burnout

Find Your Sleep Bliss

Finding your Sleep Bliss

 

Sleep is the best meditation – Dalai Lama

Sleep Issues

Good quality sleep is necessary for rejuvenation of the mind and body.  However according to the great British Sleep Survey 51.3 % of people have trouble finding their sleep bliss.   Women suffer more than men in dealing with insomnia and sleep issues.  Unfortunately the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate particularly in perimenopause and menopause which can disrupt quality and amount of sleep.

Many women complain of waking up feeling fatigued and lacking in energy even though they have just woken up.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation may cause a number of health problems and compromise the immune system leaving you more susceptible to illness and disease.

sleep

It is a frustrating feeling when you are physically and mentally exhausted and unable to sleep.  Tossing and turning until the early hours increases the feelings of fatigue, lethargy  and tiredness.

Our circadian rhythms (our natural internal clock) have become disrupted in a huge way with modern lifestyle advancements.

 

 

False light and Blue Light

Many years ago when there was no electricity we would have gone to sleep as soon as the sun went down for the evening and woke up at sunrise.   Today we have false light via the light bulb and electricity that gives us light any time we like.  One of the worst disruptors of sleep is the blue light emitted by electronic devices.

The feeling of tiredness is compounded with unhealthy daytime habits.  Many people report  having an energy slump in the day and instead of taking a brief nap they are reaching for caffeine or chocolate to keep them awake and alert. This not only causes a blood sugar spike, but the energy crash soon afterwards.

Sleep

Without the benefits of rejuvenating sleep our health is likely to suffer in some way.  Performance at work may be affected too.  The Japanese have recognised the value of a mini nap during the day, and some companies encourage staff to do this to recharge themselves.

Our minds are becoming overloaded and over stimulated  with technology, digital and social media.   The lifestyles we lead today have an impact on our quality of sleep.

Even though we have a number of gadgets that lighten our daily workload and make life easier, we have ended up ‘filling’ the extra time created.  We have dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines that saves us time, but what are we filling that time with?

Many years ago before TV, Netflix, computers and all other electronic gadgets,  families would spend evenings spent around the fire.  Talking, playing games, having a sing song and generally enjoying family time.

We have become a ’swipe’ nation.  Our brains are bombarded with a plethora of information constantly flowing in. We are communicating constantly and there is very little disconnect time.

How many times do you find yourself checking your messages, emails, Facebook, and all other social media accounts?  More exposure to blue light.

I am even guilty of this  myself.  I am writing this blog on a long train journey.  I could be relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery passing by but because I have time and a ‘connection’ I am working.

sleep

 

 

A Head down Nation

As I waited for the train to arrive on the platform I observed how many people had their heads down tapping away furiously into their devices, oblivious of their surroundings or the people around them.

According to experts from Harvard and Oxford, we are sleeping two hours less than we did in the 1960s.

So, what can you do?

  1. Keep the bedroom as dark as possible.  Light suppresses melatonin
  1. Aim to go to bed between 9pm and 11pm
  1. Don’t obsess about the quantity of sleep you have, but focus on the quality. Many famous people function very well on very little sleep.  Not everyone needs 8 hours sleep
  1. Don’t lie in at the weekends, this confuses the body
  1. Try staying off digital devices two hours before bedtime.  This reduces your exposure to blue light
  1. No coffee, alcohol or heavy foods a few hours before bed

 

sleep

7.  Pay attention to your energy slumps. Don’t reach for a coffee or  sugar snack.  If you are able, try to have a 10 minute nap

  1. Make your bedroom electronic free. No TV, no electronics.  Make it a place that is calming and relaxing
  1. Place plants in your bedroom.  This helps to improve the quality of the air you breathe
  1. Make sure your room is not too hot. Aim for a temperature of 15.5-20 C

11.  Maintain a regular sleep routine and wake up at the same time each day

  1. Don’t use the snooze button as it confuses the body
  1. Try herbal teas such a chamomile and valerian and ensure you have plenty magnesium in your diet
  1. Use essential oils such as lavender in the bath or in a diffuser

15       Do some exercise daily, even walking is helpful

16       Reflexology and  Reiki are very relaxing and may help to reduce stress levels and reduce cortisol levels

sleep

 

It is possible to wake up recharged, rejuvenated and ready for the day.  Try implementing some of the above tips.  Your mind and body will thank you.

