I didn’t expect to be diagnosed with terminal breast cancer at 47. Whilst I knew there was a small possibility, I didn’t really expect my cancer would return along with an incurable diagnosis. But here we are.
If we know anything, it’s that life often throws us curve balls, this one being the biggest, shittiest one you could ever imagine. Being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer is unimaginable and something I still struggle to believe, even though I know it’s very real. As I walked out the hospital I remember telling myself and those I loved that I would beat this, that if anyone can I would. That I would defy the odds and live with this for a long time. This became my mantra and one I still tell myself most days.
As hard as it is to imagine, life goes on. Living with cancer is far from easy, but this diagnosis has driven me to try and live more vividly and fully than I had before. I may be diagnosed with terminal breast cancer but right now I’m well and not ready to go anywhere.
It takes an army to live your best life when life gives you lemons. Here’s some of the ways I cope:
I got busy living. Embracing life, enjoying the little things. I love my adventures and intend to live big.
This work is never ending. I believe I can do anything I set my mind to. It applies more now than ever before. Facing my fears, choosing my beliefs and letting go of those that don’t serve me. All of this work is central to my determination and belief that I can thrive with stage 4 cancer.
Do your own research, read books. Make sense of your cancer and take control based on what works for you.
Focusing on all the reasons I want to keep living, rather than the fear of dying. Looking forward. To the experiences and adventures I’m yet to have. My husband. My family. My friends. My business. Early on, I was so terrified, I couldn’t imagine life six months out. Eventually once the dust settles I just started focusing on living instead.
They are indicators not inevitabilities. There are exceptions to every rule. All we can do is walk our own journey, and be grateful and determined to defy the odds
Understand my disease
I spent a long time reading and researching different protocols so I kew my options. I have tried to understand what my body is trying to tell me. How to nourish myself, to appreciate, to let go. I try and take it as an opportunity to change the way I treat my body and the environment around me.
Focus on healing
I have also learnt that maybe this journey isn’t about finding a cure. A magic bullet. It’s about healing. The type of healing that never stops. Everything I do is about trying to heal my mind and body. There are so many options. The important thing is to trust the decisions you make and believe in yourself. My life has taken on a new normal, and whilst it doesn’t fit my old view of what my life would look like, it brings different joys and appreciations every day.
I’m only a year into my stage 4 diagnosis. As you can imagine, it’s been A LOT. It’s a process of continuous learning, about myself, my disease, my healing. My focus is on filling my life with love and adventures and creating something amazing as a legacy.
So when life gives you lemons, shake yourself off, take a deep breath and make shit happen.
Sara Cohen is founder of luxe sustainable womenswear brand www.hakinakina.com. Having alreadyrecovered from breast cancer once, she was in remission for several years, until last April when she found her cancer had returned and was by definition terminal. 5 years ago, having recently recovered from cancer she was looking for swimwear that suited her active lifestyle and offered the high level of protection she needed to cover up her radiation burns. She was left with minimal options; so when she moved to New Zealand she decided to take matters into her own hands. Armed with a background in marketing and 5 years in women’s wear, she opened her own business and a line of swimwear to give women the freedom to play without compromising comfort, beauty or the environment. Find out more at hakinakina.com or connect on Instagram @hakinakina.active.
Do you find you struggle to speak up and be heard? You try and speak only for someone to interrupt you and finish off your conversation. Do you feel like no one is listening? It feels like your opinions, ideas and thoughts are not important enough. When you feel like no-one is listening to you it can make us feel unvalued, unappreciated, and just damn right fed up. It can affect our self-esteem and our confidence. We scream inside our heads ‘why won’t you let me speak?’ We hear voices in our own head telling us not to bother; it’s not worth it as no-one listens anyway. But it doesn’t have to feel and be this way. All you have to do, is make a few changes and you’ll be amazed the difference that it will make.
Step 1: Control your thoughts
Be in control of your thoughts; they can either help you or hindebr you. Your thoughts can either empower you or disempower you, encourage you or stop you. Your thoughts can change your life now and for the future. Choose them wisely. When negative thoughts pop in your head; challenge them. Are they true? Really true? Ask yourself is it true or are you just scared of the outcome? Do you fear failure is that why these negative thoughts appear? If so, challenge that thought. Turn each thought around, upside down and inside out until you feel it’s truth. Challenge your thoughts to get the lifestyle that you want.
