Our 40s are a period of reflection. As we come up for air from the first half of our life, we then begin to wonder what we should do with our lives in the next half? There are lessons to be learned, changes to be made, and a whole bunch of potential awaits, for both late-bloomers and people who have been living it large already. So what’s the life advice for your 40s you need to know? We spoke to, Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, master storyteller, who has devoted her life to helping others rewrite their stories whose latest book Storytelling Legacy: Everyone Has Stories—What are Yours? to get her essential life advice for your 40s, as well as her perspective on what being a woman in her 40s in today’s world looks like with the benefits of hindsight.
What are some things you would go back and tell your 40-something year own self?
At 40, be very good to yourself. Self-care (sleep, regular eating, lots of exercise and healthy connections) will determine how the rest of your life will go. 40’s and 50’s are “turning point” ages.
What are some of the biggest issues women in their 40s are facing today?
Overwhelm, not enough time, clock ticking in relationships, life is operating “at its peak”.
What can we do about them?
Remembering that overwhelm is simply a sign of “not” making enough choices, clutter is about “not making choices” and not enough hours in the days is about “not making enough choices”. Theme here, “go forward and choose along the way”. It means getting comfortable with “letting go “ of people, activities and things.
What are some life lessons you’d like to impart on women turning or progressing into their 40s?
Simplify. In order to find all the good things and the things that make you happy, your job is to “make room” by living more simply.
What is the best way to conquer your 40s?
Don’t see them as “something to conquer”. I see the forties as rich time to change direction and look forward to each decade as it comes along. Sometimes the best focus for the 40’s is to turn the sail of your private ship and decide which directions (s) you want to go.
What are some of the things we should do before turning 50?
The best tools are daily exercise goals, getting one’s body ready for the next few decades, let go of worn out relationships and make plans for the next chapter in life. The 40’s are the perfect evaluation, choices and directions you want for yourself as the ships starts sailing in a new direction.
What should we stop doing in our 40s?
Hanging on to old relationships from which one has grown, hanging on to lifestyles that aren’t preparing for a healthy future. Buying things that one will need to downsize from in the 40’s and 50’s. This is not a good time to accumulate. It is a time to evaluate.
Any advice for women wanting to totally rewrite their own story in their 40s?
I would suggest that the 40’s is a perfect time to rewrite one’s life. Take each of your past experiences. Choose to either celebrate it, document it (pictures, videos and stories) and hang on to them, and also know what, who and how to eliminate what you don’t want to repeat, take along or plan to enjoy. This is the evaluation decade.
Do you have any particular story you would like to share which you think would resonate with our readership?
My forties were the end and the beginning of many things. It was the end of accumulating things of no current value or sparks of joy. It is important to understand that I have kept many things and some are reaching vintage. However, I don’t keep anything that doesn’t invoke a “spark of joy”.
The forties were also the time that I cemented in my “need to exercise and move”. Whether I was in my neighborhood, along a country road, living in a city or sailing on a ship. walking each day became as regular as brushing my teeth. I still walk 2 miles a day and if all my miles were laid out in a row, maybe I’ve walked across the US. It is as familiar as breathing. It was the time that I decided to never work again. Mind you, there have been many 12 hour days of work, but I don’t consider it work IF I love what I am doing. That way my activities become my passion and I am very passionate about life.
One of my favourite stories is: Walking through an airport in Chicago, a little boy came running up to me and said, “you are the lady in the red dress”. I said “yes, I am”. At that time, I had made a movie and made a decision to always wear something bright and different in each major presentation I made publicly. I could repeat the outfits, but each was chosen for a reason. Never again, did I wear grey, brown or anything dull. Later in life, I kept the same plan for zoom calls, interviews, family movies etc. Women and children may not always hear or be interested in “what you said”, but they rarely forgot what you wore. I was also the lady with the striped green and white dress who wore glasses that also had green and white frames. The moral of this story is “stand out, own your space and enjoy it”. You matter!
Anything more life advice for your 40s to add?
Enjoy the 40’s and remember. “You are the captain of “your ship”. Sail away!
Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has devoted her life to helping others rewrite their stories, and is a master storyteller. In her latest book, Storytelling Legacy: Everyone Has Stories—What are Yours?, Sharon finally shares her story, with tales of celebrity, culture, humor, spirituality, travels and much more. She is a nationally known consultant, family therapist and author of 23 books on everything from personal development to relationships to caregiving.