If you have enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy the other blogs on the Flourish Beyond 40 website.

 

eye health

Yes I had an Eye Lift

Yes I had an Eye Lift

Five years ago I decided to have an eye lift (medically suggested).   Since then  and consequently I have received various responses to this decision varying from:

* “Why would you do that to yourself”?

* “Natural is better”

* “Anyone who has plastic surgery is vain”

* “Good for you, how much did it cost?”

* “It looks fabulous”

Attitude and Judgement

None of the above comments both  positive or negative would have swayed the decision to have the eye lift (blepharoplasty)  procedure. Based on the experience, I wanted to share some information about the attitudes of other people and your own approach to cosmetic procedures.

We all know that middle age brings about significant change, both physically, mentally and emotionally.  The glow of youth fades and is replaced with new lines and wrinkles making themselves at home on the  face.  For some women (and men) this can be very upsetting.

The Ageing Process

Collagen is lost particularly during the menopause and the skin may begin to sag in certain places.   Jowls may appear around your lower face and your jaw line may not be as defined as in your 20s. Eye lids start to sag and droop and you may start to think about an eye lift.

All of the above are a normal part of the ageing process.  How you choose to approach these changes is a matter of personal choice.

There are those who are perfectly happy in their own skin and embrace each year as a life lived well. And there those who struggle with the reflection in the mirror.

Is it really necessary  to judge women (and men)  who decide to have cosmetic surgery to preserve their beauty as much as possible?

 

eye lift

In the many years I spent living in Dubai, a very affluent country where cosmetic surgery procedures are common.  The cosmetic surgery clinics are full of eager women (and men) undergoing various procedures ranging from botox, fillers, implants, Thermage, eye lifts, eyebrow lifts and more.  Some look absolutely fantastic, whereas others look clearly overdone.

There are some celebrities who have undergone multiple facelifts (Sharon Osbourne) and some who have the occasional nip and tuck here and there.   There are those who like to “fix” any areas they are not happy with.  A famous quote  by Dolly Parton on this subject  “If I see something sagging, bagging or dragging, I’m gonna have it nipped, tucked, and sucked”.

 

eye lift

 

Even when money has not been a barrier to cosmetic surgery there are still celebrities who get it very wrong.

Statistics

According to the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) 51,000 Britons opted for cosmetic surgery in 2015. Women account for 91% of these numbers and the number of men undergoing procedures has doubled, most noteworthy indeed.

In my case my eye lift was carried out for medical reasons at an eye hospital with the added benefit of it looking cosmetically great.  To say that I was thrilled with the procedure would be an understatement. Therefore, it  has been one of the best things decisions I have made.  This is something that I have heard from most people who have also undergone this procedure.

Questions

Was it painful? no

Was there bruising? yes for a few days

Did it make a difference? yes it certainly did and I would do it again

The bottom line is that the decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure is purely personal.

It is important that you consider carefully what you are about to do. There is a possibility   that you may not have the expected outcome you are looking for, particularly if you have unrealistic expectations.

Bear in mind that cosmetic surgery is still a medical procedure and will always have an element of risk,  particularly if you are having a general anaesthetic.  Many procedures can be carried out these days with “twilight” sedation which was the case with my own operation.

Do it for you not for someone else

Make sure you are making this decision to please yourself, not to please another.  I have worked with many women who have undergone breast augmentation to please their partner, only to find they did not like their new breasts.

Having a new pair of breasts, or a butt implant is not going to give you long term happiness  if you don’t know how to create happiness within yourself first.

Research fully

Research your surgeon  and the procedure fully.  Ensure that he/she has carried out your required procedure several times and ask to see photographs or speak to previous patients if possible. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions that you need to.  The more information you have the more informed you will be as to what to expect.

Your cosmetic surgeon should reassure you and allay any fears you may have.  Ensure you have all your questions to hand and as result you are far more likely to have the outcome and experience you want.

There are lotions and potions, and there are cosmetic procedures, do your due diligence if you choose to go down the cosmetic surgery route and exercise caution to make sure you are doing it for the “right” reasons, not for the wrong ones.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, please feel free to peruse the other blogs on the site.

