Five ways women in their forties are a force to be reckoned with

Roll up roll up all women in their 40s! We need to get the record straight now don’t we? For some reason unbeknownst to us all, 40 becomes a number that became associated with a life going downhill. At some point it was decided that women in their 40s should collectively feel a fear of being in their 4th decade, of being sidelined.

Well I say pah to that! Sidelined indeed…more like hitting their stride, thank you very muchly.

As a 41 year old, I have never felt more alive, powerful, confident, decisive, fulfilled and quite frankly….a force to be reckoned with. OK sure, we might have some challenges to grapple with along the way – you know, just a perimenopause here, then a menopause there sandwiched inbetween an identity crisis along the way.

But then we rise (all hail!), like a phoenix from the flames and POW! unleash the power within (stand back people or you might get taken down along the way!)

So with that, today we have a rather fantastic dedication for all women in their 40s by Yvonne Bridges – Author of YOU Are Relevant -A Guide for Mid-Life Women to Step into Their Power (available on Amazon now here). Here she lays down five ways women in their 40s are a force to be reckoned with (hear us roar!).

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When you were a teenager, didn’t you think being over forty was ancient? Or, like some women, you chose to have your children when your career was well established and on a good trajectory and now your children think you’re ‘old’ because you’re over forty. I can relate to that one – perhaps you can too.

The exciting thing about getting to your 40s is the experience and wisdom you’ve gained and are now applying in many facets of your life. Perhaps one of the less exciting things about our 40s are the few extra lines and sags appearing in a variety of places on our bodies. Nonetheless, here are five reasons why women in their 40s (mid-life women) become a force to be reckoned with as they progress through that decade.

They are clear about what is important to them and how their values impact their lives

Values drive behaviors. Professionally, this is a decade where women gain clarity about their personal and professional boundaries. They do this not only because they may hold family commitments or professional agreements which may infringe upon each other, they do it because they choose to be aligned in their thoughts, their words, and their actions. Their boundaries between the two arenas (personal and professional) which may have been in opposition in the past, now hold less tension because women demonstrate greater confidence in their approaches and decision making.

They are beginning to determine who they want to become in this next phase of their life

Arriving at 40 makes women step back and take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go. This process most often begins with defining who they want to become. Interestingly, this can be a challenge to define. We, as humans, are rarely one thing. A woman in her 40s may be a parent (single parent, co-parent, stepparent … to name a few), be career focused, be a stay-at-home mum, a sibling, a caregiver, or she may be courageous, vulnerable, wise. I could go on and on. The important thing to acknowledge about women in their 40s is the clarity they hold about who they have been, who they are now, and who they want to become. This begins to create an almost omnipotent force as women in their 40s begin this important part of their life journey.

women in their forties

They hold clarity around the actions they will begin to take to becoming the woman they want to be

A woman’s 40s can be a time of continual action that contributes to the wellbeing of others while not always aligned with who she has decided to become. When women slow down and align their actions, they use their experience to step into innovative approaches. They shift their behaviour, so they move forward differently. Here’s an example. A woman who may have found their thirties consumed with moving their career forward, taking care of young children, and being a great partner. Each of these worthy endeavours and associated actions can exhaust women and, in their 40s, they begin to ask themselves – ‘what do I really want to do?’ Do those actions align with who I want to become? If the answer is yes, the forward propulsion for these women is remarkable. If the answer is no, the decade of the 40s finds women making a shift toward greater alignment between becoming and doing.

They can visualize the outcomes they seek

Like high performance athletes, women in their 40s and beyond see there is more for them to pursue. They create their own runway. Some leave significant corporate jobs with accomplished titles because of poor culture or the ongoing promise to become less misogynistic without any evidence of this happening. Some watch their children flourish as young adults and re-evaluate their own path and begin solopreneurship. Some begin to volunteer for causes they believe are worthy. Some even begin registered charities to move and shift people’s knowledge forward about subjects otherwise not spoken about – think of #metoo and #blacklivesmatter and #orangeshirtday and #wearpinkforbreastcancer. The desire to be the change they seek enables women in their 40s to be willing to take a step forward into the unknown while visualizing a future – different for them and different for others.

women in their forties

They are beginning to live in their wisdom and are willing to share it with others

Have you ever enjoyed a conversation with a woman in her 40s, or beyond, and walked away wiser? This is the gift of experience and shared wisdom. I’m fortunate enough to have many friends and colleagues like that. One, who thoughtfully, mindfully, and deftly asks me to consider another point of view without a trite phrase like – have you thought of this? She invites curiosity and the willingness to explore perspectives with such an open heart that all who interact with her feel this shared wisdom. Women in their 40s cultivate that – with and for each other. The deliberate cultivation of collaborative wisdom ensures the next generation of women step into better spaces and hold greater confidence in themselves.