Can you believe it folks!? 40 Now What is now ONE YEAR OLD! We are so thankful for everyone who has supported us by reading our articles about being in your 40s. And what better way to mark our 1st anniversary by having some of our favourite women share their wisdom about being in your 40s loud and proud! So without further ado, it’s time to hand over to the women helping us celebrate this exciting milestone with their honest and inspirational insights…
“If you’re true to yourself and your values then it’s possible to see a massive change in your life at this juncture. Reevaluating your values in your 40s is the ideal way to review what you want and start living your best life.” – Dr Mandeep Rai, author of The Sunday Times Business Bestseller The Values Compass
“As I reached my forties, life had taught me that when an opportunity presents itself, always explore and seize it with both hands. Don’t be afraid to have things go wrong. I don’t like the world failure – it’s just part of your journey and as long as you learn from the experience, then it’s an invaluable part of building your character and your business. Finally, always be flexible as having the ability to change will ensure growth.” – Nicole Sealey, Real Housewife of Cheshire and businessewoman
“You are never too old and it’s never too late to live a life you love! I was bankrupt at 38 at 50 a multi award winning entrepreneur. You CAN!” – Sarah Pittendrigh, Motivational Mentor, Multiple Founder and Multi Award Winning Entrepreneur
“40 is when it all really started to change for me – it was when I had the courage to get not only my first tattoo but the other 6 I had done in quick succession. It was also the year I changed my business stars, I left my well paid corporate job; and decided to set up my own PR business working with wellbeing and spiritual clients. This meant I could be there for the school run, work the hours I wanted and also enabled me to navigate through the hell of home schooling. I also cleaned up my act a little, I minimised my drinking habits, I practiced meditation, yoga, and started growing fruit and veg in the green house. It is in my 40’s I have truly felt comfortable in my own skin.” – Sarah Lloyd, Founder, IndigoSoulPR
“I have been loving being 40 so far. It feels like a really nice stage of life where my children (8 & 5) are a little older and need less from me. I am focusing on my business and my own health. I’ve started going to strength training once a week and have been really enjoying it. I’m loving building my business which includes a thriving practice as a clinical psychologist, an author and podcaster.” – Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist at Good Thinking Psychology & Author
“Being single and childless in your 40s does not make you a failure, it makes you the envy of your friends. It allows you to focus on yourself and be spontaneous. Stop worrying what others think, the people who care matter and the people who matter care.” – Alix Johnson, Head of PR and Communications at National Museums Liverpool
“My 40’s have been my best decade. My world imploded, but I rebuilt it differently. I (re)discovered myself and redefined my legacy. I took control and stopped living by life’s ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’.” – Carolyn Hobdey, Author, Motivator and Educator
“One of the biggest things I have learned is that if you change the language in your head and it’ll change your life. I read a book called You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and it literally did. I also created a series of positive supportive phrases that I still repeat to this day. Slowly but surely things started to change and here I am today, living my best life.” – Jo Pickard, award-winning voiceover artist and presenter
“My life changed soon after turning 40 – I met the love of my life and we started a business – Work Pirates, I got diagnosed with ADHD and now I’m writing a book – Good Girl Deprogramming. I finally realised that I didn’t have to do everything on my own, so I’ve asked for and received all the help I need to be a success.” – Michelle Minnikin, Entrepreneur and founder of Work Pirates
“By her forties a woman has crystallised her intelligence – rooted in life experience – making her fearless, determined and confident to take on the world and fight to make a difference. The best is always yet to come!” – Asma Iqbal, partner at Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors
“At the age of 42, I feel that I have learnt to acknowledge both my strengths and weaknesses and have realise both have helped me grow into the person that I am today. It is important to see challenges and obstacles as a time for learning. I believe you can achieve anything you want to in life, you just need to work hard, learn hard and of course play hard!” – Maria Afentakis, research scientists and author of The Spiritual Scientist
“I finally know who I am, and where I ‘m supposed to be. If you face your fears and just put one foot in front of the other, magical things happen.” – Rebecca Hartley, Director, Saving Grace Events and ambassador for the charity Prevent Breast Cancer
“My 30s were heartbreaking after losing my husband at 34 so turning 40 was fine. I have a son and my clock wasn’t ticking, I just wanted my life to be happy and meaningful. Hitting 40 I knew I was too long in the tooth to have my ideas squashed, style questioned and commerciality quizzed and what I know in my head can’t be put on a spreadsheet, it’s called GUT and I have bags of it. ” – Katie Moore, celebrity stylist and founder of stylepath_ldn
“We are all capable of incredible things – especially in our 40s. No matter your age, background, or title. If you want to change something – you can do it. Know you can, and do it now.” – Philippa White, CEO and Founder of The International Exchange
“Firstly, to trust my own wisdom. To gather insights from others I admire have walked a path of self exploration, but to ultimately trust my own life, my experience, and learn from my own challenges, joy and being.” – Carmen Rendell, Founder of Soulhub wellbeing community
“I have two main feelings. One that is I finally feel like I can just be myself and live life on my terms. It feels like I’ve had enough lived experience to own my decisions which is very empowering. The other one is that I feel like with all that experience, I can make the next half of my life absolutely incredible by doing what makes me come alive, sharing my learnings with others and doing more of whatever makes me truly happy and fulfilled. It’s exciting.” – Puja McClymont, Life and Business Coach, retreat host and podcast host
Can you relate to the above insights and experiences of being in your 40s? Why not add your experience of being your 40s in a comment below and join our Instagram community here where we will be keeping the conversation going.
Aging gracefully isn’t always the easiest thing to do but there are some tips and advice that can give you a better chance of doing so. You must remind yourself that you matter and that the better job you do at self-care the better you’re going to feel overall.
Below are some of the best ways to stay well as you age. Put these into practice and it won’t be long before you’re on your way to improved health and more happiness. Getting older can be hard on your mind and body but it can also be a beautiful and rewarding journey if you approach it in the right manner.
Take care of your physical body
One of the best ways to stay well as you age is to take care of your physical body. There are many ways to do so such as getting enough sleep and exercise daily. Also, address aches, pains, and discomforts as soon as they occur instead of putting them off. Have a doctor you can visit as needed and keep the number of an emergency dentist handy. It may also help to do yoga or stretch often to remain loose and build more strength and stamina. Your new routine may also include strength training as well as other fun activities that get your heart rate up.
Stay well as you age by finding useful and productive ways to lower stress. Too much of it can be debilitating and cause you anxiety and anguish. It may be that you write in a journal, review your gratitude list, or head outside for a walk when you’re feeling overwhelmed. These are just some of the best ways to reduce stress and reset when you’re experiencing tension and uneasiness. Know what your triggers are and try to avoid them or at least prepare for them when you can. Acknowledge and notice your feelings and have healthy outlets for releasing any negative emotions you’re harboring.
Challenge your mind
Mental health matters and plays a significant role in how you feel overall and function. Improve and boost your mental health by staying challenged and engaged in life. Find a job and career that makes you think and problem-solve and do some crossword puzzles in your free time. Start a new hobby and socialize with others so you’re always taking in new thoughts and perspectives.
Cook healthy meals
A nutritious diet will also help you achieve better wellness and keep you on track to feeling great. Stay well as you age by cooking healthy meals for yourself and packing healthy snacks to bring with you on the go. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and try to cut back on the refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sugar. You’ll have more control over the ingredients and what you’re putting in your body when you grocery shop and cook at home. It’ll be easier to maintain a healthy weight and you’ll have more natural energy when you eat right. There are so many benefits that it’ll be worth your efforts to prepare meals yourself.
What do you do to stay well as you age? How are you preserving yourself? Let us know by commenting below or connect with us over on Instagram.
Our 40s seem like the optimum time to take stock and really think about how happy we really are in all aspects of our lives. Career wise we might be stuck in a rut. Imagine you have a power house job in the corporate world but decide to find your own focus and create a business around yourself? This is exactly what Claire Antill did. She advocates that we are all ‘more than what we do for a living’. Here, she shares her experience leaving the corporate world.