Have a great day.

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

eye health

Shift Your Middle Age Muffin Top

Middle Age and Weight Redistribution

Many things happen during middle age, and one of them is the redistribution of fat around the body.  Women may find that excess weight is sitting around the middle and adding to the very uncomfortable muffin top spillage over the top of jeans.

There are many reasons for this which we shall explore in this blog.  The fact is that fat held around the middle of the body is particularly detrimental to health and is a sign that the metabolism is not working as efficiently as it once did.

Illnesses and fat stored around the middle

Fat around the middle is known to increase the risk of many illnesses such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease high blood pressure and more.  It is also a fact that as people get older they may become less active and muscle mass begins to be lost.

Diet alone will not address this problem, it needs a multi level approach.

Your body is laying weight around the middle for a number of reasons:

1. Long term stress

2. Unhealthy lifestyle

3. Poor nutrition

4. Lack of exercise

5. Excessive alcohol consumption

6 Thyroid and adrenal issues

Stress

During periods of stress your body is pumping out adrenaline and cortisol due to the flight or fight response.   In caveman times this was necessary to respond to threats.  However the types of stress experienced today is completely different in comparison to that time.

Perhaps you are stressed at work, home, or while driving through traffic or another type of stress. Your body will respond accordingly.  Due to the release of these hormones and the fact that your body is not doing anything physical in response to the perceived threat, it will then  lay down fat deposits.

Cortisol and appetite

Once the perceived threat is over it is common for the cortisol levels to remain high and your appetite increases — not great if you are trying to control and manage your weight.

Raised cortisol affects wellbeing and moods, causing feelings of tension, anxiety and a feeling of irritability.

Many people who are stressed have a tendency to eat the wrong types of foods as a means of comforting themselves.  Sugary snacks, chocolate, crisps, wrong types of carbohydrates and fried fatty food is going to complicate matters even further. All that extra weight is likely to end up around the middle.

 

middle

There are also those that eat less and lose their appetites in periods of stress.

In periods of prolonged stress the body is unable to keep up, the adrenals cease to work efficiently and energy levels drop significantly.  Your body is in stress overload.

The key is in staying tuned into your mind and body and not allowing stress to impact your life to the degree that your health begins to suffer.

Your body needs to know that there are no longer any perceived threats to allow it to begin to let go of the excess roll of fat that sits around the middle.

Menopause is also a time of stress for some women as they deal with hormonal fluctuations, mood swings, less energy, and all of the changes that menopause brings.  This is particularly challenging for  women in  corporate jobs trying to function productively while her body processes all of these changes mentioned above.

Men also do not escape the effects of hormonal changes in midlife and they begin to produce less and less testosterone. Men in middle age lose muscle mass if they are not exercising regularly and less muscle mass means less calories expenditure.

Another gland that impacts weight control is the thyroid gland in the neck.  The thyroid is responsible for metabolism and body temperature.  When there are high levels of cortisol as a result of stress the function of the thyroid may reduce.

 

middle

What you can do

It is imperative to take control of eating habits and behaviour.  It is necessary to find a way of addressing comfort eating, or eating the wrong food groups for the wrong reasons.

Seven tips to take control of your weight

1. No more dieting, diets do not work

2. Let go of sugar and refined carbohydrates

3. Make sure you have a little protein at each meal

4. Let go of your morning coffee and caffeine drinks

5. Address your stress levels

6 Eliminate or reduce alcohol

7. Consider supplementation

8. Exercise regularly

Instead of leaving huge gaps in-between meals, eat little and often to keep the metabolism burning.  Don’t skip breakfast, your body has been fasting all night.

Caffeine is a stimulant

Be careful with caffeine.   It is a stimulant that causes your body to start the release of cortisol and eventually may mess up the way your body responds to the release of insulin.  Caffeine is also very addictive.

Alcohol is your enemy

 

middle

Alcohol is also a stimulant which interferes with the absorption of nutrients and your sleep patterns.   It also causes your body to dehydrate which is stressful for the body.  Remember that the liver is a very busy organ.  When you drink alcohol you are overloading it and it may not be able to do its job efficiently or well.

