Ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

They say life begins at 40 and that the last 39 years have just been a practice, which means that no it’s not too late to start – or keep – investing in yourself or thinking about fulfilling your ambitions. In fact, your 40s are the perfect time to start or keep investing in yourself as you lay the path for a second half of your life which is rich, varied and full of the good stuff.

But what are some ways you can start of keep investing in yourself in your 40s?

We recently heard about emberly, a new online platform which helps people to develop professionally, personally and socially. The site has been designed to help people ignite their inner spark, find their passion in life and to try things they’ve never tried before, including the weird and the wonderful. When we heard about it, we thought it was perfect for our 40 Now What readers and we wanted to know more…

All the courses are split into four categories ‘Energise’, ‘Create’, ‘Grow’ and ‘Relax’ and include everything from ballet and hip-hop dance classes to wild art journaling, yoga and even pasta and focaccia making! It’s all online, so it’s flexible and you can do the courses solo, or, if you want to create some special (or perhaps hilarious) memories, grab a loved one, friend or family member. 

emberly is aimed at anyone who wants to learn and grow so you may want to master the art of public speaking, gain a plethora of interesting topics to talk about at the next dinner party, wow friends with a new skill, or learn the best party trick in town, there is something for everyone.

To celebrate the launch of this incredible new platform, the site’s founder, Hiba Binz, has pulled together for us, her own top tips on how to keep investing in yourself in your 40s. So without further ado here are some ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s:

40 ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

1. Spend time with friends and family – enjoy spending quality time with people you love and never underestimate the importance of that

2. Meet with people who inspire you  – you never know where life can lead, if you are inspired, anything can happen

3. Learn more about a topic of interest– apply yourself to something that you enjoy but haven’t given much time to before

4. Learn more about a topic that’s of interest to someone else 
– to be interesting you have to be interested and one of the best ways to invest in yourself is to never stop learning and growing

5. Try something you’ve never done before – try to avoid thinking ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t’, it can be easy to create your own boundaries as you get older but aim to see things with fresh eyes and a fresh approach  

6. Try things that are out of your comfort zone – don’t set your own limitations, it’s like they say, “How do you know if you never try…”

7. Attend community events, talks or networking events – meet likeminded people, meet new people and enjoy a new experience

9. Take a course – there are so many different ways to learn nowadays so take a new course whether it’s to benefit you professionally, personally or socially – there will be a benefit!  

10. Start a new hobby – children growing up go to all sorts of extra-curricular activities; ballet, music lessons, horse-riding, Brownies, why shouldn’t 40-year-olds?!

investing in yourself in your 40s

11. Spend time doing what you enjoy  – it’s definitely easier said than done but see what you can streamline to gain a bit of time back – even 5 minutes saved here and there, can give you a 30 minute chunk of time to spend doing something you love

12. Set time aside for YOU every day/week/month – if you can’t make ‘you time’ every day, then aim for once a week, or even once a month and if you can make it part of your routine – even better

13. Listen to an inspiring podcast and discuss what you learned with someone else – teaching others helps to embed the information into our owns minds, so you’ll get extra benefits from telling a friend


14. Tackle nagging tasks – sometimes the time we spend thinking about these things is far greater than the time spent on the task itself, you’ll feel better once it’s done

15. Take time to recharge and relax – whether that’s 10 mins of meditation, a bath or a spa break, you choose. It could even be listening to your favourite song through your headphones 

16. Create memorable moments with loved ones – put the phones and screens down and create moments you can share together, enjoying each other’s company

17. Create a ‘you’ fund setting aside money to spend purely on your growth
– we spend money every day on all sorts of things, but have you considered spending a certain amount on investing in yourself?

18. Find a growth buddy – it’s easier in pairs – you can hold each other accountable for your goals but even more importantly you can enjoy it and have fun together

19. Be open minded to new ideas and experiences – the only thing that’s constant is change so if you can be accepting of that, you’re already ahead of the game

20. Travel to new places even if it’s just a part of your city you’ve never seen before – you don’t have to go on a long-haul flight, you’ll be amazed at how many incredible things there are right on our doorstep

investing in yourself in your 40s

21. Do something you used to love doing as a child  – is there a skill, a game or a hobby you used to love but have long forgotten about? Why not give it a try again just for fun? Skip down the road, read a children’s book, wear a sparkly necklace…

22. Meet with likeminded people to discuss a topic, perhaps a book club – it’s a fantastic opportunity to have a voice and an opinion and to express that with others. It’s a great way to build confidence especially if you’re not used to speaking in front of others

23. Express your creativity – even if you don’t think of yourself as ‘creative’. This can be anything from singing along to some of your favourite songs, dancing in your living room, writing in a journal or cooking something with extra flair

24. Do something to improve your professional skills  – 40 is a great time to reflect on the skills you have, the skills you would like to have and the areas you could improve in

25. Save for the future  – this is a practical tip, but it will also give you peace of mind, which is very beneficial for your mental health

26. Find a mentor or business coach – work with a professional when you can afford it. Warning: you may become incredibly motivated and productive…

27. Take care of your physical health  – stay active. Integrate the things that don’t feel like an exercise to you: dance, hike etc. Prioritise mobility

28. Say no, decline when you need to – don’t feel the need to please everyone

29. Unsubscribe and declutter everything!- get rid of what you don’t need, keep only what you love or things that are useful  