‘At 40 I left a ‘stable’ corporate job in a company I’d worked in for over a decade. I stepped away from security to set up my own creative business venture during a global pandemic, because there is never the perfect time, right?!
Why did I do this? I’m someone who has always measured their value through what I do for a living and what others think of me. Since school, I’ve always been a study, and a grafter. If I want to do something, I learn everything there is to know about it and then strive to make it work.
However, despite working in high profile roles, companies and institutions, I felt that there was an invisible barrier stopping me achieving my potential, whatever that was. I felt like I was always waiting to be found out.
Then the identity change of motherhood hit (I’m a mum of three very close in age). Suddenly, I could no longer be all things and work all the hours. If you’ve experienced it you’ll know, it’s like walking a tightrope, with people just waiting for you to fall.
You spend your whole time apologising for not doing or being enough. Stepping through the minefield of daily office politics erodes your confidence and self worth. You can also feel like an easy target.
I had never thought of myself as creative, these are skills that are not encouraged. Working in male-dominated industries (politics & energy) in the corporate world, I tried to mould myself on those around me and downplayed my ‘soft skills’ of being a mentor, communicator and builder of successful teams.
The breaking point came for me when my twins started school, which is a whole new milestone to contend with. School hours and work hours simply don’t match up. You then try to condense more into less time and have to make sacrifices right, left and centre.
No more. I decided to take my experience and my skills to go it alone and create something new.
I had retrained in social media marketing and then advertising while on my second maternity leave. So I created a business helping e-commerce businesses to grow and thrive, built around a life they want. It’s about building meaningful connections and creating stories to resonate with people.
I love what I do. It’s very rewarding to tap into creativity and work with others to achieve their goals while shaping the life that I want for my family. i
I’m most proud of the fact that I have re-defined my self-worth on who I am as a whole person and not just through my work.
To inspire others to take action I have written a chapter for a best -selling book called Step Aside and Rise where 21 women share their stories of how they have got out of their own way and overcome challenges to succeed.’
We talked to Jo Swann, a hugely successful director at Chocolate PR and asked her for her top five tips for taking the plunge.
1. Remember why you left in the first place
We move on because we are moving away from something that didn’t make us happy, fulfill us or align with us. Remember your move will give you the chance to be who you REALLY are and take the control back.
2. Be brave
It’s not easy ‘starting from scratch’ – leaving a highly successful corporate career – but remember you are NOT starting from scratch. The career you have built up – whether you loved or hated it – is still ‘collateral’ – it is still proof of your knowledge, experience, and provides credibility. Don’t sweep this under the carpet as many do, make it work for you by highlight elements that showcase your level of expertise.
3. Be prepared to be you
When you have a blank slate this is an exciting place to be as it means you can really show up as you – but yet many of us don’t when we become business owners initially! This is because we feel we have to fit into a certain box, or feel we still need be ‘corporate us’ to be seen as professional. This can waste years of not really attracting your ideal clients so please dive head first in and let people see the real you!
4. Try not to compare yourself to others in your space
This is HARD – but it’s not helpful. If you follow people who are further along their journey than you, you are not comparing like for like and so not being fair to yourself if you then see them reaching goals you haven’t yet. Also watching others too closely takes your eye off your own path and you’ll become confused, distracted and misaligned which makes for marketing that wanders off track.
5. Get yourself some recognition early doors
Be it media exposure, a startup award, endorsement from an industry body. Our minds are not always kind to us and you may well suffer bouts of imposter syndrome feeling that you are not good enough and have made a terrible mistake leaving your ‘safe’ job! Third party recognition helps you build up your self belief as when others trust you it’s easier to trust yourself, and it builds up trust with your audience too.
Are you thinking of making the leap? Let us know about it by commenting below or follow us on Instagram.
As life starts to throw more challenges as we get older, whether it’s in terms of our health or just the sheer volume of tasks we need to complete every single day, the fact is that we’re not always in the mood for a bit of naughtiness, if at all! We can be very surprised by changes that occur in our sexual activity, especially after 40. There are very common reasons for this, such as decreased libido, hormone decreases, and changes in our sexual response. But there is more to it than this. Here, we explore, 4 common sexual concerns after 40.
1. Loss of libido
It’s a very common thing women experience, but we must remember that men experience it too! As women go through perimenopause into menopause, women are less likely to think about sex, if at all. And they may be very surprised at this sudden change. But it’s not just women. But men can have decreased libido too. And this is predominantly because their testosterone levels are starting to dip.
While some methods and medications can help with this, such as Testogel, the fact is that when both partners are losing their libido, this can throw up a confusing number of components. Commonly, if one partner is sexually active and the other one isn’t, this can pose relationship problems, where breakups and divorces can occur.
2. Perception of the self
Something that is not always spoken about in relation to sex is the fact that as we get older we are going through so many physical changes that we can feel less desirable, which means we can be less interested in sex. Over the age of 40, there is more of a chance of us gaining weight, losing fitness levels, as well as our mood altering throughout these times.
But we have to bear in mind that the challenges in dealing with each of these aspects can be overwhelming all in themselves. If we don’t feel attractive, which will impact our interest in sex, the best approach is to do what is manageable and reasonable to improve our overall health and appearance. But this alone is not enough. We then need to move on and learn to accept that we are who we are as we enter a new stage of our lives.
Having that sense of self-perception is so important, regardless of your sex drive, but the more important component is to learn to accept who you are. Once we begin to feel more comfortable in our own skin, this is when we’re going to feel more attractive and open to possibilities. So many of us don’t feel attractive, even during the act of sex, which means that we’re going to not want to even initiate this because it’s going to have a negative impact on our frame of mind.
3. Gender role behaviour
In mid-life, partners can begin to fall out of sync with each other. Women in mid-life will experience a number of changes, not necessarily because of pre-menopause but the focus in their lives changes. For women who have had children in their 20s or early 30s, now they are beginning to focus more on their own needs, but will also have more time to devote to themselves. This is why we see many women changing careers in mid-life. The same thing applies to men, as they are more likely to start slowing down in their careers and want to have a balance in their lives.