When you consider those five elements of why women are a force to be reckoned with in their 40s, what might you see when you meet one of those women? You would see a woman who confidently makes decisions which align with her values and are good for her, her family, her colleagues, and her friends. This woman speaks with wisdom. She cherishes her connection with others. She speaks her truth – mindfully and thoughtfully. This woman demonstrates tenacity and grit. She is willing to take risks. She learns from her mistakes and accepts the invitation those mistakes present to take a step in a different, new direction.

In short, women in their 40s are a force to be reckoned with because they are stepping into their own power. They hold that power lightly and with strength. They are relevant. They have runway left in their lives. The world will become better, kinder, stronger, more thoughtful when women continue to step into that space. The relevance of women in their 40s, and desire to uplift and uphold other women, expands their runway. Know it. Believe it. Live it.

So whether you are a woman in your 40s, or a woman yet to be in their 40s and wondering what lies ahead, join us in this tribute and leave a comment below and connect with us on Instagram.

Woman photo created by lookstudio

Luxurious ways to treat yourself

When was the last time that you did something to treat yourself? So many people don’t put any time into treating themselves and really, you should be. Closing your eyes and dreaming about your definition of life is exciting, and living a life that is packed with luxuries is something many of us strive for. Of course, luxury means different things to many; some believe just having a hot meal at the end of a long day is a luxury and it is.

However, there is a whole level of elite luxuries that you can involve yourself in, from buying a Bentley to treating yourself to a personal chef on your birthday. There are so many ways that you can enjoy luxuries that are just for you, and we’ve got so many suggestions to ensure that you enjoy a little luxury from time to time. Bring a touch of luxury into your life with these treats you just cannot say no to!

Order flowers

treat yourself

Really, when was the last time you bought yourself some flowers? Flowers make everyone happy and you can make you happy, too. You want this to be exciting and so scheduling yourself to have a flower order arrive at least once a month will be a game changer for your mood and your home. You’ll add a pop of colour you didn’t know your home needed and you can keep the flowers in your price range, too! It’ll make you feel fancy, and everyone can stand to feel fancy from time to time.

New wheels

Order a new car. You might not be able to get that luxury car, but you might still be able to upgrade and buy a new car instead of a used one. That in itself can be the luxury that you didn’t know you needed. You can really enjoy something new when you do this, and it’s going to be something you use every single day, too, so it’s an investment. 

Subscriptions

Subscribe to new magazines. It’s often the little luxuries in life that make you the happiest, and subscribing to your favourite magazines can do this for you. We’re always online, so having pretty magazines in the house can make a nice change and the glossy, thick magazines are a luxury option!

Treat your tresses

Book a monthly hair appointment. It can feel opulence to sit in the hairdresser’s chair, but that’s exactly what you can do when you have the chance to treat yourself. A hair appointment makes you feel good about yourself, and you can indulge in added options like a deep conditioning and a manicure if you want to, too.

Travel

treat yourself

Go on a holiday. The ultimate luxury; a holiday abroad. Sure, the pandemic has stopped that for most people right now. You can book a cruise to visit new places, or a ski trip to see the world from a whole new angle. You can look at holiday experiences that you can’t get anywhere else, and you’ll appreciate the time you spend abroad and learning new cultures, too.

What do you do to treat yourself? Let us know in a comment below or connect with us on Instagram.

Fun with social media (when you’re not a teenager)

Some people can think of social media as something that’s for younger people. Even if you use some social media, you might feel like some apps are meant for young people while others are more suited to people over 30 or 40. Maybe you shy away from TikTok because it seems like it’s for teenagers and you can’t let go of Facebook because all of your family and friends are on there. Social media can be a lot of fun but it can also be a pain if you’re not using it in the right way. If you want to use social media more, there are a few rules for having fun.

Find Which Apps Are for You

social media

Not everyone will find every social media app or site enjoyable. You might think Facebook is too full of older relatives with terrible opinions or that Twitter is far too shouty. But most people can find a social media app that they do like. Think about what sort of thing you’re looking for and why you want to use social media. Is it to view and share funny videos and images? Do you want to have conversations with other people or engage in a community relating to your interests?

Learn to Find the Content You Like

Once you’ve got started on your chosen platform, you need to know how to get the best from it. If you’re not using it in the right way, you might just find it boring or annoying. Being able to find the content that you want will help you to make your experience better. Depending on the platform, this might involve following the right people, following hashtags or topics, or searching for the right things. As you engage with different people and topics, you’ll also be presented with new content through the platform’s algorithm.