30. Take care of your emotional wellbeing – look after yourself like you would look after someone you love. If there is a negative voice in your head, ask yourself, ‘Would I say that to my best friend?’, if the answer is ‘No’, don’t say it to yourself

investing in yourself in your 40s

31. Spend time with people from different generations. It’s amazing what you can learn from them all. Ask questions, listen deeply

32. Prioritise your energy into the right places – to help you, you could list anything that brings negativity into your life and feelings of anger or guilt and then list things that bring you happiness. See what practical changes you can make to reduce your list of negativity

33. Spend time in nature – nature has lots to teach us and it’s definitely good for the soul

34. Set financial goals – save, spend wisely, invest – the best way to do this is to take control of your finances with a finance plan. Find out your disposable income by listing all your outgoings – bills and regular payments, take that from your incoming amount, then you can make a plan with the money you have at your disposal

35 Take on a big challenge- i.e., a run, a performance of some kind or the organisation of an event (even better if it’s for charity)

36. Learn something new – but focus on the journey and detach from the outcome

37. Pick up a mindfulness practice- choose something that works for you such as Qigong, yoga, tai chi, meditation

38. Harness the power of your voice- this could be through a voice coach or through vocal lessons or it could be speaking in public

39. Do the things that make you forget to scroll – keep a book or several handy and on the go

40. Prioritise sleep – the benefits of sleep are endless, and now is the time to reap them


investing in yourself in your 40s

If you give any of these tips for investing in yourself in your 40s or have some of your own wisdom to share do let us know in the comments below!

Explore your passions with emberly’s variety of inspiring online courses. Energise, create, grow and relax with a monthly membership and unlimited access, or purchase a single course on-demand and find what makes you glow. Visit emberly.co.uk and follow emberly on Instagram @emberlylearn, Twitter @emberlylearn and Facebook @emberlylearn.

Images by rawpixel.com

5 tips for fulfilling your business ambitions after 40

Turning 40 is around that time of life that many of us feel the call of a midlife career change

And no matter how established you are, it’s never too late to start again and find something more fulfilling. 

If you have a passion for a particular field and a specialist skillset, starting your own business could just be the venture you need to give you that much-needed new lease of life.  

There are many perks to owning your own business. It’s a chance to determine your own hours, be your own boss and do something that you love. 

But it’s a hugely challenging venture too. So if you’re not sure where to start to pursue your entrepreneurial business ambitions after 40, check out these five tips for success!

1. Go with what you know 

business ambitions

You don’t have to be an expert from day one – starting a business is a learning curve 

But whether it’s a lifelong talent that you’ve always wanted to turn into a trade, or a field you’ve already worked in and want to go independent with, it should be something you’re passionate enough about to make it your full-time job. 

2. Start small 

It’s tempting to start tackling big projects right away. 

But they say that slow and steady wins the race, and in business, it’s best to go at a pace that is realistic and sustainable. 

This may mean that you don’t give up your current job straight away – if it’s feasible, look into maintaining your business part-time alongside your existing role. Even if you cut your hours, having the guarantee of a stable income will make the challenges of setting up your business easier to handle. 

3. Explore support 

You’ll find that a lot of small business support can come from a range of unexpected sources. 

And whether you need help with funds and finance or other practical advice, your local chamber of commerce will have links to networks that can support your business. 

Alternatively, explore external opportunities to inspire growth and support the launch of your business. For instance, if you’re looking to get your name online with an SEO campaign, consider consulting with an agency such as Leeds-based Maratopia Digital Marketing for guidance. 

Whatever you’re planning on tackling as a business, don’t feel obliged to take it on alone. 

4. Find a mentor 

business ambitions

No matter how experienced you are in your field, there’s always more to learn – particularly if you’re striking out on your own. 

And opportunities such as networking events can help you find friends in your industries to mentor and support you on your entrepreneurial journey. 

Certain industries such as the CIPD (the professional body for HR professionals) run member-to-member mentorship schemes which can provide you with a fantastic support network. 

5. Set goals 

Setting goals is great practice in any venture. 

Whether it’s a set number of sales per month or an income target, it’s always healthy to have something to aim towards. 

These are just five tips for starting a business after 40. Wherever you are in your career, we hope these tips help you build a fulfilling future. Tell us about your future goals by leaving a comment below or connecting with us over on Instagram.

How becoming a non-executive director can reinvent your career

Could you imagine yourself in the boardroom? It’s never too late to start thinking about how to reinvent your career. So read on ladies. We’ve got the low down from Fiona Hathorn, co-founder and CEO of Women on Boards UK to find out more.

Here’s a sobering thought: at the age of 40, you’re almost two decades into your career. Whether you love, hate or are indifferent about your job, hitting the big four-oh is one of those moments that makes us all take stock, reflect, and ask, “is this it?”

If you’ve always worked in the same field, then the likelihood is that you’ve gained a great deal of experience (and a good salary and perks, too). Perhaps you’re happy with this path and excited to accelerate your way to the C-suite. Or perhaps, you’re seeking more control over your own hours, but still with the intellectual challenge you are used to.

Or maybe, turning 40 has made you realise you don’t like your job at all, you feel stuck in a dead end and are thinking of a complete career overhaul. Maybe you’ve emotionally checked out, working on autopilot without feeling any real satisfaction. 

Whatever situation you find yourself in, career reinvention is good for us at any life stage and particularly when we hit important age milestones. It’s also critical to staying relevant in today’s work environment. So, what can be done?

Becoming a non-executive director (NED), Trustee or Governor is a highly attractive proposition for lots of people. Women on Boards UK is on a mission to educate more women about what a NED role is, why it can help you with career acceleration or creating a portfolio career where you are firmly in the driving seat, and to share top tips for landing your first NED role. 