Be brave, push yourself and the changes can really happen; it’s all in the power of your thoughts. For example, you’re heading to a meeting at work and you want to talk about an idea but your thoughts are; ‘no-one will listen to you’, ‘They will just interrupt me anyway’, ‘it probably won’t work’ and before you know it you decide to not even bother speaking up. What if you changed your thoughts to; ‘I’ll explain all the reasons why this is a good idea’, ‘if they interrupt me, I’ll ask them to let me finish’, ‘this idea is amazing and will make a real positive difference’, ‘go on girl, you can do this’. Can you see the difference on how you will feel when you turn those thoughts around?
Step 2: Be passionate, not emotional
Doesn’t it just make you crazy when someone says this to you ‘you’re being emotional’! Your feelings of frustration get higher and higher, and things just got a hell of lot worse. When this happens its crucial to flip back to Step 1. Control your thoughts. Most of the time we are being passionate about a certain subject only when we feel we are not being listened to does our passion turn to emotional, either upset, frustrations and anger. Let’s not forget that our hormones will certainly be raging at this point when our emotions kick in. When this occurs, tell yourself to stop. Stop speaking, inhale a deep breath of calm and exhale the stress. Reflect and remind yourself why this important and start again. Interrupt the emotion and get back the passion.
Step 3: Call it out
If someone interrupts you; talks over you, shuts you down, call it out. Ask them to kindly let you finish the conversation without being interrupted. Most of the time people don’t realise that they actually do it. If it’s during an argument I think we are all guilty of this from time to time, so just be aware that you don’t interrupt too. Let people speak and then you can challenge them to let you speak too.
Step 4: Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond
Sometimes we react and respond too quickly because we want to get our point across but when we do that our minds are not fully listening to what the other person has actually said. They may have a totally different perspective, but they may not be wrong, and you can respond too quickly before you fully understand the other persons reasoning. Think about the number 6 and 9. If one person is viewing it upside down you can see why they would be adamant that they are right when they believe it’s a number 6 versus the view the other persons sees which is a 9. Again, our changing hormones won’t help us as we can get easily fired up. When we sense this happening, this is when we must tell ourselves to stop. Take that breathe, check your and theirs perspective, and start again.
Step 5: Know that there is always a way
Decide and know what you want, challenge those beliefs that are getting in the way. Trust and believe that there is always a way because seek and you shall always find.
Are you wondering if is possible to feel sexy in your 40s?
As I journey more into my 40’s and look at was to feel good I have found that no matter what I try the common denominator is ME. It is up to me to feel good in myself, to feel comfortable in my own skin and to start feeling sexy again. No amount of reading self help books or courses are going to change how I feel unless I change the way I think about myself. As Mel Robbins say “No one is coming to save you, no one “so ultimately it is up to us to feel sexy again not any partner, husband, or wife it is up to us and us alone. Feeling sexy is far more than how we feel in the bedroom it’s about confidence in how we look and feel about ourselves. It is about knowing we are attractive, beautiful and capable through our own eyes; it is self-love at its best.
Accept, like, love are the steps I use when helping women to feel good about their body and start to see themselves as sexy. Acceptance can be the biggest barrier to self-love.
Accepting where you are now, longing for the body we had in our 20’s is pointless as it will never be that way again. Looking to the past will never helps us feel good in the present moment so embrace the body you have now. Accepting your body doesn’t mean giving up it is a starting point to where you want to go and how you want to feel.
Sexy is a feeling
The sexy feeling you once had is pivotal to getting your sexy back.
I want you to think back to a time when you felt absolutely super-hot sexy . Close your eyes and let the image come to the front of your mind. Then go through these questions
What are you wearing?
Where are you?
Who are you with?
What are the smells?
How does it feel in your body?
Now open your eyes and check in with yourself, how do you feel in this present moment, what’s happening in your body ? How do you feel? Has the feeling stayed in with you?
Our mind works in images and the image creates a feeling so when we recall the memory or image of when you felt sexy it is possible to get the same feeling back. This technique can be used when you want to feel good about yourself or want to get that sexy feeling back.
What you can do to feel sexy in your 40s
To help you start on your sexy back journey here are some scientifically and not so scientific methods that can help you.
Get fitted for a new bra
Having your breasts all nicely supported helps you stand taller, and your clothes sit better. Buy bras in lace and cool different colours to help with the sexiness factor.
To realease the endorphins and to remind you how amazing your body is .