Play with Ways to Post

Creating your own content is part of the fun of using social media, but it’s something a lot of people might feel unsure about. You’re not a teenager posting about your day, so what are you meant to post? But there are lots of things you can do, whether you want to document your life or make funny or interesting content for entertainment. Try exploring different ways to post, such as how to do voice effects on TikTok or using different filters on Instagram. There are different post types you can explore or ways to engage with people, such as stories or live streaming too.

Find Your Community

social media

One of the best things about social media is that it allows you to engage and connect with other people. It can be a great way to find new friends and discover a community based on your interests. Whether you’re obsessed with a TV show, you love to knit, or you’re a history nerd, you can find other people with shared interests who can help you have even more fun.

Discover all of the fun you can have with social media by finding your space and all the ways you can use it. Follow us on Instagram to see how we are trying to get down with the kids and make fun reels!

Feel at ease with your body with these top tips

At the end of the day, every single person on the planet wants to be the best possible version of themselves. In order to be the best version, we need to feel at ease with ourselves first. We need to look at ourselves and know that we’re confident. If you feel good in life, then you’re going to be able to perform better in whatever you do.

One thing that a lot of people – especially women – do in this life is worry about their bodies. The good thing is that we can all put our minds in better places regarding our physical selves. We can also put in the work to put ourselves in better positions. If you’re willing to alter your mindset and adopt new habits, you can achieve anything – and this is just another one of those challenges. Here are a few top tips so you can start to really feel more at ease with your body: 

Recognise That You Are Beautiful As You Are

top tips

You don’t really need to make huge changes to your life or to your body. You need to know that you’re wonderful as you are. One huge change will be to your mind. You’ll want to do all you can to boost your confidence and your self-esteem. If you do look to mate improvements, know that they’re for you and not imperative in order to achieve anything. 

Put Effort Into Your Physical Fitness

This helps your physical side and your mental side. You deserve to be happy and comfortable in many different ways, and exercising will put you in an amazing position. You’ll get to a point where not exercising feels a little wrong. Before you know it, you could be looking into the likes of DSIP and all kinds of other supplements to make yourself into a finely tuned athlete. 

Date!

If you want to feel better about the way you look, then dating is a genuinely fantastic idea. You’ll head out and meet people that find you attractive. You’ll get to know people who might want to spend a lot of time around you. These people will lift you over time. They’ll respect your boundaries while wanting to see you more and more. And, hey, they might even want to hop into a bed with you and see that wonderful body in all its glory!

Learn How To Cook And Figure Out Nutritional Tips 

top tips

Learning how to cook prepares you for life in a much better way. You’ll be more competent in the kitchen, which is such a confidence booster. It makes you feel so much more useful and attractive. The more you learn about food, the more clued in you become in terms of what’s good for you and what certain meals do for certain parts of you. 

Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You

We touched on this previously when talking about dating, but you just have to be around people that make your life so much easier. If you’re with positive people who say wonderful things about you and push you to be even better, then life becomes a lot better and so much more fun. Don’t surround yourself with negativity. 

Are you more comfortable with your body in your 40s? Let us know by dropping a comment below or connecting with us on Instagram.

Rediscovering yourself and your sense of identity in your 40s

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has been left feeling pretty blah and with a very watered down sense of identity having battled our way mentally and emotionally through this god-awful pandemic.

The pandemic has battered or erased so many things hasn’t? That sense of freedom, joy, friendships, mental health and maybe – if you are like me – your sense of identity too.

Time to break free

Living in a little box is no good for anyone. Yet that is what as a collective we’ve had to do for the best part of two years, as our world became beyond micro and life became restricted as hell. Little by little, we’ve been picking our way through the rubble, trying to piece together the things we loved before this social tsunami pretty much wiped out the things we loved and brought us joy. But it all takes time.

The other day I went away for the very first time BY MYSELF. I took myself up to Yorkshire from London to see a friend who was visiting from Germany. It felt monumentous. That ritual of packing up my things and taking a train far away from home for pleasure left me sick to the stomach with anxiety but also giddy with excitement.

I realised just how much confidence I had lost with this living in a box mentally which had become the norm. The simple act of stepping outside my daily life, my comfort zone, was so empowering. I would’t have even given it a second thought before the pandemic but it felt epic. I told myself to woman-up: come on Talya, I said…you’ve travelled to India by yourself. You can do this! And so I did. Needless to say I returned a new woman and realised at that point the enormity of that which I – and probably also you reading this – had lost during this utter shit show.

Craving a break from the norm

What was next on the menu and operation sense of identity restoration? I was keen to keep on with the rebuilding of self and sense of identity. I needed to continue rebelling against the mundane which we had all become trapped in. I booked myself and my daughter our very first Stand Up Paddle Boarding lesson with our local operator – Hampton Court Paddle Sports. I had always wanted to be able to engaged with our local part of the Thames on a deeper way than just swanning around on a boat, and this was it.