Overall, these things will impact sexual behaviour and will mean that when both partners are going out of sync with each other, they won’t necessarily have those same desires to focus on the other person. As we get older we can feel that we may have given too much of ourselves to others, especially if we’ve been in a parental role. We see many women and men in middle age going out and socialising more as they may have felt they missed out on a lot of this over the last decade or so.
The main solution to this is about, very simply, learning to sync up with each other’s lives, even to the smallest degree. It’s almost like we’ve got to let our partners get these things out of their system. After all, we deserve to let our hair down, but if our partner is looking to do the same thing we’ve got to be aware that as we try to reclaim our lives for ourselves, there is another person in the equation.
4. A change in sexual response
In women and men, there is a lot more difficulty in coming to orgasm, or orgasms may be less satisfying, and could potentially be an early warning sign of underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
What can we do to help with these problems?
As we get older, there needs to be more focus on sex in a holistic manner. The fact is that it’s not just about being able to do it as in when you please. As we get older, we’re going to encounter more health problems that pose obstacles. Here are a few things that you can do to help move things along:
As we go into mid-life, our stress can increase. And this is where taking a look at your common stressors and eliminating these will help. Because if you work to manage your stress, you’re going to improve your general well-being which will have a positive effect on your sexual appetite. Managing stress doesn’t have to be about meditating for 2 hours a day, in fact, even as little as 5 minutes a day can have a positive impact, as long as you choose the right practises for you. Learning to breathe low, slow, and deep can have a positive impact on your abilities to deal with stress.
Having a healthier diet
Our bodies respond very well to certain diets. And because there’s so much information around being healthy, we can find ourselves going down certain avenues that don’t benefit us on an individual level. Physiologically speaking, you have to ensure that you are increasing blood flow and helping your body to regenerate in the right ways. In many ways, the solutions are simple: eating for energy and having whole foods without any preservatives or additives. But it’s also important to remember that fat can also be beneficial here, especially good fats.
Women who take part in exercise have been shown to display fewer menopausal symptoms. It also increases cardiovascular health, resulting in a better sexual response.
It may be beneficial to go to the doctor and discuss the right methods to medicate any form of anxiety or depression. It’s worth noting that medication like antidepressants can inhibit sexual function, but having this in combination with a type of therapy such as CBT may work for you.
Finally, having adequate sleep is vital for every aspect of your life. Having a solid 8 hours is not just going to reduce your stress, but will increase your hormone production which has a natural impact on increasing sexual desire.
Because getting older, for many people, means naturally losing interest in sex, this doesn’t have to be the case. The reality is that we all deserve a healthy sex life, and having an understanding of the common issues that underlie a lot of middle-aged sexual anxieties, as well as having the best health solutions, will make a massive difference.
Keep the conversation going by commenting below or connecting with us on Instagram
By now we can all safely admit that we have tried SOME form of restrictive dieting in our time. I remember an old boss going through the cabbage soup diet trend and just feeling so sorry for her. She must have been starving and farty! I had the benefit of working on Celebrity Fit Club where I worked closely with the team supporting the celebrities and I learned so much about nutrition. However, I was in my early 20s and had a metabolism faster than a speeding train. It’s only now, in my 40s, I’ve discovered that this train needs a frikking service!
These days, I look to maintain a healthy balance with food. I eat mindfully and I enjoy what I eat. That said, I know that at this stage of my life, I will benefit hugely from fuelling my body in the right way. I do enjoy meat but for various reasons I do want to cut back so I was super interested to learn more about the benefits to a plant-based diet.
What is a plant-based diet?
We asked Dr Kirstie Lawton, a registered nutritional therapist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and an AfN registered nutritionist to explain a little more. She offered us the following information.
According to the British Dietetic Association, a plant-based diet consists mostly or entirely of plant-based foods. While the term is synonymously used with veganism, a plant-based diet isn’t necessarily vegan and may include those who eat some meat, fish, egg, or dairy. The diet is predominantly made up of fruit and vegetables, grains, pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds.
What are the benefits to a plant-based diet?
An entirely plant-based diet, if correctly balanced, is rich in a wide range of protein building blocks, phytonutrients (plant-derived nutrients) and a diverse array of fibre, that can support the microbiota and improve gut health. Pulses and legumes are protein-rich and contain a variety of nutrients including B vitamins, iron, folate, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and fibre to support the microbiota.
Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious food sources containing a wide variety of protein building blocks, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, zinc and copper, and fibre. Fruit and vegetables are rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre also.
There is research supporting the use of a well-considered plant-based diet for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood lipid profiles, management of diabetes type 2, weight reduction and prevention of some cancers. However, what is key here is that the diet is from whole food sources that are prepared from scratch, rather than over-reliance on processed plant foods that are high in salt and additives.
What considerations are there for eating a plant-based diet?
While a number of vegan food sources contain protein, the amount is generally quite low, so it is essential to ensure that you are eating a good source of protein at each meal. A number of these sources also have what we call limiting amino acids, e.g. a protein building block that is essential from the diet is missing. By combining plant-based foods e.g. beans and rice, the meal becomes a source of all essential amino acids. The richest and most complete source of protein is soy, however, this can be highly processed and isn’t suitable for everyone.
Research indicates that those eating an entirely plant-based diet may be deficient in a number of nutrients including riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, zinc, calcium, potassium, and selenium. Sources of all of these nutrients are available through a plant-based diet and some fortification (calcium, vitamin B12). However, someone who is plant-based and concerned that their diet isn’t diverse enough may wish to consider supplementation, which should be done in consultation with a registered nutritional therapist.
Further potential deficiencies include the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are derived from fish, and are essential for a number of functions in the body. While these can also be converted from the fatty acids found in seeds, conversation rates are low. Algae is a plant-based source of DHA and EPA and should be considered in supplement form. Finally, choline is essential for a wide range of functions, and is especially important for the growing foetus, so choline supplementation may also be a consideration in those who are eating a plant-based diet and of childbearing age.