What is a NED?

reinvent your career

NEDs sit on the board of many public, private and not-for-profit organisations, working as a ‘critical friend’ scrutinising the organisation’s performance and offering strategic input and advice to the executive team. In a nutshell, your role is to provide the board with independent oversight and constructive challenge. How often they meet and what duties they are required to perform varies between organisations.

Taking on a NED role can be the perfect career move for those of us seeking an intellectual challenge without the intensity or pressure of an in-house executive role. Levels of remuneration vary from pro bono to quite high, but many combine a few paid NED roles with coaching or consultancy to create a ‘portfolio career’. Becoming a NED provides you with access to the boardroom and high-level strategic conversations about how a business is run. We place, on average, seven women every week into UK boardrooms and the experience they gain has proven to help accelerate career growth in their day jobs. 

When is the right time to start exploring a NED role?

We always say start early! There is a misconception among a lot of women that you need to be in your 50s, 60s or an executive at a big global firm to become a NED and that’s just not true. Yes, some of the listed global companies are looking for this kind of experience but there are thousands of other companies and organisations looking for NEDs at every level. We advertise hundreds of roles at any one time ranging from charities and universities to start-ups and FTSE-listed companies. Don’t get hung up by the ‘story’ we tell ourselves of what a NED looks like (stale, pale and grey). The experience you have gained by the time you’re in your forties is going to be invaluable to many organisations, you just have to find the right one. 

For Rebecca Ganz, becoming a NED coincided with a huge life transition. At the age of 48 she moved back to the UK from New Zealand to look after ageing parents. She urgently needed to reinvent her career back in the UK, having to rebuild her networks and reputation from scratch. Applying her wealth of experience to different organisations would provide the stimulus and challenge she craved, while the idea of a portfolio career of NED roles afforded her the flexibility she required. With five NED roles across the public and private sector, Becks is thoroughly enjoying her new career. 

Meanwhile, Alison Green came to Women on Boards when she wanted to build on her trustee experience and secure her first NED role. After a very successful career in advertising and marketing, Alison had transitioned to a career as an Executive Coach and wanted a portfolio of NED roles that would align with her new career path but also her values. The pandemic had highlighted deep societal inequalities and Alison wanted to find a role that would help her address diversity and inclusion issues. Women on Boards provided her with interview practice, helped to demystify some of the terminology of the boardroom and refreshed her financial literacy skills via our tailored courses. Alison now sits on several boards including the Skinners’ Academy, a secondary school in Hackney, and she is the first female NED for Cake Box PLC. 

Women on Boards member, Neelu Agarwal, started to think about a NED role when she was in her early 30s. Whilst on maternity leave, she began to re-evaluate her current job, which was leaving her feeling dissatisfied. She wanted to step up her skills and do something meaningful but had never thought of a NED role. She felt her lack of experience and broad Indian accent would be barriers. However, the network she met through Women on Boards and the access to training and useful tools such as CV templates gave her the boost she needed, and she landed her first NED role at a mental health charity called Second Step. 

How to find your first NED role and reinvent your career

reinvent your career

Breaking through into the non-executive world and achieving your first role can be tricky. Here are my top three tips to help improve your chances:

  1. Network, network, network. The best networking activities are ones where you will meet members of boards, especially Chair people. If real world or virtual events are tricky to fit into your busy life, take inspiration from Neelu above who used LinkedIn to connect with new people whilst on maternity leave. A good place to start is to identify the organisations you would love to be a part of and connect with people who sit on their board. 
  1. Know the basics. While you will get appointed to a board based on your specific experience, be that digital, marketing or HR, it’s important that every NED has a grasp of the fundamentals such as financial literacy and corporate governance. It’s not rocket science and you will find lots of online resources to help you. Women on Boards has an online Resource Centre packed with links and advice, and we also have specific webinars on key topics such as finance and cyber.
  1. Present yourself as a board-level candidate. There is a difference between a CV and a Board-ready CV. Understanding how to frame your achievements and potential in a way that appeals to boards is a skill that needs to be honed. You also need to articulate what it is that you can uniquely bring, in terms of your personal style as well as expertise. It can be challenging, but Women on Boards has lots of advice and different levels of support to help you do just this.  

Whether you’re looking for an intellectual challenge or to simply pursue your passions, there is a generation of 40-something women who are staring at the second half of their life excited about the journey and the chance to reinvent their careers. Remove any obstacles you have in your mind (too old, too busy, too scared) and, quite literally, jump on Board! As they say, “the bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” 

If you would like help getting started with your Board career or taking it to the next level, please get in touch here

About Women on Boards UK 

Women on Boards UK exists to encourage, inspire and actively support women – from all sectors – to find their own pathway to the boardroom. Its network of 35,000 women (and some men) gain access to information, support and connections to help them take on a board role as a non-executive director, trustee or governor, or to get to the top within their own company. What we do works – seven of our members gain a new board role every week (on average). 

Do you feel inspired to reinvent your career? Let us know by dropping a comment below or reaching out to us on Instagram.

What is social prescribing and how can it help you?

You may have recently heard the word social prescribing coming up in the news. From the use of the arts to help those struggling with mental health including the possibility of using comedians to help those with trauma. But what is social prescribing and how could it help you? Here, we get the full-down on social prescribing from Bev Taylor, Director of Strategy, National Academy for Social Prescribing and why this latest form of lifestyle medicine might be coming to prescribed to you by your GP sometime soon….