I won’t lie to you, as we were talked through our explanatory land session, my mouth was so dry with fear it may have as well as been the Sahara Dessert. Completely ridiculous coming from someone who has jumped out of a plane on a skydive before. But there you go. I swear every muscle in my body rallied against me as it got up on that board, but within minutes once my mind had got over the fact that no – I was not about to meet my death by crocodiles in the River Thames – I started feeling free as a bird and began to enjoy the experience immensely. Think walking on water but only better.

Going with the urge

So why does the sudden urge to reclaim your sense of identity happen at this juncture? Jade Mitchell, at Blank Canvas Coaching says, “Many of my clients come to me seeking to renew or rediscover their sense of purpose in their 40s. They want to explore the place they find themselves in, gain clarity on the direction they want to take and set objectives to see real change in their lives. There are the demands on time, the sense of wanting to be fulfilled and challenged but needing to balance the demands of family, as well as the need to keep paying the bills to be factored in. It’s a challenge, but I believe every circumstance can be turned into a gift and opportunity, and fundamentally its down to having a positive mindset.”

So with many of us having taken a massive battering in terms of sense of self due to a more limited way of life then coupled with the mid life effect, how can we go about reclaiming our sense of identity in our 40s before? Here Andre Radmall M.A. MSc. B.A. psychotherapist, coach and author of the book Get Unstuck, Change the Script, Change your Life‘ shares his tips for rediscovering yourself and sense of identity.

Rediscovering your sense of identity

Self-care

Get into your body as much as possible. It could be dancing, yoga, gym, running. It doesn’t matter what you do but getting out of your head and into your body is essential for self-confidence.

Self-compassion

Watch the language you use about yourself– either internally or in conversation. Try to reduce negative self-talk.

Rewrite the script

In my book ‘Get Unstuck, Change the Script, Change your Life‘ I talk about rewriting your life story. When women enter their 40’s the scripts that society gives women change. Women often describe becoming less visible at this stage. This is a good point to step back and think about what your story over the next ten years could be. To build your story you will need to look at what you can realistically bring with you from the past and what new activities or relationships you want to build into the future.

See things differently

Identity can be broadened and expanded and changed by trying new things out. Write a list of three traits that describe you. Then think of the opposite of those traits. Then imagine how your day would be if you took on THOSE traits. How would you stand, move and relate to others? While this may feel like it’s being fake, you are actually allowing more space for different, previously hidden aspects of yourself to come out.

Have you found a burning urge to rediscover your sense of identity of late? Share your experiences in a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here to contine the conversation.

Photo by elifskies, Olga,  Quang Anh Ha Nguyen from Pexels 

The brain at 40 and how to sort yours out

Listen up people, today we’re talking the brain at 40. If you’ve been forgetting names, words, and generally feeling a bit all over the shop then there is a good reason why. Despite the fact that many of us think that our brains will become geriatric at 70, brain ageing actually starts at 40 – gulp! Scientists report that after age 40, brain tissue shows genetic changes that may contribute to the aging process, including cognitive decline. This is why you couldn’t win a memory game even if your life depended on it.

So as I write this – and you read this – our brains are probably shrinking – along with their capabilities. What a scary thought! So are we to just submit to this, or is there anything we can do to throw on the breaks here in our 40s?

Thankfully neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis and Adrian Webster – authors of the 2nd edition of Sort Your Brain Out – have some rather excellent tips to share to help your brain at 40 be the best it can. Read on for their top 10 Brain Optimisation Principles (BOPs) which include the core things to focus on if you want to get more out of your brain on a daily basis.

10 Brain Optimisation Tips for the brain at 40

BOP 1: Prioritise your sleep

The reason sleep is so important for our brains is that it’s when all the repair and maintenance work gets done. Each night we go through several sleep cycles of alternating deep and dream sleep. Deep sleep is when our brains accelerate the rate at which the toxins that build up over the course of each day are removed. Dream sleep is when our brains make temporary memories more permanent and, importantly, when the negative emotions attached to any emotionally-upsetting events are stripped away. If we only get 4-7 hours of sleep per night, rather than the 8 hours that is optimal for most adults, we miss out on the max dose of anxiety-reducing dream sleep because those dreaming parts of the sleep cycle last longer during the second half of the night.