There are more and more plant-based products on the market that are highly processed, and full of inflammatory ingredients which may not be optimal for health. These should be eaten as an occasional food choice, and replaced with homemade recipes from raw or minimally processed ingredients where possible.
Finally, those with GI issues, such as an imbalance or overgrowth of bacteria, issues with nightshades, a soy allergy, or intolerance to histamine-rich or oxalate-rich foods may struggle with a plant-based diet, and should seek support from a registered nutritional therapist to correct these health concerns.
Packed with plant-based protein, the range is ideal for those looking for a natural protein boost, whether it’s to increase energy after a workout or to incorporate as part of a family meal, the delicious topper combinations are here to elevate and nutritionally optimise those bland dishes.
To add nutritional benefit to those more indulgent meals, these tasty toppers can be added to a wide range of dishes including your favourite pizza, curry, or burrito. In fact, the handy pouches can be easily resealed and used whenever a sprinkle of goodness is needed in your dish.
Good4U Super Seeds offer a crunchy and savoury mix of tamari roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin, and British-grown green peas. At only 144 calories per 25g serving, the seeds contain zinc, known to help the immune system to reduce unwanted bacteria and viruses, ideal for fighting off those colds and flus during the winter months.
If you want to add a bit of spice to your evening meal, why not turn up the heat with Good4U’s Garlic and Chilli Salad Toppers. This spicy mix is only 123 calories per 25g serving, made with sweet red peppers, chilli roasted seeds, smoky chipotle, and a sprinkle of kale, which can be poured on your curry for a nourishing boost or added to your salad to give an extra punchy kick.
To find out more about the range and for recipe inspiration, visit the Good4U website.
I’ve been really enjoying building Buddha bowls for a satisfying lunch. Follow the steps below, picking one suggestion from each. Season to taste and enjoy! Send us your pictures on Instagram!
Grains are naturally high in fibre, helping you feel full and satisfied. Choose from one of the following:
Giant Cous Cous
We need protein in our diet to help our body repair cells and make new ones. Choose from one of the following:
There’s nothing more beautiful than eating the rainbow. So add one of the following to invite your eyes to the party:
Fats in dressings can actually help you absorb key nutrients. But don’t go crazy! Choose from one of the following:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red or white wine vinegar
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Who doesn’t love that added crunch. Salads don’t need to be boring. What will you add from the following?
I love seeing all the gorgeous colours in the bowl knowing I’m eating mindfully and healthily. The best part is, it tastes amazing. We have introduced meat-free Mondays at home. It’s a start!
Are you plant-based? Are you considering cutting back on meat? Let us know by commenting below.
What are the tell-tale signs of a mid-life crisis? This is a question that many people ask, especially those who are in the midst of a mid-life crisis. There is no one answer to this question, as the signs can vary from person to person. However, some general signs may indicate that you are experiencing a midlife crisis. This blog post will discuss some of the most common symptoms of a mid-life crisis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help and get support.
Dramatic changes in relationships
One of the most common signs of a mid-life crisis is a change in relationships. You may find yourself withdrawing from old friends and family members, or you may become more involved with them than ever before. You may also experience changes in your romantic relationship, such as increased fights or a decrease in intimacy. If you are experiencing these changes, it is important to seek help and get support. You should also keep in mind that relationships are not static, so this may be normal if your relationship with someone has changed significantly over time.
Loss of interest in hobbies & activities
Another common sign of a mid-life crisis is losing interest in hobbies and activities. You may find that you are no longer interested in doing the things you used to do, or perhaps your interests have changed entirely. If this is the case, ask yourself if these changes may have a negative impact on your life. Of course, some hobby changes are normal, but if you are experiencing changes that negatively impact your life, it is important to seek help and get support.
The loss of interest in hobbies and activities can also be caused by depression or anxiety. If this is the case, these conditions should be treated before they lead to more serious problems such as substance abuse or suicide.
Increased substance abuse
Substance abuse is another common sign of a mid-life crisis. You may find that you are using drugs or alcohol more than usual or that you are engaging in other risky behaviours such as gambling. If you are experiencing these types of behaviours, it is important to seek help and get support. Substance abuse can lead to more serious problems such as substance dependence, which can be detrimental.
Another sign of a mid-life crisis is when someone starts spending recklessly. This can be on things like cars, vacations, or even gambling. Often people in the throes of a mid-life crisis will feel like they need to “live it up” before they reach the end of their life. The key here is to carefully consider your spending habits and make informed decisions of which you’ve assessed the consequences. For example, a person experiencing a midlife crisis might be tempted to buy a new car that is out of their budget like a Maseratti, when they can, in reality, afford something more reasonable like a new Jaguar. Mismanaging your finances at this critical stage in life can seriously affect the next twenty years of your life, where you should be building towards a solid retirement strategy.
There are many tell-tale signs of a mid-life crisis. It’s important to be aware of these warning signals and take the necessary precautions, so you can make the most out of the second half of your life.
Have you fallen into crisis? Keep the conversation going by commenting below or follow us on Instagram.
Does Valentine’s Day get you groaning for the wrong reasons? It can be a bit of a cringe fest, especially if you’re finding yourself single, lonely and downright miserable. Don’t worry, there’s something for everyone here and it’s the only guide you need to have a happy Valentine’s day and make it one to remember for all the right reasons.
Many women feel depressed and sad towards Valentine’s Day, especially later in life. Perhaps because the day usually fills love in the space, which can give them pressure concerning menopause. Therefore, talks about romance possibly hit you hard. That should not be the case since you can still rock your day and feel uplifted.
Top 3 Tips For The Over 40s To Enjoy A Romantic Night
We asked Ieva Kubiliute, psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor, for her top tips on how to get in the mood on Valentine’s Day. Here’s what she said:
1. Pamper Yourself With A Spa At Home
Set up a spa night composing a scented bathtub. Have some wine and treat your body with a home spa experience or massage. Perhaps this is an opportunity to try CBD bath bombs that brings not only a splash of aromatherapy on self-care, but also some little fizzers with relaxing benefits.
2. Invite Friends
Ask friends to come over for a drink, evening snack, or a movie night. You can laugh and share a lot to shift your energy to positivity. Talk of everything. you may want to avoid conversations linked to romance as it may take you back.