What is a social prescription and when is it generally used?

Social prescribing changes lives. It connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.

Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and sources of advice, practical and emotional support. A social prescription helps people get more control over their health and wellbeing, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:

  • have one or more long-term condition
  • need support with their mental health
  • are lonely or isolated
  • need extra help to make community connections
  • have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

The NHS has committed to connecting people to activities in the community that help them manage their health and wellbeing. The National Academy for Social Prescribing exists to ensure these activities are supported, celebrated and able to support people’s needs.

How can it improve our health?

There is emerging evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes for people, such as improved quality of life and emotional wellbeing.

Many things affect our health and wellbeing – finances, access to green space, what’s going on at home, to name a few.1 in 5 appointments booked with GPs are for essentially non-medical reasons. These include issues such as loneliness, social isolation, debt, housing issues and relationships. [Source: A very general practice: How much time do GPs spend on issues other than health? – Citizens Advice]

People may talk to their GP because they may be feeling stressed about their work, money, or because they are lonely and isolated. The impact that these issues can have on our physical and mental wellbeing has been particularly clear as the nation responds to COVID19.

But these problems cannot be fixed by medicine, or doctors, alone. That’s where a social prescription comes in.  Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.

Activities such as those connected with the arts, or natural environment, or engaging in exercise or sport can help us to maintain and build relationships, unlock our strengths, to have choice and control and to find constructive and helpful activities within our community.

social prescribing

How can it improve our enjoyment of life?

Everyone will gain from being asked the question ‘what matters to you?’ Social prescribing link workers help those people who need extra support to make community connections. They introduce people to community groups and practical support. They follow-up to ensure that people are included and getting the support they need.  Having someone to help us deal with poor housing and money worries can be a real life saver.  It can be positive to be out in the community, doing things, learning new skills, and meeting new people. All of these add to our enjoyment of life.

What could a social prescription include?

Social prescribing links people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, debt counselling, housing advice, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

What are some examples of social prescription?

Through the Thriving Communities Fund the National Academy for Social Prescribing is supporting 36 projects to deliver social prescribing in their communities. Some highlights include:

  • Reading Voluntary Action – Wild Being – An extensive programme of arts, culture, nature, physical activity and life advice for 300 people including pop up arts, English language conversations, and gardening.
  • Robin Hood Health Foundation Prescribe to Thrive Partnership – Tailored social prescribing to reach 100 residents to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, alongside support for artists and creatives.
  • Argyle Community Trust Green Social Prescribing – A health and wellbeing programme in Central Park, Plymouth, to enhance use and enjoyment of green space and green social prescribing.
  • Canal & River Trust – Nottingham & Beeston Canal – The Canal & River Trust will lead partners will use the natural asset of the Nottingham & Beeston Canal to provide physical activity, art, heritage and food-based activities, reaching c.430 people.
  • Heeley Development Trust – Happier Healthier Heeley Plus – A range of creative, green and physical activities to help people reconnect – including bicycle powered Shakespeare.
  • Sunderland Culture Sunderland Social Prescribing Partnership – High-quality creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families including doorstep delivery, men’s shed, outdoor volunteering and singing for lung health.
social prescribing

How do we go about getting a social prescription?

In 2019 the NHS introduced social prescribing link workers as part of the NHS infrastructure, which acknowledged what was already happening in some places. They were introduced in primary care networks, as part of the multidisciplinary teams within the practice team.

When social prescribing works well, people can be easily referred to link workers within their GP practice. People can also refer themselves.

There are many opportunities for people to access community activities directly, but the social prescribing link worker role is crucial for those unable to connect for themselves, or facing barriers to achieving their health and wellbeing goals; or perhaps lacking skills, knowledge or confidence.

Anything else to add or any resources to share?

The Thriving Communities Ideas Hub is packed full of inspiring stories, and you can join our Network to connect with others interested in the field.

photo created by rawpixel.com and tirachardz – www.freepik.com

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

Welcome back to our 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 autumn edition of Tried and Tested. PLUS there is the chance to win over almost £500 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

Mockingbird Spirit

Have you also fallen into the habitual 6pm wine trap? It’s time for a replacement. We’ve tried and tested non-alcoholic alternatives. And we’ve hit the jackpot. Mockingbird Spirit is an alcohol FREE, tequila INSPIRED, agave-based SPIRIT. Ideal for making all the margaritas with none of the migraines. Embodying the spirit of the Mockingbird, humbly mimicking the taste of Tequila by using authentic 100% Organic Mexican Blue Weber Agave. A functional & adaptogenic, passionately produced Alcoternative, made with all vegan/ gluten free ingredients to support health and happiness. Feat. Pure Ashwagandha, an adaptogen that benefits mental and physical wellbeing.The latest creation from their team of wellness beverage enthusiasts is the brand new Non-Alcoholic Mexican style Cerveza; Esmeralda, made with real Mockingbird Spirit. 

Mockingbird Spirit, £22.99 Esmeralda, £26.99 for 12. Available from mockingbirdspirit.com

Tuscan Tree

We were so excited to try out this new non alcoholic aperitivo and it didn’t disappoint when we used it for mixing up a Negroni. Infused with the fresh, natural juice of real blood orange juice. The bottle looks awesome in any drinks cabinet. Check out the mocktail menu on their website here and unleash your Italian spirit without the hangover!