BOP 2: Exercise daily

When we do 30 mins of moderate intensity exercise every day (or 60 mins of intense exercise every other day) our muscles release powerful chemicals known as myokines. These travel up to the brain in the bloodstream where they trigger release of another substance, which causes more new brain cells to be born. These extra brain cells are generated in the hippocampus, an area critical to memory, navigation and even imagining the future. Daily exercise even re-energises the older brain cells in our hippocampus. Brains of retirees who were vigilant in taking plenty of exercise during middle age are always in better nick than those who never quite got round to it. Getting in the habit of taking more exercise now pays huge dividends, both immediately and many decades later.

BOP 3: Meditation Changes Brains

Much evidence has accumulated in the neuroscience literature supporting the idea that 20 mins of daily mindfulness meditation improves your physical health, mental well-being and enhances your cognitive performance. After just a week of daily sessions your ability to focus improves. After a fortnight, measurable changes have taken place in white matter (brain wires) in areas involved in taking an objective, “helicopter view” on life. After a month, grey matter becomes denser – signifying more connections between the brain wires involved in anxiety-reducing reflection. If you want to be sure you get some meditation done every day, the best time to do it is first thing in the morning.

the brain at 40

BOP 4: Be master not slave to technology

Many people immediately pick up their phone as soon as they have an idle moment, but this robs them of the opportunity to daydream. It’s well-known that we only get our Eureka! moments or have personal breakthroughs when we let our minds wander and mull things over properly. Consequently, filling every moment of the day with stimulation, from the moment you wake up until you get into bed at the end of the day, is against your best interests. Apps are usually designed to grab your attention and keep you engrossed for as long as possible, displacing time you could be spending doing something much more rewarding.

BOP 5: Collect more hobbies

Hobbies are vastly under-rated. They are a brilliant way to find flow. Flow describes a brain state of being actively engaged with what you’re doing; where you feel challenged, but not too much. Absorbed by a series of tasks that are not too hard, not too easy, but just right in the difficulty level. The benefit of being in flow is that you are completely in the present moment and therefore not thinking about stressful events of the past or future. And the more hobbies you enjoy pursuing, some indoor, some out, the more options are available to you when you need to reduce your stress levels. Reading, playing chess or bridge and dancing are all hobbies known to help us hold onto our marbles well into old age.

BOP 6: Get yourself connected

As we get older many people start to think of friends as nice to have, but not essential. But for an incredibly social creature like the human, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Feeling like we have secure, reliable social connections with a few other people is extremely important for physical and mental health. Socially connected people live longer and suffer fewer psychological problems – like depression, anxiety and personality disorders – than those who feel socially isolated. How to slowly but surely increase your social network? See BOP7…

the brain at 40

BOP 7: Offer to help other people

There is a natural inclination shared by humans all over the planet: if one person helps another, they’ll actively seek opportunities to repay the favour; or find some other way of showing their gratititude. Owing a debt is uncomfortable. Mutual cycles of helping are key to developing trust. Trust cements all worthwhile social connections. Of course, not everyone repays favours. But by showing a general willingness to help, friendships naturally develop when you help the right people – those who always repay a favour.

BOP 8: Eat for two (trillion)

There are trillions of bacteria in our gut – often referred to as the microbiome. Recent research has shown that what we feed our microbiome has a tremendous impact on how we feel. When thinking about what to have for dinner it’s important to consider what your gut bacteria like to eat because they actually create chemical byproducts that our brains use. While our gut enzymes can’t digest fibre, our gut bacteria can. They produce a chemical byproduct that travels up to our brain to produce feelings of being full sooner rather than later. So getting plenty of fibre in your diet on a daily basis, in the form of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains, makes you feel fuller faster, reducing calorie intake.

BOP 9: Avoid processed foods wherever possible

Processed food has a longer shelf life, which is convenient, but is almost always higher in fat, sugar, salt and preservatives than freshly prepared food. Why? Because the same stuff that makes natural food go off is what tastes good (and what your gut bacteria would get to work on to produce all sort of useful vitamins and minerals that our brains can use to help our brains work better). To make processed foods last longer, all the healthy tasty stuff that might make it go off quickly is removed, leaving food that tastes so bland and horrible the only way the manufacturers can get us to want to eat it is to pack it full of salt, sugar and fat. Prepare food from fresh ingredients and you’ll instantly be reducing your intake of salt, sugar and fat; all of which are bad for brain health in excess.

BOP 10: Practice time-restricted feeding

Being overweight in middle age damages the white matter (wire-like brain cells that send electrical messages from A to B). In scans, these brains look like the brain of someone ten years older, but with a body mass in the healthy range. One of the best ways to shed excess fat is to get in the habit of time-restricted feeding, i.e. getting the whole day’s eating done in just 10-12 hrs per day. It really helps bodies to burn fat stored under skin and around internal organs. That’s because our bodies only start using up fat when all the available glucose in the bloodstream (and storage) have been used up. And that only happens if you eat breakfast at least 12+ hours after your last sip or nibble of a sweet treat the night before (NB beer, wine and milk all contain sugar!).