Give someone a complement
What you give out you will receive back doubled. Making others feel good helps you feel good. Also practice receiving a complement don’t brush it of, just say THANK YOU !
When you smile it is impossible not to feel good – try it. Try smiling at yourself in the mirror for the ultimate feel-good factor.
Stop the self-sabotage
Remember you have the power to change your thoughts so when those negative self-sabotaging thoughts or patterns creep in, catch them and change the thought.
Bring back the fun
Try to bring in some laughter and fun into your life, we can sometimes forget that we need fun in our life and take everything so seriously. This can work well if you feel self-conscious around your partner, break the ice with a joke, laughter can help you both relax.
As I said thinking back to a time when you felt sexy or creating an image of being sexy and attractive can really help bring about those feelings. Bring in all your senses to create the image in your sun-conscious mind.
Create you own sexy affirmations
I am a big believer in affirmations but sometimes we can think in negative affirmations such as “I am not attractive, no one loves me. Saying this will never get us anywhere so you need to change it to something positive and in the present tense approve of myself I am willing to accept love I deserve love”
Looking to yourself for pleasure is the ultimate form of self-love and can boost your self-esteem. So, get to it embrace your own body for those sexy feelings of pleasure. If it been a while or you are new to pleasing yourself reading erotic novels and taking a visit to Ann Summers is certainly a way to start.
Not everyone feels sexy all the time, life and being a woman in your 40s in general can see to that but remember you are not on your own. If you are trying to get your sexy back and feel sexy in your 40s believe me there are many other women trying to do the same so go easy on yourself, Don’t forget to let the fun into your life and remember thoughts are just thoughts and a thought can be changed.
Does happiness feel elusive? Is happiness in your 40s possible? The answer for almost all of us is yes – at least sometimes, maybe often. You might feel like you’ve checked all the boxes but aren’t as happy as you’d hoped, you might wonder how anyone can be happy in the face of difficulty or you might feel like happiness is complicated. You might even wonder whether being happy is really all that important.
Here are four ways from lawyer turned Happiness Coach, Becky Morrison you can look at happiness in your 40s that might be a little bit different than what you were taught.
Happiness in your 40s is a high value investment
To many people happiness sounds fluffy. Sure they’d like to be happier but they aren’t sure that happiness is – on it’s own – a valuable commodity. What they are missing is that happiness is a cause of success, not a result. There is a significant body of research that supports the notion that experiencing positive emotions – both the momentary experience of happiness and living happy (having on balance more positive emotional experiences than negative ones) – has significant positive impacts on your physical health, your performance and your resilience.
Happier people live longer, have stronger immune systems, are better able to manage pain and generally experience fewer adverse health conditions. In addition, the experience of positive emotions – like happiness – broadens our approach to the world allowing us to think more expansively, solve problems more creatively and build relationships more easily and effectively. It’s not surprising then that the research suggests that happy people earn more, sell more and are more productive. Finally, happiness builds our resilience so that when the tough times comes, we are better able to weather the storm. In short, investing in living happy is one of the highest value investments you can make.
Happiness is not a destination, it’s an action
People often fall into the trap of believing that happiness will arrive as they meet their goals and continue to achieve. But the problem is that an unhappy journey rarely, if ever, results in a happy ending. The key to a happier life is finding happiness in the process. That means looking for – or intentionally incorporating – happiness (and other positive emotions) into your daily life.
To do this, however, you need to know where your happiness comes from – because it’s different for everyone. You can start by making a list of things that bring you positive emotions (like happiness, contentment, gratitude or even engagement). These can be big, small or anything in between. Once you’ve got a list, take one or two of your favorite items and ask yourself: what about this thing makes me happy? Keep asking that question until you’ve distilled it down into that is quick and accessible to you. For example, one of the things that makes me happiest is our annual beach vacations. I can’t escape to the beach from my land-locked home any time I want. But one of the things that enjoy most about the beach is the feel of the sun on my face. That is something that I can seek out any time the sun is shining. Having a list of the most basic sources of positive emotions is a powerful tool because you can deploy them – with intention – anytime you need a reset or an injection of positivity.
By any measure it’s been a challenging two years – global pandemic, war, social justice, changing job and home demands that came with working from home, and more. You might be wondering how can we even talk about happiness at times like these? The answer is pretty simple – happiness (and other positive emotions) can coexist with the tough stuff. You can experience happiness even during struggle. And you don’t need to bypass the tough stuff and experience only happiness.