Tuscan Tree, £11.99 (70ml bottle.) Available from Amazon, Master of Malt

Bella Italia

You had me at prosecco! Bella Italia is a unique 0% alcohol free sparkling wine made & bottled in the heart of prosecco country in Treviso, Italy. Using revolutionary technology keeps the unpasteurised & micro-filtered must fresh, with nothing added except the carbon dioxide which guarantees that special fizz. The result is a fresh Italian sparkling wine with a delicate flavour, low calorie content (just 46 calories per glass)& always, all importantly, 0% alcohol. Having tried and tested it during Mimosa Thursday, we are not joking when we tell you we couldn’t tell the difference and it was nice not to be tipsy on the school run! (jokes!)

Bella Italia, £9.95. Available from Amazon

Good Fibrations snack bars

How thrilled were we when these little bad boys landed on our desk for us to snaffle. We really struggle around 4pm and these bars are perfect. Designed to support your gut health, they are one of the highest fibre content health bars on the market and provide a third of your recommended 30g daily fibre intake! The bars come in yummy Peanut Butter, Raspberry & Coconut, Apple & Cinnamon, Cocoa & Hazelnut and are gluten-free, high in fibre, dairy-free and totally vegan too.

Good fibrations, £1.30 individually or boxes of 12 in Peanut Butter and Raspberry & Coconut for £15 for 12. Available from The Gut Stuff or Ocado

Jack Link’s High Protein Meat Snacks

I’d always been super curious about beef jerky. In 2019, Jack Link’s launched an improved recipe for its delicious Beef Jerky range, delivering a juicier and even more tender bite, responding to consumer demands following rigorous taste tests. I love the texture of it and its salty goodness. The full range is made of 100% lean beef, is high protein and all products are under 80kcals per portion. The Beef Jerky currently comes in three delicious flavours including Original, Sweet & Hot and Teriyaki. Perfect for afternoon snacking, on-the-go refuelling at home or at work.

12 x Bags, £12.99 from jacklinks.online or £3 per bag. Available from Ocado

Looking after our bodies & minds

tried and tested

The Leg Master® 

Pelvic floor issues? Have you got 1 minute a day? That’s 60 seconds ladies! We’ve got you. This fantastic bit of kit uses your own body weight to improve pelvic floor health through classic strength training and deliver a full body workout, and also improves posture.  Pelvic Floor health is essential not only for women who have had babies – but for everyone (men included!), and one beneficial side effect of The Leg Master® Total Body is that the muscles used to control ‘incontinence’ are strengthened, and tightened. Watch me in action here!

The Leg Master® , £89.95. Available from legmaster.co.uk

Trade to Aid pads

Feeling conscious of your period waste but haven’t yet made the switch to reusable pads. It’s not as scary as you might think! If you’re thinking of making the switch, we highly recommend taking the plunge with Trade To Aid reusable sanitary pads which come with everything you need to be kinder to the planet when Aunty Flo comes to visit. Think bright colours, a variety of pads to suit your flow during your period and the inclusion of a much needed matching waterproof storage bag and an absorbancy level which was absolutely spot on. Plus for every pack of pads you buy from Trade To Aid, they give a free pack to someone in need in a refugee camp to help the fight against period poverty. We’re almost excited to get our next period so we can use them again!

Trade To Aid Reusable Sanitary pads, £29.95 for a set. Available from tradetoaid.org

Beautifying with

Beauty products from Asia

We all know those beautiful women from Japan and Korea have the most to-die-for skin and now it’s time for us to get a piece of that pie! Korean beauty giant Atomy understands the importance of self-care, which is why they have created an online shopping mall that encapsulates everything to make you feel amazing from the outside in. We are huge fans of their multi award-winning Absolute CellActive Ampoule. Think of it like your favourite serum – only more powerful, much like a boot camp for your skin. Repairing, hydrating, brightening and anti-ageing, this is your secret weapon in times of skin dullness, breakouts, inflammation and irritation. Or whenever your skin is not looking its best.

Time to hop over to Japan. Hada Labo Tokyo™ -Japan’s number one selling skincare brand – is now available in the UK and we are massively crushing on it.  Formulated for dry and dehydrated skin, this super skincare brand is designed to boost hydration by supplementing your skin with hyaluronic acid. We can not live a day without Hada Labo Tokyo™’s Anti-Ageing Super Hydrator Lotion or Wrinkle Corrector Eye and Mouth Cream which together with their Anti Aging Sheet Mask has left us looking about ten years younger!

Absolute CellActive Ampoule, £36. Available from www.atomy.com/uk. Stock up on Japan Hada Labo Tokyo™’s range at Superdrug.

Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm

There is something incredibly comforting and soothing about using a facial balm, especially at the end of a long hard day. And that’s why Beeutiful’s B-Rose Facial Balm has become part of our bedtime beauty ritual. Know for creating natural handmade skincare so natural you could eat it, Beeutiful’s B-Rose Facial Balm is a luxurious blend of specially selected Jojoba, Rosehip & Macadamia oils combined within a beeswax base and the addition of delicate Rose Absolute to refresh, regenerate & tone.  It smells amazing, transporting us nightly a gloriously scented rose-filled relaxing place. But the real plus? Waking up to an fabulously nourished looking visage every morning!

Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm, £18. Available from from Beeutiful

ThickTails

So many of us are challenged by fine, thin hair and have tried so many different brands over the years. With perimenopause on the horizon, we were keen to try something new to help us battle the trestles. This range does not disappoint. ThickTails works to stimulate new hair growth by:

  • Improving the quality of the keratin structures formed.
  • Stimulating collagen and fibre renewal.
  • Reducing hair inflammation around the hair shaft.
  • Keeping the scalp at the optimal pH balance for healthy hair to grow.
  • Providing essential active ingredients to protect hair from free radicals and oxidants. 