3. If Single, Get A Vibrator
You can create a romantic V. Day even if you are single. A vibrator has almost everything you require for stimulating your sweet spots, leaving you screaming in ecstasy. Do not deny yourself pleasure. It is also a healthy sexual self-care.
So what else can we do to get in the mood for Valentine’s Day? Read on for some more suggestions…
Kiss me quick
The gorgeous and talented celebrity make up artist, Donna May, shared with us her top picks for the most irresistible, smooch-able red lipstick.
‘My all time Fave (but is now out of stock) is Bobbi Brown Art Stick In Harlow red or sunset orange – they are both Matte chunky pencils and stay put all day… I’m trowelling the internet to find more .
Giorgio Armani Rouge D’armani Matte in shade 402 is a luxurious red lip- it’s a deep blue red , velvety and a great Night-time shade I always feel super glam when I have this on!
Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate red Balm is a great summers day red- sheer with a red hue that can be layered up to look deeper if required, brilliant for on the beach when you just need a little ‘something’.’
There’s not better way to store your make up than this insanely gorgeous make up bag from Donna’s own collection, Donna May London.
Upgrading your underwear
We don’t know about you but the last time we decided to treat ourselves to some new underwear felt like 1999! OK, maybe not that long ago, but definitely pre-pandemic. As we hit our 4th decade, what we require from our underwear changes. We want to feel comfortable, sexy AND supported. If you think those first two words don’t go together then think again!
We’ve recently been testing out the range from No.1 Bra and can safely say they have 100% achieved this illusive combination. Their bras and undies are not only supremely comfortable (as if you had nothing on, but with all the support), cut beautifully and make you feel as if your divine feminine power is sexily oozing out of every pore. We tested this hypothesis out on one of our resident other halves – Mr C – and he unanimously agreed! Made by women, for women of today. You’ll be happy to keep these on all of Valentine’s Day.
Top buy: we especially loved the Kelly Black Bra which is not only insanely comfortable but gives you a gorgeously sexy shape and just the right amount of lift to achieve that va-va-voom factor.
Now ladies, don’t stop your underwear upgrade there. Instead hot foot it over to award winning lingerie brand Anita and Rosa Faia. Synonymous with lingerie that offers a perfect fit, excellent function and a gorgeous look – again think beautiful bra sets that combine the latest trends with modern cuts. We tested one of their bras and loved the beautiful, timeless and elegant design which made you feel like something out of a Dior advert, but scored high on the comfort stakes too.
Top buy: look out for their Colette bra which – named after the Parisian author Colette who turned Paris on its head with her unconventional style during the Belle Époque. Colette had many faces – she was a grande dame, enfant terrible, utterly sensual, intellectual and always true to herself. Wearing it will make you feel confident, sensual and brilliant.
It’s not all pants
There is ‘no bigger passion-killer than a man in a pair of ill-fitting or unattractive pants’ bemoaned 29 per cent of British women in a recent survey. That equates to 29 per cent of guys failing to light the spark thanks to being pants about their pants.
With the average man buying just 3.4 pairs of pants a year, and 22% of men admitting to not changing them daily, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to help him drop the old pants and up the passion in a shiny new pair!
New UK men’s underwear brand Crossflyoffers quality underwear both he (and she) will love. Boasting super soft quality fabrics, the stylish designs offers a UK first with their unique patented X-FLY system which enables quick and easy access to his crown jewels with a simple thumb swipe. Katie’s husband, Will, was lucky enough to try out a pair. He said ‘I love my new pants, such easy access! They are breathable, comfortable with plenty of room.’ Shortly after that they were on the floor hahahahha.
Spray your way into the mood
There is a huge amount of pressure to “do it” or be sexy on Valentine’s Day. But what if you simply don’t feel in the mood? Here’s a little cheat for you to try. Lab Tonica have just launched a new natural libido-boosting saucy mist. Blended with oils including jasmine, rose, black pepper and sandalwood, designed to stimulate feelings of pleasure, stimulation and arousal. it’s gentle enough to be used on the body, the bed and just about anywhere else you feel like! The perfect way to get in the mood on Valentine’s Day pretty much instantly!
Remember, we don’t have to get too serious and bogged down with the true meaning of Valentine’s Day – especially after the last two years we’ve had! Instead, why not use this Valentine’s Day as a chance to have some fun and frivolity. It could be just the boost you need! How will you be getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day? Why not share you plans in a comment below or let us know over on our Instagram community here.
Following on from our previous article around cervical cancer awareness, we got advice from Dr Tim Woodman, Medical Director at Bupa UK, who shared with us the following information about cervical screenings.
He says; ‘Regular health screenings have been neglected during the pandemic – there are currently 4.7 million people with cervixes in the UK who haven’t been adequately screened for cervical cancer. It’s more important than ever to book your smear test – and to encourage your friends to do the same.
Our previous research found that 1 in 5 women say they wouldn’t visit their doctor if they had pelvic pain or an unusual discharge or bleeding, and 1 in 3 women say they wouldn’t see a doctor if they had bleeding outside of their usual menstrual cycle. 41% of women wouldn’t go to a GP if they had an unusual discharge.’
From believing screening is painful, to the ‘embarrassment’ of seeing your doctor about gynaecological issues, there’s lots of common misconceptions about cervical screening that we shouldn’t believe. These myths could prevent you from attending your screening, or visiting a doctor for any unusual symptoms, such as abnormal bleeding or painful sex.
Here are the most common myths about smear tests you shouldn’t believe:
Myth 1: An abnormal smear test indicates a high risk of cancer
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer – it is used to help prevent cancer. A sample is checked for certain “high risk” types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). If these are not found, then nothing further is done, but if these types of HPV are present then the cells from the sample are checked for any changes. If any abnormal cells are found and these are left untreated, it could lead to cancer.
Having regular cervical screening will identify any abnormalities – these may not be cancerous, and mild abnormalities don’t always need to be treated.
Myth 2: A cervical screening test is painful
It’s a common myth that a cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a painful procedure. For some, it can be an uncomfortable procedure, especially if you have endometriosis, vaginismus (when your vagina suddenly becomes tight) or vaginal dryness.