The goal with living happier – and reaping it’s benefits – is to intentionally and authentically experience positive emotion whenever you can NOT to ignore the tough emotions that are a natural part of the human condition.
The next time you’re facing a difficult situation or a tough emotion, don’t fight it. You don’t need to force yourself out of it or through it. And while you are in it you can keep an eye out for the little kernels of positive emotion that might coexist with it – the friendly face, the helping hand, even the sunlight. Those positive kernels don’t need to outweigh or overcome the challenges, they just need to be included in the conversation. The key is to notice it all and savor the good where you can find it, even nestled in with the challenges.
Happiness in your 40s can be simple
Happiness doesn’t require radically changing your circumstances. In fact, the research suggests that more than anything your happiness is dependent on your thoughts and actions – something over which you can exercise at least a modicum of control. While you can take steps to make big changes in your life to yield a greater level of happiness those big steps are best made from a happier place so that you are architecting your happiness, rather than simply trying to escape your unhappiness. That happier place is built through your daily behaviors.
If you want to be happier starting today try this simple exercise: each day, record what made you smile. How you record this information isn’t particularly important, what made you smile doesn’t matter. What matters is that you had a positive emotional experience AND you noticed it. Because remember just the experience of a positive emotion broadens your perspective and builds your resilience. This is just one example of how simple it can really be to inject more happiness into your daily life.
Bottom line: Making a high value investment in your happiness can meaningfully benefit your health, success, and resilience. It simply requires intentional action (not radical transformation) which can happen even during challenging times and doesn’t need to be complicated.
Rebecca Morrison is a lawyer turned Happiness Coach and author of the best-selling book The Happiness Recipe: a Powerful Guide to Living What Matters. Becky works with successful but unsatisfied high-achievers to help them find their unique happiness recipe so they can live happier, lead happier and build happy businesses.
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?!
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
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
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
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. Visitemberly.co.uk and follow emberly on Instagram @emberlylearn, Twitter @emberlylearn and Facebook @emberlylearn.
Is it me, or does everything just feel so bloody hard right now? The world is full of bad news, and life feels – well, depressing. Just as we begin slowly emerge from one crisis, then comes another to beat us back down again with another. If you are anything like me, this might be happening for you on a global news agenda front, then on a more micro level of general daily clusterfucks. When you have the together – which is usually the norm at these times – it can leave you feeling utterly miserable.
If you are wondering how to drag yourself through life when the world is full of bad news, then today we have some words of wisdom to soothe you from influential leadership authority Drew Povey and former BBC and Sky journalist Sam Draper – authors of the new book When The Clouds Come.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to stay positive and chipper when that metaphorical rain keeps falling and the world is full of bad news. But storms arrive and they pass, and we abide regardless. So how can we learn a few simple ways to get more silver linings in these tumultuous times?
In our new book ‘When The Clouds Come’, we explore some positive and practical ways to deal with difficulties and challenges in your life. And here we’d like to share with you why P’ing’ is so important to staying realistic and positive in times of crisis – Pausing, gaining Perspective, and Prioritising.
In these times of anxiety, the easiest and arguably most annoying response to a problem is ‘toxic positivity’ – “look on the bright side”, “others have it worse than you”, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. All true in many ways, but sometimes you can’t help but feel the pain and trauma of stuff going wrong. It’s human to have these emotions and react in these ways. However, the 3Ps might help you acknowledge the difficulty and find a realistic and optimistic ways through.
Time to pause
The Pause is the first element of our model. The pause is powerful in all different scenarios in life. Consider a conversation where the other person isn’t really saying anything, just pause. Wait. Don’t say anything. Within 15 seconds that person will respond or remark on your silence. You have literally made them talk. The pause is powerful.
So why is the pause useful right now? Well, if you think about the world we’re living in at the moment we’ve never been so anxious and so contactable. Thanks to broadband and technology, many of us remain contactable all day long. Where is the time to pause? It’s no surprise that we get into quick, fast thinking mode that makes for poor responses to any situation. Everything is expected to be instantaneous and we can get a little bit upset if it doesn’t happen right now.
The alternative is finding a moment to slow down, be outside, give yourself some head room.