For more detail on all these topics and much, much more, the brand new second edition of Sort Your Brain Out; Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More, 2nd Edition by Jack Lewis and Adrian Webster (published by Capstone) is now available in all good bookshops; both on the high street and online.

Photos by  SHVETS productions,  Alexandr Podvalny, and Andres Ayrton from Pexels

10 ways to build a healthy mindset

In case you have been living under a rock of late, you will know that mental health has become a humungous issue. But here’s the real doozy. In our 40s we need to pay more attention to our mental health and creating a healthy mindset than ever before. Why? Simply because women aged between 40 and 44 years old are five times as likely to suffer with depression compared with younger women. Sheesh….well aren’t we the lucky ones?

So. Here’s the bottom line. Mindset is the foundation of your mental health. So a healthy mindset = good mental health. Thankfully, it’s never too late to change your mindset, and use it as the foundation to bullet proof your mental health. In fact, your fourth decade is the perfect time to change your life and live differently and that all starts with – yup you guessed it – mindset.

Want to build a heathy mindset and reap the benefits? Well, quite honestly who is going to ever answer no to that?! In your 40s you can either choose to a) make progress or b) make excuses. Those of you who fancy a bit of a) come closer as we share 10 ways to build a healthy mindset in your 40s courtesy of Nick Bracks, author of Move Your Mind: How to Build a Healthy Mindset for Life:

Move Your Mind

Simple movement can make all of the difference. Find a small space at home and do at least 15 minutes of exercise. It can be anything…push ups, lunges, skipping…just move at your own pace! 

Feed Your Mind

Make sure (to the best of your ability) that you are eating well and drinking enough water. Also make note of the content you are feeding your mind with (social media, news etc) and discipline yourself to only spend a certain amount of time per day on them.

Connect Your Mind

Call your best friend or a loved one (or a few of them) and offload your stress. Make it clear that they can do the same to you. Being heard can go a long way. And if you are feeling adventurous, spark a conversation with a stranger and see where it leads!

Still Your Mind

Take 5 minutes or more a day to sit with your thoughts. There is no perfect way to do this…you can use a mantra, focus on breathing, or use an app (there are hundreds of free ones online). Just give yourself the time out. Also, stress can affect our sleep patterns. If we follow the healthy behaviours above, we will sleep better and in turn have less stress.

Make it a habit

If we do not create daily habits we will not make long term change in our behaviours. Start by picking the most important thing you want to change and do it regularly for a month. You will be surprised how much change happens in a small amount of time and will become empowered to create other new habits.

Change it up

We can get caught in a rut as time goes by. Humans really are creatures of habit. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we stay conscious about things we want to change and don’t allow ourselves to just go through the motions we will keep ourselves feeling fresh and vibrant.

Do things that scare you

As above, by doing things that scare us we keep our sense of adventure alive. What is something you have always wanted to do but have been too scared? I am sure you won’t regret it if you give it a go.

Reframe how you look at failure

As I discuss in my book, we often view things as either ‘succeeding’ or ‘failing’. If we can reframe that into ‘succeeding’ or ‘learning something’ then we will be more likely to take risks as it becomes a win win.

Challenge stereotypes

We are told by society that we should be married, have a certain job, live in a certain place, have kids etc by a particular age. But why? Who actually decided this? It makes no sense at all. Sure if someone else wants that then good on them, but we get to set our own system of what a successful life means. Ignore what others think and live life the way you want…at any age.

Surround yourself with people that inspire you

It really is true that we become a product of the five people we spend most of our time with. As time goes by we can get stuck spending time with people who no longer serve us. Challenge this and assess those around you. If people are no longer serving you then maybe it is time to look at meeting new and more like minded people.

How are you trying to build a healthy mindset in your 40s? Do share in a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here where we will be continuing the conversation.

NICK BRACKS is the author of Move Your Mind: How to Build a Healthy Mindset for Life (published by Wiley). He has pursued various entrepreneurial projects since earning a Bachelor of Business at RMIT. He has successfully launched five companies including founding his eponymous men’s underwear label, underBRACKS; a successful restaurant venture; co-founding a nutritional supplements company; and co-founding Happy Waves. Nick has presented two TED Talks – one covering how creative and entrepreneurial drive can help combat depression, and a second on the growing suicide epidemic.

Nick now spends his time creating educational content through his Move Your Mind podcast and courses. Nick’s professional life and personal development are perfectly intertwined. He lives between Australia and the United States.  