Breathing exercises and distraction methods (listening to music or counting to 100 during the procedure) can help to calm your nerves. You can also ask your nurse about using a smaller speculum (the instrument used during the test) – they come in different sizes, and it can help to ease any discomfort you’re experiencing.
It’s important to explain any worries you have to your healthcare professional, as they should take additional steps to make the experience less stressful.
Myth 3: I don’t have any symptoms, so I don’t need to check my health
We have an excellent cervical cancer screening programme, which can detect early abnormalities which can lead to cervical cancer.
Even if you’re showing no unusual symptoms, you must attend your checks as these can detect abnormalities before you start showing any symptoms. Early detection is key to effectively preventing and treating cancers; attending all appointments – even if you’re feeling well – is vital.
Myth 4: Seeing the doctor about gynaecological issues is embarrassing
Do not worry – every doctor or nurse in your local clinic will have seen more vaginas and heard more intimate stories than you could ever believe! They understand that everyone is an individual and will not be uncomfortable or bothered by talking about sex, vaginal bleeding, discharge, or painful intercourse.
Performing intimate examinations is part of their everyday activities, and they want to do this to the cause of the problem you’re having. Try and be as open and honest about your symptoms or concerns as you can, as this will enable your healthcare professional to give you the best care they can.
Myth 5: If I am worried I can go for a smear test, which will rule out any cancer
No, this is not the case. The cervical screening test only looks for signs that you may be at risk of cervical cancer. It is not a cancer test, nor does it assess the health of your vulva, vagina, womb or ovaries. A cervical screening test is only suitable if you have no symptoms of concern.
If you have unusual bleeding, pain or other symptoms you should discuss this with a healthcare professional, who will decide with you what steps need to be taken to assess your gynaecological health.
Are you up to date with your screenings? Comment below on your experiences or connect with us on Instagram
17th – 23rd January 2022 marks Cervical CancerPrevention week. We’ve joined forces with the experts, bringing you this guide, to raise awareness of cervical screening. If you have a cervix, this one is for you.
Here, Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy talks about the importance of not delaying cervical screening when invited but also to see if there was anything we could be doing to avoid this type of cancer.
Did you know?
There are around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer each year in the UK.
Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer in the UK.
Cervical cancer can be prevented by having regular cervical smears.
The most common age group for women to be diagnosed with cervical cancer is in women aged 30-34 years.
Since the 1990s, the incidence of cervical cancer has fallen by around 25%. This is likely to be due to the success of cervical screening.
The number of cases of cervical cancer is predicted to fall in the coming years due to the success of HPV vaccination.
Around 850 women still die each year in the UK from cervical cancer.
Since the 1970s, the death rate for cervical cancer has fallen by around 75%. Again, this is likely to be due to the advent of cervical screening.
Risk factors for cervical cancer
HPV – 99.8% of cervical cancers are due to infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This is a sexually transmitted virus. There are over 100 subtypes. HPV 16 and 18 are high-risk subtypes, and these are the target of the current HPV vaccination campaign. Low-grade HPV subtypes, including those which cause many visible genital warts, are not a risk factor for cervical cancer.
Many women with HPV infection never develop cervical cancer, meaning other factors are also important for the infection to progress. Cervical cancer is more common in those who also had an early age of first sexual intercourse, before the age of 14, or who have had 6 or more sexual partners. Cervical cancer risk is lowered in women whose sexual partner has been circumcised.
Women with genital herpes are also at an increased risk of cervical cancer.
Smoking – 21% of cervical cancers are attributed to smoking. The risk of cervical cancer is increased by 46% in current smokers as compared to lifetime non-smokers.
HIV – Cervical cancer is six times more common in those infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). However, this risk is significantly reduced in women who are taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HART).
Oral contraceptives – Up to 10% of cervical cancers are thought to be associated with the use of oral contraceptives. However, the risk is only attributable after five years or more of use. There is no need to panic and stop taking the pill. The benefits of taking the pill are considerable and should not be underestimated. Pill users should not be unduly concerned but are strongly advised to attend for their cervical smears regularly, and to try not to smoke.
Ethnicity – Cervical cancers are more common in ethnic groups who are reluctant to come forward for screening. This means cervical cancer is more common in women who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or from low-income households.
Women who were given diethylstilbestrol (DES) – Some women were given DES, a potent synthetic estrogen, between 1940-1970, to try and prevent miscarriage. This is known to increase the risk of cervical and vaginal cancers.
The UK Cervical Cancer Screening Programme
One important aspect of cervical cancer is that it has a very long premalignant phase, during which it is possible to identify abnormal cells – by having a cervical smear. These abnormal cells can then be treated. Doing this prevents these cells from transforming into cervical cancer cells.
Adult women aged 25-64 years are invited to have a cervical smear once every 3-5 years in the UK. Those aged under 50 are asked to come once every 3 years, and those aged over 50, every 5 years. Trans men (who were female at birth) are not automatically invited but can request a cervical smear if they still have a cervix.
The smear itself is also tested for the presence of HPV. If HPV is present, you will be invited to have smears more often, or referred to colposcopy, where your cervix can be examined more closely with the aid of a special instrument called a colposcope. This gives magnified images of the cervix.
What is a cervical smear?
A cervical smear is a simple test, in which a plastic spatula is gently rubbed over your cervix (the neck of the womb) to collect some cervical cells. These are then sent to the lab to be looked at down the microscope.
To be able to do this, the doctor or nurse taking the smear, needs to see your cervix. This means you do have to remove your underwear, lie on the couch, and allow them to insert a vaginal speculum. This is an instrument, made of plastic or metal, which looks like a duck’s beak.
The secret is to try and relax as much as you can. This helps the smear taker to be able to manoeuvre the speculum as they need to, to get a good view of the cervix. Try not to get too anxious. Doctors and nurses who do smears are very well trained and will do all they can to put you at your ease. It can be uncomfortable having a smear, but it shouldn’t be painful. It usually only lasts – perhaps 30-60 seconds. This is a very short inconvenience for a test that could save your life. You can watch a video of how a cervical smear is taken here.