Think about the number of people that have brilliant ideas in the shower, or start thinking of things when they’re having a walk outside. In our busy world, we rarely stop and pause. These rare moments facilitate a moment of clarity or creativity that we need to make even better decisions. It’s a slow thinking habit that you’re trying to create. A deliberate pause point. If you’re in a meeting and it’s getting to a point where you can’t quite make a decision, or it’s getting fractious and difficult – time to take a pause. Ask everyone to take ten minutes and stretch their legs and come back. It works. When they return, it’s a different mindset, a different framework.
Get some perspective
The next P is Perspective. It’s the reason why so many people find it easier to give advice rather than to actually make their own decisions. Someone else’s eyes often seem to be better than your own at seeing a situation clearly. Sometimes we live life really zoomed in. As if our life is only a couple of inches from the end of our nose. We can’t quite see the bigger picture.
Sometimes it only takes a short conversation from a close friend to see that bigger picture and when you do, it really changes how you might make decisions. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get hung up on the smallest details, the tiniest of issues. Those dark clouds are on the horizon and you lose the other possible options that you could decide upon. When problems arise it is very easy to catastrophize about the situation – the snowball seems bigger and bigger, and looks like it could cause the end of the world. When really, it’s just part of a passing snow shower. Press pause, get perspective, and try to see what is actually happening.
Review your priorities
The final P is Priorities. It’s now time to use the information you’ve gathered and set some priorities. What is it that matters most right now? Part of the feeling of panic and catastrophe is because the problem reveals a whole range of different things you might try and solve. But which first? What is our important?
We need to see past a whole range of distractions to the key elements that matter most. This helps you decide what to do next. If the different perspectives you’ve been given provide you with the calm reality of your family being safe, a roof being over your head, food being on your table, you can then get to the real dilemmas. They’re the things that matter most. In these high-pressured times, we can all take on too much and try and do too much and therefore achieve very little or get that sense of being overwhelmed. We all do it, and we all need the chance to pause, gain perspective, and refocus our priorities.
You won’t feel positive by just ‘pulling up your boot straps’ or ‘soldiering on’ when the world is full of bad news, but if you use the 3Ps to help take control of your own situation, you might just see that patch of blue sky on the horizon.
When the world is full of bad news – as it currently is – take a moment to reflect on the above. Here’s hoping the storm clouds will pass soon enough. In the meantime, come and get a virtual hug over at our Instagram community here.
First there was Brexit, then there was the pandemic, and now Russia is pummelling Ukraine. If your levels of anxiety are creeping up again then you are most certainly forgiven. This morning after I dropped off my daughter at school, I had a conversation with a fellow school mum about the state of affairs and I walked away with that familiar yet unwelcome feeling of anxiety gripping my chest. When we are constantly being thrown curveballs of the unknown, the sense of dread about what will happen next becomes palpable. This, my friends, it what it is to be living through a permacrisis.
However bad whatever the world seems right now, it all feels a bajillion times worse thanks to the never ending news feeds which are constantly being rammed down our throats thank to the phones in our pockets and our attachment to social media. We can’t bare to look, yet we become disgustingly addicted to doom scrolling all in one fell swoop.
So now we are firmly here in the age of the permacrisis, how the heck do we live through it without completely losing our marbles? First let’s take a look at why we are all feeling so damned anxious now:
“It can be difficult to get your head round… after all, Covid is nearly over, and Mr Putin and his army are hundreds of miles away. So why on earth are so many of us not sleeping properly and perhaps quietly wondering if we’re mentally ill? Well, the answer is actually quite simple.
It’s because most of us are control freaks, whether we want to admit it or not!
In the UK we’re so used to being in control of our lives that it’s the ‘norm’ and we really don’t think about it very much in the usual way. We have freedom. Then, suddenly, control is wrenched away from us, and we’re subject to mammoth changes almost overnight.
The problem is, everybody’s psychology is already exhausted from two years of Covid, and just as things start to feel normal again, up comes this new threat… and resilience has taken such a beating that it all feels just too much.”
Watts offers some hope: “What can you do to relieve that nagging anxiety at the back of your mind, that uncomfortable feeling somewhere in your gut? Take time to detach yourself from it. We can’t stop what’s happening in Ukraine, but you can give yourself a psychological break from it for a while. Here’s the perfect exercise to do just that. It works best if you can learn it and then do it with your eyes closed:
Step 1: Imagine how you might look from the outside
If you knew exactly how to deal with the situation and make it as vivid in your thoughts/mind as you can. Don’t worry if it seems daft or unlikely, or what anybody else might think or say if they knew – just imagine it anyway in the privacy of your mind, and store that image of the ‘competent self’ anywhere in your thoughts.