Supplementation

middle

This is a personal choice, but I have seen the many benefits of supplementation with my clients.  Study the benefits of chromium, magnesium, zinc, rhodiola rosea, and many other wonderful supplements.  Speak to your local health shop regarding recommendations and make an informed choice to take them or not.

Exercise

middle

Exercise consistently and choose exercise that you know you will enjoy.  This is important to stay motivated to continue.  Choosing weight bearing exercise is going to help to increase your muscle mass which is ideal particularly for the midlife years.

Shopping List

You will find a free downloadable shopping list on the flourish beyond 40 website.  Avoid food that is labeled “diet or low fat”.  Avoid all artificial sweeteners.  Eat organic where possible.  Include more beans and pulses into your diet.  Drink plenty water each day to help flush the body of toxins.

If you enjoy spices in your food then enjoy including them in your cooking.  Include nuts, seeds and avocados.

There is a plethora of wonderful books and information that you can access to support your weight goals.

Now that you know the factors that are adding to weight gain around the middle, you can take proactive action to make changes to your health, wellness and lifestyle.  The good  news is that you are likely to let go of weight around the middle once you address the factors that are causing it.

Being able to manage stress levels and noticing when stress levels become too high is going to help you stay in control of your weight.  Make sure you use effective stress management techniques and strategies to support your goals of healthy weight  management.

If you enjoyed reading this blog you may enjoy reading the other blogs on the site.

Have a great stress free day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

 

Transformation in midlife – There is a positive side!

How many times have you heard the following in conversations, or caught yourself saying these statements? –

“I’m too old to (fill in the blank)”

“At my age I couldn’t possibly (fill in the blank)”

“People of my age don’t do that sort of thing”

What are your beliefs?

Some of the above may genuinely be true for one reason or another.  On many occasions these kind of statements are a sign of beliefs that have been taken on board about the aging process.  The beliefs you hold are not necessarily useful or helpful in how you handle the changes of getting older.

What is true is that we go through a transformation at midlife.  This transformation is physical, mental, emotional and for some spiritual.

The transformation of getting older

Every single person on the planet will go through the aging process.  Some people will choose to delay the process by undergoing  cosmetic surgery and enhancements.  While this may delay the visual effects of getting older, time will continue to march on regardless.

 

transformation

 

Choices

There is a positive side of the physical transformation that takes place in midlife.  You have a conscious choice of making more informed intelligent choices about your health due to having access to a vast array of information available.  Improved results follows positive action.

It is a true saying that true beauty lies within and never ages.  Inner beauty is also something that is reflected outwards. It is just as important to take care of the inside as much as the outside.

The positive side of midlife transformation is that there is a tendency to be more reflective.  There tends to be more clarity on what you don’t want and what you do. You also have the wisdom of age to say so assertively.

The wrinkles on your face are a sign of the life you have led. They reflect  all that you have experienced both good and bad.

 

transformation

 

Time passes quickly, and each day merges into another.   Before you know it you are into your 40s thinking “wow, that came around quick!”

What can we expect?

But what actually happens at midlife?  What can be expected?   How can you be prepared when it arrives; physically, mentally and emotionally?

There are certain changes that take place physically at midlife, both for men and women.  Some men go through the male version of menopause otherwise known as andropause.  Women go through menopause.

The arrival of menopause

Menopause generally does not arrive unannounced and is preceded by a phase called perimenopause at around age 35.  Menopause is the term that describes the phase of having no periods for 12 months or 24 months if a woman is under the age of 50.

It is imperative that healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits are established early on well before perimenopause.

The positive side of midlife transformation is that unfortunately you are more likely to have witnessed and been emotionally touched by illness in family and friends.  This motivates change.

Loss and learning

Many of you will have lost loved ones.  This can increase  determination and motivation to take more responsibility for the health and wellness choices you make.

You may find you have more time on your hands to focus on your wellbeing particularly if children have left home or you are retired.

Start to reflect on some of the choices you are making.  Are these choices moving you towards good health for the future or away from?

 

transformation

 

If you choose to eat processed food and takeaways, your body will not get the nutrition that it needs to function optimally.   There are effects and consequences of making unhealthy lifestyle diet and lifestyle decisions.