Check us out using it via Instagram here

ThickTails Stimulating Shampoo, £17 Stimulating Conditioner, £17 Thickening Spray, £17. Available from Thicktails.com

Wearing

Cozi Hoodie

Close your eyes and imagine being swarmed by 100s of fluffy puppies… and that friends is that it feels like to be wearing a Cozi Hoodie. Made with sherpa fleece and lannel fleece to keep you warm and cushy so you don’t have to worry about the cold, we are pretty sure that this is the cosiest, comfiest and warmest we’ve ever felt whilst being engulfed in our Cozi Hoodie. Think taking comfort with you anywhere – nana naps on the couch, alfresco drinks with friends, cuddling with your pooch or partner – the options are endless!

Cozi Hoodie, £59. Available from cozihoodie.com

PLAINANDSIMPLE T-Shirts

This is a new ‘circular’ company. The slogan here is Made to be Re-Made. They offer free returns and a lifetime guarantee, that when they’re worn out, you can send them back, get £6.00 store credit, we then break them down and turn them into new ones. How awesome is that? They are perfect for autumn, wearing under leather jackets or styled in many different ways.

T-shirts, from £24. Available from plainandsimple.com

Feather and Bloom headbands

There’s nothing we love more than a strategically placed headband for elevating an every day look or dustract from greasy hair. Our go-to is this gorgeous guinea fowl feather headband from Father and Bloom. Simple, striking, elegant and easy to pair with so many different outfits, plus this is the most comfortable hairband you’ll find. 

Spotty Headband, £30. Available from Feather and Bloom

Tillet’s Clothing Cape

We are big believers in the power of accessorising over at 40 Now What. Our recent crush? This block patterned knitted cape from Tillets Clothing. Perfect for adding a bit of style over your standard jeans and boots look, but also super flattering and incredibly versatile making it the perfect layering piece for the season.

Block Patterned Knitted Cape, £30. Available from Tilllets Clothing

Vionic Shoes

These shoes are divine. I’m living in my Cecily ankle boots this autumn. This is an orthotic footwear brand which is loved by 40+ women, both for its style and also the fact that every pair of shoes comes with in-build comfort technology, which cups the sole, provides arch support and cushioning under the ball of the foot. We had a sneak peek at their Spring/Summer 22 collection and have to say ladies, your feet are in for a treat!

Ankle boots, £130 Available from Vionic shoes

Nurturing our homes with

tried and tested

Papershades

Fabulous, unique and, quite frankly, awesome. These are, as the creator herself describes are, ‘a very different lampshade.’ Ros is an artist who specialises in paper collage. Choose from a variety of collections including florals, places, culinary, literary, nostalgia or large. There’s a handy construction guide and easy to follow instructions so you can easily enjoy your beautiful papershades, perfect to bring some snazz to any room.

Papershades, £30. Available from papershades.co.uk

OceanSaver EcoDrops

This is a 100% plastic free, plant-based cleaning brand, on a mission to get everyone to banish single use plastic from home cleaning routines to preserve our oceans for future generations. They’ve taken a stand, by making really effective, plastic-free, plant-based home cleaning solutions, with all the power and none of the pollution. Unlike conventional cleaning brands, they don’t ship water. Simply drop the cleaner into the bottle, add water, shake & clean. Et voila!

The Everyday Essentials Starter Collection £17.50. Available from OceanSaver or find your nearest stockist here.

***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 almost £500 worth of prizes! Would you like to win…

12 x Esmeralda Non-Alcoholic Cerveza + 1 x Giftboxed Mockingbird Spirit 70cl 

1 x bottle of Tuscan Tree

1 x bottle of Bella Italia

12 x Good Fibrations snack bars

12 x packs of mixed Jack Link’s jerky

1 x Leg Master

1 x box of Trade to Aid reusable pads

A supply of Hada Labo Tokyo™ Anti Aging Sheet Masks

1 x Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm

1 x set of Thicktails Shampoo, Conditioner and thickening spray

1 x plainandsimple T-shirt

1 x Feather and Bloom headband

1 x £20 gift card to spend at Tillets Clothing

1 x Cozi Hoodie

1 x pair of Vionic Shoes

1 x Papershades lampshade

1 x OceanSaver starter pack

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.

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.

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 you lonesome tonight? Making friends after 40

When did you last feel lonely? Maybe it was yesterday, earlier in the week, one evening when you partner was working late and the kids were tucked up in bed. Perhaps since the pandemic, your social life feels like it has been reduced down to the size of a pea, and you’re wondering whether if you disappeared off the face of the earth with a little *poof* of smoke, if anybody would even notice. Maybe you’ve recently left your partner or husband and wondering whether there is any hope for making friends after 40 or if you’ll just be left on the friend shelf like a defective raggy doll. Or could it be that you have an absolutely raging social life still….in which case, I salute you!

Whatever the above, loneliness has reared its head in all corners of world, as we got robbed of our normal way of living with 79% of us now feeling lonelier than we did before Covid came and smacked us and our social lives full-on in the face. That’s felt even more keenly among single people, where the figure rises to a whopping 87%. And if you already struggled with social anxiety before? The bets are on that you are now feeling lonelier than ever before as the struggle to maintain friendships becomes even harder.

Is the forties the lonely decade?