Step 2: Now think of a clock
…with an hour hand, a minute hand and a hand that shows the seconds so that you can see the clock is working. Make that vivid in your mind, too. (You don’t have to think of both this image and the first one at the same time.)
Step 3: Take a moment
…to imagine how you look from the outside when you’re at your most anxious and make that vivid too – be honest now and make it look real!
Step 4: Imagine you can stop the clock
…and actually stop time by simply staring hard at the image so that it’s frozen in the past. In fact, everything has stopped except you. You can just walk out of that frozen scene and see yourself with each step adopting that ‘competent self’ you created at step 1.
Step 5: Zoom in
Now zoom right into that image to actually become that competent self as if you’re on the inside looking out on the world as you stride forwards and notice how good that feels.
Step 6: Repeat
Repeat steps 3 – 5 at least three times and notice how it gets easier each time. Stop when you’re happy with how you feel, or after six repeats which is about the maximum useful number.
This exercise has helped a good few people to get through trying times – and the good thing about it is that you can do it as often as you like and it gets better every time. You can’t change what’s happening in the world, of course, but you can change how you react to it!”
“Whilst as a mental health professional I know that distraction is not the cure, it can be helpful to use strategies which keep us mindfully in the present. This might include things such as affirmations, or even just practicing skills in mindfulness such as rhythmic breathing or yoga. When creating affirmations it can be beneficial to include ways you can have a positive impact upon your thoughts and actions such as: I am choosing to focus on the things I can control, I am learning skills to soothe and calm myself, I can trust myself to take action as an when needed.
Where we do have to use a little bit of caution with positivity is if we are using it in a way which might actually be gaslighting to ourselves. For example, in the past I have worked with people who were feeling very sad and having a truly horrid day but were telling themselves that they were feeling really strong and were going to have a great day. This runs the risk of invalidating important needs and feelings and communications. So if you are having a horrid time right now then it is always a good idea to reach out to someone qualified and experienced to help you feel better.”
Other tools to try and reduce the anxiety of living in a permacrisis
I am a big believer in having a bank of tools for dealing with tough mental times, of which we have been having plenty of over the last few years. Here Lisa Butcher, hypnotherapist, reiki master and shamanic practitioner shares some additional tools we can use during these times when we feel anxious about things we can’t control:
When you start to feel your palms getting sweaty or your tummy twisted in knots it’s good to work on your breath. Every time you breathe in imagine there is calming beautiful energy coming into your body and every time you breathe out imagine letting go of fear, worry and anxiety. I like to do 7/11 breathing which is when you breathe in for the count of seven, through your nose, hold for a couple of beats and breathe out through your mouth emulating a sigh for the count of 11. Do this upto 10 times. Another great technique is to breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold your breath for the count of three and then breathe out for the count of eight. It’s important to count the breath as it makes you concentrate on what you are doing and helps to take your mind off the feelings of anxiety.
Grounding is a brilliant way to get out of your head and into your body. Imagine yourself as a big oak tree. With the roots growing out the bottom of your feet, going through the different layers of the earth vertically and horizontally firmly grounding you. Now imagine pushing the energy swirling around your head (overthinking and fear) down through your body and down into mother earth to be transformed. I like to do this practice every morning when I wake up. I lay in bed and visualize my body being grounded. I then take this feeling with me on my morning dog walk. It helps me to connect with nature and feel like I’m connected to the earth.
The TIPP Technique
If you are in the middle of a panic attack the best way to deal with it in the moment is to fill a wash basin with ice cold water. Put your whole face in the water and hold for 20 seconds. Take your head out of the water and take two or three deep breaths. Repeat this three times, and then do star jumps or move your body for 60 seconds. After sit down in a chair and take 20 long deep breaths – breathe in for the count of five and out for the count of seven. This technique is called TIPP – it stands for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Pace Breathing, Paired Muscle Relaxation. It might sound dramatic but believe me, it works.
The Five Senses
Look for five things around you and describe them. Listen to four different sounds and only focus on them. Smell three different things – try to distinguish three different scents around you. Touch two different textures. Taste one thing. By doing this you are using all of your senses to get out of your worry/fear. By stopping in the moment and using all five senses you relieve negative thought patterns and ease the anxiety.