 

transformation

 

Move your body

The body needs exercise.   It is great to see the promotion of devices that encourage you to be aware of how many steps you take a day along with a whole lot of other useful information.  These devices  help keep you on track of your exercise routine.

Your body was created to move, not to be sedentary and sit still in an office all day, or lie on a sofa all night.  Your joints and muscles all need movement and stretching to keep you strong, toned and flexible.

 

transformation

 

Muscle and bone mass decreases in your 30s onwards.  This is a great time for women to incorporate weights into their exercise regimen to encourage tone and muscle mass.

Not to forget the feel good rush of endorphins flowing around the body with exercise.

Going through midlife transformation can be a positive time that encourages you to make changes that you may have been putting off.  It is a time when you can no longer ignore the signs that your body gives you in terms of stiffness, aches, pains and weight gain.

Many people say that they get a “second wind” in midlife.  If you approach this time with a healthy attitude, and mind-set followed by the correct actions and lifestyle choices then midlife will likely be a lot more comfortable and easy for you.

Is it time for you to make some changes?  Why not start today?

Midlife

Midlife Women – 5 healthy habits

Midlife Women – 5 healthy habits to implement straight away

Midlife can be challenging.  There are so many changes that take place internally and externally at midlife that may knock you off balance.  Some women manage to sail through the transition of midlife without so much as breaking a sweat.  While others suffer miserably.  How can this be?

Invisibility

Women report that they start to feel invisible as the glow of youthfulness begins to fade and the march of time begins to let itself be known both on the face and the body.

Aging

Skin aging and laxity are common and for some women this is really depressing. Their once pert breasts, and firm buttocks may have travelled a little further South, a speedier process especially when they have not been exercising.

Isolation

Midlife

 

This may also be a time when children marry or leave home for University and the house may become eerily silent.  This can leave a big gap and empty space in a woman’s life particularly if she has not kept up any outside interests or hobbies. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Getting older is guaranteed for everyone and unfortunately there are no eternal youth elixirs available to keep you looking young forever.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery can keep some tell tales signs of aging at bay, but does not address the internal aging process, and not everyone has the finances to fund the constant upkeep that cosmetic enhancements require.

Mindset

Our mindset, lifestyle choices and the actions we take have a huge impact on our overall wellness and how we feel in midlife.

Here are 5 habits that you may wish to implement into your life so that midlife doesn’t knock you off balance or catch you off guard.

Be prepared, be committed, be motivated.  Health is priceless but needs an investment of your time, energy and the correct life choices.

5 Habits of happy Midlife Women

Happy midlife women follow these principles:

 

1.

 Healthy eating habits

healthy eating habits

Eliminate or reduce alcohol, smoking, sugar, processed foods and junk food.  Alcohol and caffeine are stimulants which will exacerbate hormonal fluctuations.  If you are suffering from hot flushes, then spicy food may have to stay off the menu.  Drink plenty of water to flush the body of toxins and aid the digestive process.  Include flaxseed, chick peas, lentils, seeds, and plenty of vegetables into your diet, along with sauerkraut, natural live yogurt, aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar.

2.

Managing stress levels

stress

High levels of stress may also affect weight in a very negative way due to the effects of cortisol.  If you are feeling highly stressed make sure you find a way to manage it through relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, self hypnosis, yoga or similar.  Discover what your stress triggers and find a way to reduce or eliminate them.  Holistic therapies such as reflexology, massage, Reiki may also promote stress relief and a sense of inner peace.

Make sure you have good quality sleep

sleep

During the day our hormones are busy and are used up.  In sleep we are rejuvenating and the endocrine system produces new hormones. Make sure that your room is completely dark and that you sleep around 10pm. Have a bedtime routine and that you have exercised during the day.  Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol before bedtime.  Switch off all electronic gadgets at least two hours before bed.

3.

Emotional Wellness

Hormonal fluctuations can affect your moods and cause you to feel irritated, annoyed and angry.  You may feel out of control on some days, but it doesn’t have to be this way.  Hypnotherapy is a great technique to work with the mind, journaling, and listening and responding to your own needs is also helpful.  This is a great time to reconnect with all of the things you used to love doing but are no longer doing so.  Make time to do what you enjoy.