How many women have not had a cervical smear?
It is very worrying that in 2019, 1 in 3 women aged 25-64 had not had a cervical smear. In a survey conducted by Jo’s Cancer Trust, 2000 women were asked about their experiences of having a cervical smear. An incredible 915 had either never had a smear or had delayed an appointment to have one. 71% said they felt scared, 75% felt vulnerable, 81% were embarrassed, and 67% said having a smear would make them feel out of control. 58% were scared it would be painful.
Having taken cervical smears for over 30 years, I can tell you, taking a smear is a straightforward process, that for the vast majority of women, is easy, quick, and almost painless. The smear taker will respect your dignity, cover you with a blanket, ask permission to start the procedure and stop at any time if you ask them to stop. You do not need to feel out of control. Doctors and nurses who work in sexual health or GP surgeries, spend all day looking at female vulvas and vaginas – they are perfectly used to it, and nothing will surprise or shock them. You can feel completely at ease with these medical practitioners. Any female doctors or nurses will no doubt have had a smear test themselves and know how it feels.
What is far more of a worry, is not attending for your smear, but having to come to the clinic in the future, with a possible undiagnosed cervical cancer.
Getting your smear results
You should get a letter in the post about your results, usually within 4 weeks. If your smear is normal, you will be told to have another smear in 3-5 years depending on your age. Sometimes, there may have been difficulty interpreting the smear, and it just needs repeating in 3 to 6 months. If you do have abnormal cells, you will be referred to the Colposcopy clinic so a Gynaecologist can take a closer look at your cervix. If HPV is present, but your cells look normal, you will simply be asked to have another smear in 12 months. The important thing is to follow instructions and attend for your subsequent visit as requested.
How accurate are cervical smears?
It’s important to remember that no tests are ever 100% accurate. There is always a small chance the smear could show an abnormality that isn’t cancer, or, could be wrongly classed as negative, meaning something abnormal was missed. In between smear tests, if you have any symptoms such as bleeding in between your periods or after sex, or abnormal vaginal discharge, it’s important to see your GP or go to the Sexual Health clinic without delay.
Prevention is better than cure
After a detailed look at the statistics, experts believe that for a woman aged 33 – 64, attending for cervical screening will reduce her chance of developing cervical cancer over the following five years, by 60-80%, and reduce her chance of advanced cervical cancer by 90%. However, cervical screening is less effective in younger age groups. In general, doing cervical smears in women under the age of 25 has not been found to be beneficial.
If you have any concerns about your smear test, you could book an appointment with your GP or practice nurse, just to discuss the situation and take a list of written questions. They will be happy to help you. You can take a friend or relative to your smear appointment with you.
You can also ask for a doctor or nurse of the sex of your choice to take your smear, although you may be asked to come back on another day if this can’t be actioned at the same visit.
You will also be offered a chaperone when you have your smear. You can accept or refuse – some people prefer another person there to hold their hand, while others prefer as few other people in the room as possible.
Try and find out all you can about having you smear before you get to the clinic. Knowledge is power, and it will help you feel more confident. For example, take a look at Jo’s Trust – Cervical Screening.
What can you do to reduce your risk of cervical cancer?
You can have a smear at any time so long as you are not bleeding. In the past, smears were preferable around midcycle – on day 14 – but these days this is rarely needed. If you are on a form of hormonal contraception, you will not be ovulating anyway, and will not have a day 14. This might be needed in older women, who are having natural cycles, if it has been hard to get enough cells on the smear in the past. But don’t let the day 14 issue confuse the situation.
If you are aged 40 plus, and find smears uncomfortable, you might benefit from using some topical estrogen in the vagina for 4 -6 weeks before your smear test. Ask your GP or the sexual health doctor or nurse about this. You do need to stop using the cream or pessaries at least 2 days before the smear test.
In the UK, HPV vaccinations are offered to girls and boys aged 12 and 13, when they are in year 8. They then have a second dose 6 -24 months later. The idea is to create HPV antibodies before they become sexually active and encounter the HPV virus through normal sexual activity. HPV causes cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, penis, as well as some head and neck cancers.
Between 2009 and 2018, over 10 million doses of the HPV vaccines were administered. The vaccines have been proven to be safe and highly effective. In a recent 2019 study, which included over 66 million young men and women, HPV vaccination showed an 83% reduction in high-risk HPV in teenage girls and a 66% reduction in women aged 20-24. There was also a 51% reduction in precancerous changes to the cervix in teenage girls and a 31% reduction in women aged 20-24.
Some studies suggest the viral load of HPV is higher in the cervix of women who smoke than in non-smokers. The reasons for this are not well understood, however, a toxin in cigarette smoke known as Benzo[a]pyren has been shown to stimulate HPV multiplication.
Protect yourself from HPV by using a condom
Consistent and careful use of condoms can help prevent the acquisition, not just of HPV infection, but also other STIs. It can also help cause regression of abnormal cells if they are present on the cervix. However, having sex with an HPV infected partner, even once, without a condom, is likely to result in the transmission of infection. Most UK adults will be infected with HPV at least once in a lifetime.
The best sexual health advice at present is that women should use a condom for STI protection as well as, not instead of, a reliable method of contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. If a male partner will not use a condom, women do have the option of using the female condom, the Femidom.
Cervical cancer is linked to an increased number of lifetime sexual partners. For good sexual health, you should try to avoid multiple partners , or overlapping partners, as this is associated with increased risk.
Helen Baker founded and runs We Are All Smear Ready, a craftivism campaign to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and addressing the barriers of body image and embarrassment, two of the main barriers to attending appointments. She says;
‘With body image and embarrassment being two of the main barriers to attending a smear test, this Craftivist campaign spreads the message that you don’t have to be beach ready to be smear ready, we are all smear ready. It really doesn’t matter how your lady garden looks, nurses have seen all varieties and don’t care what yours looks like.
With so much focus on the external aspect of our bodies we can often overlook how important it is to look after our bodies internally but these mini handcrafted pants as a gentle reminder that cervical screening and HPV vaccines are the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer. By making and sharing mini pants and boxers during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, we can help to spread this important and potentially life-saving message to anyone with a cervix.’