How have you been feeling anxious with the recent world developments? Do leave a comment and share below and join our Instagram community here for more support.
Photo by Keenan Constance, Olya Kobruseva and PNW Production from Pexels
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
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.
New Year, same you? Don’t worry this is the only survival guide you’ll need. There’s no quick fix. There’s no wake up and magically be 10lbs lighter. We’ve got the expert advice to show you how you can softly, calmly and slowly emerge from the overindulgence of the past few weeks. You’ll be able to grab 2022 by the balls and show it who’s boss!
Go for a daily walk
Penny Weston, fitness, wellness guru and nutrition expert reveals, ‘Walking doesn’t just make you feel good while you’re doing it, studies also suggest that it may reduce your risk of developing a cold or flu by boosting your immune system. It does this by increasing the amount of white blood cells circulating in your blood. These are the cells that fight infection and disease as part of the body’s natural immune system.
Make an immune boosting smoothie
Making fresh smoothies is a great way of incorporating ingredients into your diet that can boost your immune system. A favourite of mine is this vitamin rich super smoothie. This smoothie is a powerhouse for the immune system, containing blueberries and spinach that have great immune-boosting properties. It will have you glowing from the inside out, and contains nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs and giving you a natural boost of energy. And it actually tastes delicious!
There is so much goodness in this smoothie. Use a frozen banana and less milk for a thicker texture:
Meditation is an ideal way to reduce stress over the festive period and also throughout the whole year. Meditation helps to relax the mind and body, and focus your thoughts and attention in order to eliminate the thought overload which can often result in stress. This will not only help you to de-stress but also help you learn to be strong for all that is coming in the year ahead.
Regular exercise is the key to staying both physically and mentally fit, healthy and happy. When we exercise the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine which boost our sense of well-being and suppress hormones that cause anxiety and stress. Fortunately there are now a bigger range of exercise classes and sports out there than ever before and thanks to virtual and on demand training it’s never been easier to exercise at home or when travelling, so even if you’re away with work or family during January there’s no excuse not to be able to exercise.
Create a morning ritual
Start the morning with a ritual that lets you hit the ground running, make the most of your day, stay positive and in control and most importantly stress free! All of our rituals are different, but the key is that by setting them we are taking control of our morning, and therefore our lives. This will help to significantly lower stress levels.’
Ditch the moisturiser
Dr Rekha Tailor of Health & Aestheticssays ‘I don’t recommend moisturisers for anyone because I agree with Zein Obagi, M.D, a dermatologist and founder of ZO Skin Health. He suggests that moisturiser is a waste of time and also that it is potentially damaging to the skin. He suggests that when you use moisturiser every day, you run the risk of making your skin older, not younger, because of the fact that skin will become sensitive, dry, dull and interfere with its own natural hydration functions.’
Personally, I’m a big fan of The Ordinary Amino Acids. It’s affordable and leaves my skin feeling totally hydrated.
Celebrity facialistLisa Harris, says ‘You can see (safe) sun exposure as your free dose of vitamin D. Feeling sunlight on your arms, hands and face for just 10-15 minutes a day in the UK can boost your mood and energy levels through the release of endorphins. As well as perking up your skin, it will also wake up your mind as the sun reduces the level of melatonin (AKA the sleepy hormone) in your body, giving you energy, inside and out.
Detoxify your tissues with face yoga
Just 60 seconds of a DIY face massage can make your skin look more alive. Using a creamy cleanser or moisturiser, make small circles with your fingertips – this will boost your circulation, bring oxygen to your cells and give you an instant glow. If you’ve been a little congested, face yoga can help to remove any toxins from your tissue, helping you feel better too. You can supercharge your face yoga routine with our 3D signature facial, which relies on HIFU to restore skin vitality and improve skin health and luminosity.
Put down the needles
While it’s often easy to think that Botox and Fillers are the answer to looking younger and healthier, there’s a safe, non-invasive alternative to Botox and fillers helping you to achieve healthier, younger looking skin with long lasting results. Radio Frequency and ultrasound waves from treatments like Collagen Wave heat up the skin, encouraging your fibroblasts to produce new collagen and elastin – something we all need if we’re looking a little tired during the winter months.
Get more sleep
Sleep is a natural reset button for our brain and body, which is even more required these days because of increased work pressure and stress. Our face is the index of the mind and so naturally a skipped sleep is easily identifiable on our face.’
