and enter.

Are PMS symptoms worse in your 40s? Hell yes!

Life at 40 is full of lovely surprises and gifts of nature. Despite the fact we should probably be grateful for the bloody monstrosity that periods are (figuratively and literally!), I can’t help being excited at the fact that in as little as ten years time, I might be free of Aunty Flo barging in and turning everything upside once a month. Well, I say once a month, but really – it feels like the best part of the month doesn’t it? So are PMS symptoms worse in your 40s….well let’s open that can of worms shall we?

A life dictated by PMS symptoms

This is how things go down in my world. From the minute I finish my period, I have ooooh a few blissfully days before – boom! it’s ovulation time again. Then if I’m lucky, I’ll have a week of no hormone dramas before the PMS dramas start to roll around again. All of this feels like it’s happening within a blink of an eye.

Recent research Yoppie, revealed that 79% of UK women lose between 1-7+ days a month due to not feeling themselves during their menstrual cycle. I wish I could say it was only that for me because damn does it feel a whole lot more!

Enter the PMS swamp monster

Now I don’t know but ever since I started edging towards my 40s my PMS symptoms definitely started feeling worse. I was never one to want to crawl into bed like an old granny a week before I came on the rag. Now I regularly turn into Stig of The Dump’s sister. For those of you who don’t remember who Stig of The Dump was, he was a caveman out of a classic children’s novel (showing my age baby!). I become more and more like a cavewoman as my PMS becomes worse and worse.

Stay away from the boobs!

Please god, do NOT touch my breasts the week before. I last knew pain like this in my breasts when they were heaving with new milk as a new mother. Then there is the crippling fatigue that makes you feel like you’ve been run over by a combine harvester thousand times over. And not to mention the dark mood and frenzied anxiety which makes you feel as mad as a March hare. Hateful doesn’t even cut it. I become a seething bag of self-loathing and misanthropy, hunting down any chance to throw hypothetical daggers at anyone who so much as looks at me the wrong way. Cross at your own peril!

PMS brain drain

My PMS screws everything up – my ability to think, talk, hold things without dropping them. My ability to avoid injury and a subsequent visit to A&E because I am always walking into/falling over or smashing my head on things. I literally feel like I’ve had a frontal labotomy.

At least one of the benefits of this whole royal Covid mess we are still stuck in is that we get to stay at home and lick our wounds as much as we like.

What gives then?

Lucky us! Reason being for this increased PMS calamity is because PMS symptoms get worse when you reach perimenopause, the five- to 10-year stretch before menopause actually hits. (The average age when women enter menopause is 51.) Generally speaking, whatever symptoms you’ve already been having will likely be ramped up. Ahhh…the gift that keeps giving!

So now that we all know we are going to feel even more hellish with PMS symptoms in our 40s, what can we do about it? Here are some things I’ve started to do which have been helping me to keep a lid on the maniac within in the run-up to the Lady Business.

My – and your – PMS toolkit

Agnus Castus

Take Vitex agnus-castus, a herb that is used for conditions related to the menstrual cycle such as breast pain (mastalgia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and more severe PMS symptoms (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. It’s an acquired taste but worth getting your tastebuds used to it if you don’t want to unleash your wrath on the universe every month. I absolutely swear by this!

Evening Primrose Oil or Starflower Oil Capsules

Although Evening Primrose have always been the PMS favourite in terms of reducing PMS symptoms – especially breast tenderness – some camps believe that Starflower Oil capsules are more effective. I just say take whatever you can get your hands on!

Menstruation Tea

I have only just discovered this wonderful premenstrual support tea from Hottea Mama and praise the lord I did! I swear as soon as I drank a cup of this all my boob ache vanished into the ether. It’s a really comforting brew of select herbs have been used traditionally for millennia to help women soothe cramps, reduce bloating, regulate hormones, improve sleep and regulate periods and now a firm favourite of mine. Buy it here.

Eating right

Step away from Uber Eats right now! As much as you’d like to dive right into a bucket of KFC and drown your sorrows in copious tubs of Ben & Jerry’s and vino, your PMS will not thank you for it! Yeah yeah preach baby I know. Instead, our friends at Natural Nutritional Health recommend the following:

  • Blood sugar is very important in supporting hormone balance. Keep insulin levels stable by eating 3 meals per day and include protein with every meal to ensure slow release of glucose from food. Reduce sugary foods and replace white carbs with wholegrains to help prevent mood swings.
  • Studies have shown that women with plant-based diets high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs have fewer symptoms of PMS. These foods provide a multitude of nutrients (Vitamin E, zinc as well as those below) and antioxidants, aim for 5-7 portions of veg and fruit per day.
  • The above foods also provide fibre which supports gut health and bind to excess oestrogen, carrying it out of the body which helps balance hormones and lessen PMS.
  • Limit salt and replace with spices. Sodium can worsen PMS symptoms due to its role in fluid retention, which leads to bloating and swelling.
  • Drink more water (and less alcohol and caffeine!) – oestrogen and progesterone influence your body’s hydration levels so during PMS when hormones are erratic, increase water intake to help to ensure you are hydrated, this also reduces bloating.
  • Include calcium foods in your diet, such as dairy, salmon, broccoli, sardines, kale, sunflower, sesame seeds and tofu. Studies show eating calcium containing foods, alongside vitamin D (which plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium), lowered the risk for developing PMS by as much as 40 percent. From Oct- March, it is recommended to supplement with vitamin D.
  • Magnesium keeps electrolytes in balance, without enough, you retain water. Magnesium also supports anxiety and insomnia. You can find it in leafy greens, nuts, legumes, bananas, as well as dark chocolate!
  • B vitamins especially B6 regulate hormonal activity and reduces PMS, think turkey, pistachios, beef, tuna, avocado, chicken, sunflower and sesame seeds. The combination of B6 and magnesium is a real winner for PMS support e.g., avocados!
  • Omega 3 fatty acids may help with the mental health effects of PMS and are found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts) they also have an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing pain and cramping.
  • Go organic where possible not only with your food but also cosmetics and make-up to reduce your exposure to harmful, oestrogen-like chemicals which disrupt hormones.

N.B. Sometimes therapeutic amounts of the above nutrients may need to be achieved with additional supplementation which can be discussed with a registered nutritionist.

Exercise

I know, I know, big fat eye roll here. You would rather drink a cup of sick than do some exercise when you’re feeling all gross and blobby but you need to fight this one out lady! So go on, peel yourself off the sofa as slowly as necessary and try to do some light cardio if you can –  walking, running (ok it might just be a very slow jog!), biking, and swimming are all good. Pilates and yoga also help. Low-volume strength training is also a good choice (especially if you’re feeling extra angry) – but just don’t go all Hulk Hogan on me (as if!) because lifting too heavy a weight puts pressure on your core and could worsen cramps.

Have your PMS symptoms got worse since you hit 40? Let it all out in a comment below my sister!

Picture credit: Photo by Sora Shimazaki & Anna Tarazevich from Pexels