How to keep calm and carry on in your 40s

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

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

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

Be calm

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

Balance your blood sugar levels

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

Breathe

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

Meditate

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

Embrace nature

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

Sleep

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

Support your liver

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

Drink more water

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

Eat a rainbow

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

Hug

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

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

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

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

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

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