Healthy living changes when you reach 40 and beyond. What you could eat, do, & try in the past, doesn’t seem to work the same way. As you go through perimenopause and enter menopause, your body changes and needs different support. These five pillars of healthy living are where you start.
As you move into midlife, you are aware of how your life is changing. Your kids are growing up and out. Your job is stable. You have achieved many of your goals. You are finding the crazies of your 20’s and 30’s are changing as your priorities and outlook on life change. You see that your life is ready for a little focus on you and on the meaning your life has, but your body and mind aren’t cooperating.
Now is your time. You have given to your family and your job. Your kids are wanting and moving on toward freedom and their own lives. Now you can focus on you: enjoying life, learning for enjoyment, finding fulfillment, and glimpsing peace. However, your body isn’t cooperating. You are waking with aches you didn’t have before. You stay up a little later and you pay for it the next couple of days. You are more tired and need more sleep, yet you wake at 3:00 a.m., mind alert and ready to go until right before your alarm. The exercise you have been doing for years is feeling painful and boring. Now that you can go and do on your own schedule, your get-up-and-go is nowhere in sight.
When this happens focusing on The 5 Pillars of Healthy Living can help you bring back your mojo and energy. You can feel better than you did in your 30’s. It doesn’t have to be hard.
The 5 Pillars of Healthy Living after 40
1. Support – Don’t Go It Alone
During your first 20+ years of adulthood you just ‘lived’. You didn’t have to worry about healthy living, you just worked and lived. However, a few pounds have crept on. How did your pant size get to be that! You have tried making changes, but nothing seems to work.
While working with my clients, I have discovered the key to making lasting changes – don’t go it alone. Anytime you focus on a change, there are hurdles and bumps along the way. Life gets in the way. It is easy to lose motivation and determination. When you are going it alone, it is easy to let the priority of you, the priority of healthy living, go. This one bite. This one night. This one sleep. But don’t they just lead into two, three and more times?
You deserve to have support, a “BFF” if you will, helping you through the road mines of making little changes to your health. You have accomplished and worked hard all of your life. You still need to, but at least you can have that ear, guidance, and savvy of a healthy living guide, so you don’t have to research it and figure it all out on your own.
Aren’t you ready for a healthy living companion? You deserve one.
2. Food – Nourish Your Changing Body
Remember when you could eat whatever you wanted, and your jeans fit anyway? Now you look at dessert and your belly swells. The bloating seems to come on no matter what passes your lips. You have tried different diets, but they are all too hard. You are tired of depriving yourself, but your metabolism seems to have slowed.
Overweight is not the problem, it is a symptom of imbalances in your body. Starting with changing what you put in it is the key to food. It is adding in the good, so you aren’t hungry for the junk. Controlling blood sugar swings can be easier than you think.
You start where you are and make small changes to what you eat, adding in nourishment for your body and mind in ways that become a part of your day instead of a chore. Remember the lose 10 pounds in a week schemes rarely work especially when you are over 40. Even if they do, the weight comes right back on. It is critical to focus on small lasting changes from where you are right now. Over time, the changes nourish your body and allow it do its job of balance and weighing what is right for you.
3. Sleep – Let Your Body Refresh and Restore While You Rest
You are a busy woman and sleep seems to be a luxury, but let me tell you it is not. Sleep plays a critical function in your body. Think about it, why would God create you to need 7-8.5 hours of sleep (1/3 of your day) if it wasn’t a critical part of healthy living? He even rested on the 7th day.
Sleep is restorative to your body. The body needs time to repair its cells and organs. It does this during sleep. Your brain, which is the largest energy user, needs a way to drain all of the toxins that build up during the day. Think about it…when you don’t get enough sleep, what is the first thing that feels off? Your brain…you have brain fog, things seem heavier and harder, you want to eat junk carbs for energy. Your brain has not had time to restore.
I have found when working with clients, if sleep is not addressed, the rest of the things you do for healthy living aren’t as beneficial. You are fighting yourself. Sleep, how much you need and when, needs to be determined and worked toward because sleep is one of the first things that gets messed up with hormonal imbalances of peri- and menopause.
4. Movement – Giving Your Body Natural Movement
Exercise is good but it is a stressor to your body. The constant, low-grade stress of living hard has built up in your body affecting your cortisol and adrenal functions. Exercising too much can actually cause more problems for your body. Spending time to figure out what movement is right for your body is critical to allowing your body to function optimally.
If you aren’t exercising, starting with small steps is how you begin. If you have been exercising hard, then trying to let some of that go to let your body relax may be the key.
Moving in natural ways throughout the day can be fun when you find little ways to incorporate it in your daily life.
5. Self-care – Treat Yourself Like a Queen
I could go on and on about this one. The women I know have put their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual care behind those they love for many years. When your children leave home, embrace this as the time to take care of you. No, that doesn’t mean plopping in front of the tv every night for mind numbing shows. It means purposely figuring out what renews your mind, what refreshes your body, and what calms your spirit? Then making time for it and banishing guilt.
Self-care can be so much fun, but it isn’t just to baby yourself. The goal is to allow your body to relax and restore, so it can be healthy, allowing you, at this time in your life, to then move toward a new career, go out and volunteer to make the difference you always wanted, travel and see the world, or find a new, closer relationship with God. When you take care of yourself, you then can give and enjoy more for a fulfilling life.
How to Embrace the 5 Pillars?
It can seem overwhelming and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Embracing the last four pillars can be easy when you have the support and encouragement of a confidante and companion on the journey. Taking time to make changes allows you to embrace and enjoy your midlife. Move into your empty nest life with your mojo and vibrancy. The second half of your life can be a fulfilling and exciting time for your to grow mental and spiritually while not growing out of your jeans when you realize that what your body needs is different now than when you were in your 20s and 30s.