So you’ve hit your 40s, and they say that life begins at 40, expect a study has found that people in their 40s feel the most lonely of all, god help us. But why is this? This Loneliness Awareness Week, I asked best-selling author, Gill Hasson of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely why exactly this might be and here’s what she said:

Typically, you can become lonely either because of a gradual change in your circumstances or a because of a sudden change in your circumstances. You then either gradually become aware that you’re lonely – you feel disconnected, separate and maybe even isolated from others – or you are aware of a sudden loneliness.

The following circumstances can leave you feeling lonely:

  • A deteriorating, unhappy relationship or divorce.
  • If you have teenage children they need you less and less or they may have left home for university or work.
  • Becoming a parent for the first time – when all your friends’ children are much older
  • An unfulfilling job, having to now work from home, redundancy and unemployment.
  • A change in family and friends’ circumstances – maybe they move away, have a new relationship, start a family.
making friends after 40

Well that all makes sense. But without a tribe around us, shrinking social circles and confidence resulting in that feeling of withdrawal from life what is the remedy here? Is it making friends after 40, which in itself probably makes your insides cringe, but is probably the loneliness remedy here? The answer is categorically, yes.

Making friends after 40

So once we have chewed the cud and swallowed the horror that we need to put ourselves back out there on the friend market in our 40s, the question is – how the hell do we go about making friends after 40 anyway?

Firstly, fret not! Gill quite rightly points out, “There are people who are open to meeting others and making friends too. You’ve just got to find them. It takes effort on your part; you need to be willing to meet others, to be yourself and give something of yourself. A good way forward is to start with your interests. When you have interests and activities you enjoy, you can meet and join in with people with similar interests. Whether it’s playing or watching a sport, a creative activity or an enjoyment of arts and culture, getting together with people who like and enjoy the same things as you makes it easier for you to talk to them and make friends because you’ve already got something in common; you share similar interests and values.”

I asked her to share her top tips for making friends after 40 and this is what she said:

Go to a Meetup event

Have a look at www.meetup.com which enables people to find and join groups of others in their local area who share each other’s interests. There are Meetup groups to fit a wide range of interests and hobbies, plus others you’ll never have thought of: Book groups, art groups, film and theatre groups and sic-fi groups. Hiking and running groups, football groups, netball groups and cycling groups. There are groups centred around particular age groups, cultures and identities; ’40’s – 60’s’ groups for example, Japanese appreciation groups, conservation groups, singles groups, LGBT groups and so on.

People who go to ‘Meetups’ do so knowing they’ll be meeting people who are also open to meeting other people with a shared interest or identity and making new friends.

Take a class

Meet people who want to learn the same things as you. You can search for courses by going to your local council’s website and searching ‘adult education’ or ‘adult learning’ in the search bar. You can also find courses in your area by searching on FindCourses  findcourses.co.uk/search/fun-hobby-and-exercise-classes And the WEA www.wea.org.uk have classes in almost every area of England and Scotland.

Volunteer

Volunteering for a cause or local community initiative that interests you is another way to connect with other people. As well as helping and meeting others, you’ll meet other volunteers who could become friends.

Volunteers can do almost anything; there’s a huge range of volunteer opportunities available to you. Whether it’s serving tea at a local hospice, helping at a local community food project or an animal rescue centre, working with refugees, advocating for someone with a learning disability or mental health problem, not only can you do something of worth and value, but you can be involved in something that’s relevant to your values and interests. Go to www.ncvo.org.uk.

Look out for organisations that connect people

As well as the Meetup groups, courses and classes in your area, there are national organisations with local groups and clubs whose specific aim is to bring people together so that they can connect and make friends.

Mens Sheds menssheds.org.uk

The Women’s Institute thewi.org.uk

The Townswomen’s Guild www.the-tg.com

Apps that connect people with others:

Friender  frienderapp.com

TogetherFriends www.togetherfriends.com

Meet My Dog meetmydogapp.com

Nextdoor nextdoor.co.uk

Remember; you can make new friends, but you have to get out there!

Have you been feeling more lonely in your forties? How do you feel about making friends after 40? Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.

About Gill Hasson

Gill Hasson is the author of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely (published by Capstone, June 2021). She has 20 years’ experience teaching and writing on a range of issues to do with personal and professional development, mental health and wellbeing. She is the author of more than 22 books; the bestselling Mindfulness, Mindfulness Pocketbook, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Thinking, the Sunday Times bestseller How To Deal With Difficult People, plus other books on the subjects of resilience, communication skills, assertiveness, and Careers. Follow: @gillhasson

Photo by Designecologist,  Polina Sirotina, Felipe Cespedes, RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Will meditation help me? Here’s why you need meditation in your life

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Have you often wondered “will meditation help me?”.

Well, let me break it down for you like this. Life before meditation, and quite frankly, I was completely crazy. From struggling with insomnia to unleashing seismic fits of rage on my partner, I felt like a terrible parent and human being wound like a tight coil ready to spring at any time. You name the inner demon, I was struggling with it.

I was on the road to 40 and beginning not to like myself very much. I had become so grossly reactionary to pretty much everything and especially when life wasn’t going according to plan – which let’s face it can feel like 99% of the time. I wondered “will meditation help me?”. I desperately hoped the answer would be yes.

I needed to mentally unplug and get away from it all, and six years ago booked myself onto a half day meditation workshop with Simon Hoten for beginners where I learnt the basics of meditation, how to meditate using a candle, moving meditation and more. I had always been nervous about the idea of meditation. Could I actually sit still and meditate when I couldn’t even handle a Savasana at the end of a yoga class without wanting to have a massive twitching fit? And even if I managed to do that, when on earth would I ever fit meditation into my daily life?