Photos by Binti Malu, Karolina Grabowska, Nina Uhlíková from Pexels

Hangovers in your 40s

Come round for a home cooked speciality spaghetti bolognese I said. It will be very chilled and lovely I said. We have some gorgeous red wine to accompany our grown up, civilised meal. How this descended into tequila shots at 11pm and toilet bowl hugging for a full 24 hours was entirely my fault and one I regretted as I was left quivering in a hot bath 12 hours later gingerly attempting to nibble a banana in a sad attempt to resurrect my soul. Herewith was my very abrupt and uncomfortable introduction to hangovers in your 40s.

Hanging

I kid you not, it’s been over 10 years since my last stonker of a hangover. I could never really handle alcohol and, to be honest, it’s a blessing in disguise. My body simply rejects it and although unpleasant, it means I’m a cheap date! It can be rather annoying. Once me and my bestie were drinking homemade woo woos on the tube en-route to Road House in Covent Garden circa 1999 when I unceremoniously puked the minute I walked in. We hastily left and that was the end of the night. I’ve since taken to enjoying one glass of something expensive, organic and fabulous.

Feeling somewhat embarrassed at the damage I’d done to my body, I called on expert advice so you guys don’t have to suffer the same indignity. At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to my incredibly supportive husband who, by the way woke up fresh as a daisy, went to the shop to buy me a Lucozade Sport which I sipped with such trepidation. My children were given a real life lesson into the after effects of alcohol that day so at least there’s one positive!

hangovers in your 40s

Ask the experts

Claire Snowdon-Darling is an alternative health expert, presenter and educator. As a menopause and hormones expert, Head of The College of Functional Wellness and founder of kinesiology clinic, Balanced Wellness. I asked her to explain what happens to our bodies during a hangover.

‘There are a few things going on when we are detoxing. Firstly we are dehydrated so making sure you drink lots of water. If you can’t stomach water on it’s own add some mint or cucumber or sometimes having sparkling water helps.

Next the liver is busy breaking down toxins into non-toxic substances (this is called Phase 1 detoxing) then trying to eliminate them (Phase 2 detoxing). To effectively do this the liver requires amino acids AKA protein and sulphur AKA green veg! Carbohydrates won’t help you here even though you are probably craving them. This is when it’s best to plan ahead and have some food ready to go in the morning. Eggs is a good place to start, ideally with something green to go with them like spinach. 

When we drink alcohol we flood our body with carbohydrates that quickly turn to sugar which means our blood sugars spike. What goes up must go down and when the blood sugars plummet we can get all sorts of symptoms such as nausea, feeling shaky and headaches. To avoid this avoid having chips or toast at the end of the night but instead plump for some protein. Yep, that kebab is actually quite a good idea if you avoid the pitta bread and chips. “End of the night protein” can really stop a lot of the symptoms the next day!’

Dr Sarah Yelland is a 40-something mum of twins, health and wellness coach and General Practitioner specialising in Women’s health, Menopause and lifestyle medicine.

Dr Yelland agrees that as she gets older, she’s less able to handle her drink. The intensity and duration of the hangover gets worse too.

The hunt for the hangover remedy

‘Sadly the ‘cure’ shall remain an urban myth- it just doesn’t exist- and I hate to be a party pooper if you are already suffering the effects of the night before, but prevention is definitely better than cure.

Most people thinks hangovers are all about the dehydration but that’s not the whole picture, it’s a little more complex.  When the body metabolises alcohol it produces chemicals and enzymes which stress out our cells, make our blood sugar go wonky, cause inflammation, oxidative stress and pump out hangover causing free radicals that need mopping up. Overwhelm the system and you’ve got your classic head pumping, stomach churning, brain fog of fatigue.

So what can you do?

hangovers in your 40s

Here comes the science bit

Before you go out

  • Eat- food especially carbs & fats will slow your absorption of alcohol- giving your body a chance to keep on top of the alcohol processing, and get rid of the hangover inducing toxins, before it is overwhelmed.

Whilst you are out

  • Avoid darker drinks – these contain natural chemicals called Cogeners- these are a cause of inflammation of our blood vessels and for many of us these will make your hangover feel that much worse.
  • Drink soft drinks in between, and preferably not the fizzy variety. Fizz speeds up the absorption of the alcohol- and like I said above, we want to Slow. It. Down.