Choose your cleanser wisely
Consultant dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch says ‘In the mornings and days you aren’t wearing makeup just use a gentle cleanser. When wearing water based coverage makeup you can use an AHA cleanser such as one with glycolic acid. When wearing heavier oil based makeup use a BHA cleanser such as one with salicylic acid.
Take vitamins to support healthy hair growth
To maintain healthy looking hair, go for hair vitamins that have relatively high concentrations of the nutrients we know that are needed to support hair growth. Iron and zinc are both very important for hair, but when taken together they don’t absorb well. So a carefully thought out hair vitamin programme (such as mine!) is ideal. If in doubt about the cause of hair thinning or loss, seek an expert opinion.
Check the ingredients of your skincare carefully
Due to lack of regulation in the industry many marketed skincare products don’t have ingredients in them that will be effective despite claims, so don’t and won’t work. Tailor active ingredients serums according to your skincare needs. For example ivermectin is great for redness/ rosacea, azelaic acid/niacinamide/ salicylic acid is great for acne, Tretinoin / antioxidants such as vit C/E for anti ageing and hydroquinone/ Kojic acid/niacinamide for pigmentation etc.
Use almond oil
On the days I’m not going out I massage almond oil into my scalp and hair and onto my children’s scalp and hair too.
It’s the best way to naturally hydrate your scalp and hair and help both to retain moisture.
This ritual comes from my Sikh background where having uncut hair (which I haven’t stuck to!) and importantly looking after your hair is a sign of respect to personal attributes that are considered god given. It’s common for Asian and Mediterranean cultures to put oil in the scalp and hair like this as a natural and effective way to moisturise our scalp and hair! Massaging almond oil into the scalp and hair like this helps to reduce frizziness of the hair and improve the condition of the scalp too. You can use coconut oil but I find this is smellier and harder, alternatively argan oil is thinner so it’s better for people with finer hair.’
Stop licking your lips
Nina Prisk, AKA ‘The Lip Nurse’, an award-winning cosmetic nurse says ‘When you lick your lips it’s usually to try and moisturise them. However, saliva actually dries them out and creates damaging friction. Sometimes it can become a bad habit which you can help to break by doing something else with your mouth such as chewing gum.
So it’s best to avoid licking your lips as much as you can. Biting and picking them should be avoided too because the lips are made up of delicate skin that can be damaged easily. Usually picking and biting happens when there’s already damage to the surface of the lip, try to resist the urge to pull or bite the rough or lose bits of skin and instead apply a treatment to moisturise and hydrate them.’
Eat more omega 3
Consultant oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon Dr Elizabeth Hawkes says ‘Omega-3 fatty acids are important to the health of the macula (the part of the eye that’s responsible for central vision) and the health of the skin, including around the eye area. So trying to incorporate more foods containing essential omega-3 fatty acids helps to keep your vision good and also to maintain healthy skin around your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories.
Research suggests that the fats protect skin cells against sun-induced inflammation and help control how the body responds to UV rays, thereby mitigating damage. Eating a diet high in good fats and oily fish can help to promote good skin health because they are rich in Omega-3 which is a key nutrient for helping to repair damaged skin cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for maintaining healthy membranes around our skin cells. If we’re deficient in these it reduces the skin’s ability to absorb and retain water, causing dehydration or dry skin.
Upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help improve hydration by boosting the skin’s natural barrier. Omega-3s may also help to protect our skin against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays because studies have shown that supplementing with a combination of certain types of Omega-3s may reduce the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.’
Look after your gnashers
We all want our pearly whites to be whiter than white. Cosmetic dentist, Dr Hanna Kinsella says ‘My Icy Bear whitening toothpaste is shown to not only brighten the smile but also to protect the teeth against cavities. Icy Bear is an earth conscious brand – palm oil free, SLS free and animal cruelty free and all of the products are produced in the UK adhering to strict industry guidelines.
The unique toothpaste has a rare ingredient combinationcontaining the finest diamonds.Thanks to its extremely low abrasiveness, tooth surfaces are gently cleaned and stains reduced with no damage to the tooth surface. Designed for twice-daily use for complete oral care, the cult product in the making uses diamond dust to effectively reduce stains – the diamond dust is a natural abrasive agent that reduces staining whilst polishing the surface of the enamel to restore teeth to their natural whiteness.’
What are your self-care plans for bossing 2022? Let us know by commenting below or reaching out to us on Instagram.
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