I left the workshop feeling deeply and sublimely relaxed. The best takeaway? The revelation that even just three minutes of meditation could help me. And armed with that knowledge that meditation didn’t require a large chunk of my time, I tentatively started my meditation practice, just before light’s out every evening.

Six years later, it’s still going strong. Sometimes it’s three minutes – sometimes it’s 15 minutes. Hey I’m not counting! But either way I am no longer asking “will meditation help me” because I know the answer is a resounding yes.

Will meditation help me? Here are the ways it has done good in my life

Meditation has so far improved my life by:

  • Easing my anxiety
  • Improving my overall mental health
  • Helping me sleep
  • Making me less reactionary
  • Increasing my self-awareness and self-control
  • Making me feel overall happier and more confident
  • Enhancing my productivity, creativity and efficiency

But don’t just take my word for it. Just google “How meditation changed my life” and you will find reams of pages dedicated to people saying the same. This – my friends – is no coincidence. Because meditation works.

Will meditation help you find your right mind?

Recently I discovered Finding my Right Mind: One Woman’s Experiment to put Meditation To The Test. The book follows Vanessa Potter’s journey – where one day she woke up to find herself blind and paralyzed. How absolutely petrifying! She was stunned to discover that it was meditating, not drugs, that saved her mind.

Convinced she had more to learn, she embarked on her own consciousness road trip, exploring the major schools of meditation, along with hypnotherapy and psychedelics. In order to objectively record her journey, Cambridge neuroscientists measured her brain activity, with their observations and results featured within the book. It’s a fantastic whistle-stop your of the different types of meditation out there, and it provides an unusually voyeuristic glimpse into how powerful meditating can be. So if you’re not yet convinced that meditation can help you find your right mind – or even how on earth it can – then I would suggest you read this book!

I loved how perfectly she summed up the impact meditation can have on your life in her conclusion:

“It’s taken effort and time, but meditating doesn’t have to be a straight jacket; ironically, it’s been freeing. I’ve learned to be responsible for myself – what I think, feel and do is up to me….I had to acknowledge the different versions of myself. The nice, patient self along with the grumpy, worried-about-my-kids self. Neither is better or worse.”

She continues, “Meditation doesn’t have an on-off switch. It’s not as simple as doing it or not doing it. Sitting still is only part of it. What happens after that then, twenty or thirty minutes is just as important.” It’s that last part that rings so true for me – it’s about how meditation eventually informs everything that you do in your life, and makes it better.

Help! I can’t sit still and quieten my thoughts for love nor money

I hear you! I also have a brain that behaves like it has been soaked in amphetamines for a week straight plus a back that screams “I hate you!” most of the time. But yet still, I am living proof that it is possible. If you are in the same camp, then you will want to know about Sitting Comfortably by Swami Saradananda – an internationally renowned yoga and meditation teacher who has inspired thousands of people to practise.

It is full of tips for those who are prone to getting distracted, finding sitting painful, lack of time and self-discipline. Read: everybody. Once you have read this there will be no more excuses. You will stop wondering hmmmm will meditation help me and dive in and finally find out for yourselves.

Swami notes, “The mind likes constant stimulation, so when you try to sit quietly during meditation, without giving your mind external entertainment, it may come up with resistance and excuses not to continue. Rather than viewing these as setbacks, it is useful to view them positively, as obstacles to be overcome and lessons to learn from. Below are some common mental and physical challenges of meditation and how to overcome them.”

Be in the moment

Memories of the past and daydreams of possible futures can often distract the mind. If these come up while you are trying to meditate, just bring your mind back to your point of focus – whether it is your breath, a mantra, a visualization, or whatever other technique you have chosen to use.

Avoid fault-finding and replaying thoughts

Try not to review the shortcomings of other people when you are sitting for meditation and also be careful not to get caught up in self-criticism. If you find your mind re-processing the events of the day during meditation, remind yourself to come back to your point of focus, whatever that may be.

Be fearless

You may uncover hidden fears during meditation that have been lurking within your subconscious mind. These can manifest in many forms: fear of death, disease, solitude, criticism, or even just facing yourself. All fear stands in the way of meditative progress, so develop the habit of observing them with detachment. You will find that many will dissipate of their own accord if, instead of allowing yourself to get caught up with them, you simply return your attention to your chosen point of meditation focus.

Avoid muscle cramps

You could take a walk before sitting to prevent cramps. Make sure that you are getting enough potassium in your diet – and maintaining a healthy potassium-magnesium-calcium balance. Consider eating more bananas, dried apricots, prunes and other fruits.

Feeling disorientated?

Sometimes you may feel that your body is whirling or moving in a spiral motion as you sit in meditation. This tends to be more common if you meditate with your eyes closed. If this happens, open your eyes for a moment to reorient yourself and then close them and restart your meditation practice.

Exercise for optimal energy

Doing some form of exercise prior to meditating – whether stretches, yoga poses, breathing exercises or even just going for a brisk walk – can help to energize you for it.

So if you still think that meditation is just sitting around and doing nothing then think again! Still wondering “will meditation help me”? Let’s put it this way – I would be willing to put my house on the line and answer your question with “yes it will!”. Well, go on then and give it a try. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose, apart from all those bad habits that meditation can help you get rid of :).

Photo by Shashi Ch on Unsplash