The morning after

  • Get hydrated- you will definitely be pee’ing a lot more, add that to sickness and even diarrhoea and dehydration will play a part in how rubbish you feel. 
  • Eat breakfast (if you can)- a healthy hearty and balanced breakfast will help not only maintain blood sugar levels- a cause of fatigue and brain drain if they drop low- but also if you can get some colourful fruit and veg, will provide a healthy dose of antioxidants to mop up those nasties.
  • Deal with the inflammation- anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin will always be one of my go to lifesavers.
  • Settle your stomach- antacids like Rennies, Gaviscon or Nexium (esomeprazole) can help you not only ease symptoms but allow you to eat and drink.
  • Caffeine- okay so this doesn’t really deal with the hangover, you might just feel more alert after a lovely cup.
  • Move- ramping up your metabolism will help to fire up the systems to burn it off (just don’t over do it- remember the systems is already under stress
  • Sleep- sleep is our most restorative state, the body needs time to repair and focus all of its stress blasting systems on the effects of the alcohol metabolites.
hangovers in your 40s

Finally supplements

I know many of us want a “natural” or alternative approach to conventional medicines. Although research on supplements is limited, and the science gets a bit grey,  a few studies suggest the following might help reduce symptoms… and lets be honest after some hangovers every little helps.

  • Zinc
  • B Vitamins
  • Red Ginseng
  • Prickly Pear extract
  • Ginger
  • Borage Oil (from the seeds of starflower)

Let’s be honest the only real way to get away without hangovers is alcohol in moderation, moderation, moderation.’

What are your tried and tested hangover cures? Let us know by commenting below. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Brutal truths about being 40

We aren’t going to sugar coat this shit show for you people. This is real life. I bought a coffee today from 2 young lads who could easily have been my teenage sons. For the first time, I thought to myself, I wonder what they think when they see me. Do they acknowledge me as a frumpy old ma, an older woman? What category am I now? It makes no difference to me whatsoever what they thought of me as I know I do my best to live my best life and I take as much care as I can of my body. But here are some brutal truths about the realities we are experiencing in our 4th decade. This is being 40.

  • You start becoming as blind as a bat. Reading the ingredients on food labels makes your eyes strain like a bear on the toilet.
  • A moment on the lips = a lifetime on the hips! Those days of wallowing in a bucket of Hagen Daaz are long gone. Your metabolism has just slowed down another 5% so trying to maintain your current weight just got 50% harder!
  • You’re closer to the M word than ever before. You constantly wonder whether this might be the year your body stops producing eggs and shrivels up.
  • You start losing the fight against wrinkles. But hey these are not wrinkles – they are survival lines right?
  • Hot Flashes! From head to toe and even in the roots of your hair ffs!
  • If your parents are still around you become acutely aware of how much longer they might have in them leaving you with an unhealthy obsession with mortality.
  • The epiphany that the buck stops with you always – and nobody can sort out your shit for you.
  • You can not hold in a fart even if your life – or the planet – depended on it.
  • Your brain is starting to feel like the biggest tangle, plagued with misremembering, forgetting words, names and being replaced with a load of mumbo jumbo.
  • Running home to the toilet becomes a regular occurrence as you fear the reality of wetting your knickers as your pelvic floor muscles aren’t what they used to be.
  • The younger generation might consider you a m.i.l.f (if you’re lucky). You may even have been lucky enough to be wolf whistled by a teenager (cringe!).
  • You’re no longer in the 18-35 category so jog on and tick the next box down please.
  • Being called ‘ Aunty’ by people in their thirties. Yup, you’re now the crazy aunt everyone!
  • When you consider work colleagues to be of a similar age but discover they were actually born in 2001 which WASN’T 10 years ago btw…..
  • Realising that you’re making groaning noise that only old people make when you get up from a chair or the floor.
  • When you’re explaining to teenagers about the Spice Girls and they ask ‘are they still alive?’
  • Not ever being asked to show your I.D when purchasing your daily gin.
  • Being so out of date with the lingo of the youth and having to ask what the abbreviation means!
  • You can no longer jump on a trampoline for the fear a bit of wee coming out. So happiness is…erm…NOT jumping on a trampoline!
  • Staying in, not going to the party, not leaving your house – your childhood punishments have now become your adult goals!
  • 9pm is pretty much equivalent to midnight. But hey you are still a rockstar, you whisper to yourself as you hunker down under the covers with your book of choice.
  • You remember the time before mobile phones, the internet and having to go to the library to look something up.
  • Your kids don’t know who Britney Spears is. Ugh! So toxic having to explain to them.

Anything to add to the list? What else do you expect you’ll encounter in your 40s? Get in touch by leaving a comment below or connect with us on Instagram here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Menopause: The basics

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

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

It’s often misunderstood – even by healthcare professionals

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges at work

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

Your “bad” cholesterol may go up

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

You may feel less social

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

The emotional symptoms can sometimes be worse than the physical symptoms

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

menopause ruin your life

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

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

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

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

Will the menopause ruin your life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coaching yourself through the menopause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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