4.

Supercharge your confidence

Now is the time to work on yourself and to do all that makes you feel self confident.  Making sure that you are doing what is necessary for you to feel happy with your self image.  Working on your personal development, dressing well and perhaps doing some inner work.  An image makeover can work wonders too.   Working with a hypnotherapist or coach may help you with self confidence issues.

5.

Exercise

exercise

It is never too late to start exercising. There are so many ways to exercise that you are spoilt for choice.  Make sure you choose something that you enjoy as you much more likely to stay motivated and continue.  If you don’t enjoy the gym, why not work out at home, or outside?  Do you love dance?  Why not try Zumba or another form of dance such as Salsa, Ceroc or Ballroom?

The important thing is to get moving.  Your body is not designed to sit still and be sedentary.  Even something as simple as walking for 20 minutes each day is better than doing nothing at all.  Exercise releases the feel good hormones endorphins which will help keep your moods uplifted.

Choices

We all have access to 24 hours a day, and a personal choice on on how we choose to spend our free time.

All of the habits above can be easily implemented into a busy lifestyle, and are so beneficial to overall wellness.  There is no time like the present, why not start today?

Why not pop over to the website and download your complimentary shopping list and exercise planner to help you on your journey to wellness.

We have some great programmes to help you through midlife and beyond.

Have a happy, healthy day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40 Online Women’s Wellness Programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menopause

Menopause and Staying Cool in a Hot Climate

Menopause and going on holiday to a hot climate can bring a new set of challenges to your plans.

We all look forward to going on holiday.  A time where we can do what we want, when we want, how we want.  We can forget the every day responsibilities of life such as housework, jobs, and all the other things on the daily “to do” list.

Holidays are a time to just kick back, relax and chill, or not?  Staying cool while in the middle of a menopause on a hot climate holiday brings new challenges.

I have just returned from visiting my lovely home which is bathed in sunshine, nestled in the mountains, and five minutes from the beach.  This year was very different from last, because this year I am in the middle of menopause and  my internal thermostat has a mind of its own.

 

Menopause

So while I sat at the pool in the shade with a cool flannel on the back of my neck, I felt compelled to share ways for you to have a more comfortable time while you are on holiday.  If you discover more of your own “cooling” methods I would love to hear them as would many women I am sure.

1. Cotton and Linen are your friends in menopause

In fact the truth is that the least clothes you can get away with wearing is ideal.  However in public or out and about you will find that cotton and linen will be far more comfortable and cooler than synthetic fabrics. During menopause you may find that hot flushes are a regular occurrence.

Leave your skin tight body hugging clothes at home in a hot climate as you will find yourself peeling them off as they stick to your skin.

You may also want to dress in layers as some restaurants and other areas you wish to visit may have air conditioning. While this can be very welcoming, it can also feel too cool after a hot flush.  You can add a layer or peel off a layer according to your environment.

2. Swimming costumes don’t feel cool!

Maybe you haven’t worn a bikini in years, and you may be surprised that you are considering wearing one now. Why? Because swimming costumes can be extremely hot to wear and they do not allow your skin to breathe easily.

Menopause

 

So while you may feel more confident in your one piece, you may have a huge urge to step right out of it during a hot flush.  There are many flattering bikinis around and let’s face it, at this time in your life it’s more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you.  So pop on your bikini, and if you feel self conscious throw on a lovely bright light sarong, or throw over.  Life is way too short to bother about other peoples opinions.

3. Spicy food and alcohol are no go!

 

Menopause

It is a known fact that spicy food and alcohol during menopause are likely to increase the symptoms.  While you may feel tempted to tuck into your Thai green curry, or spicy chicken fajitas with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, you may want to reconsider the consequences against the pleasure.

Why not go for a lovely dish of steamed fish and salad.  Your body will thank you.

4. Cotton sheets and fans are a great choice

Menopause

In temperatures of 40 degrees  it is highly likely that you will have the air conditioning on in the bedroom and a duvet on the bed.  This will generally result in the duvet being kicked off and pulled on several times during the night and a grumpy sleep starved disgruntled partner.

I found that by discarding the duvet, replacing it with a cotton sheet, switching on the AC two hours before bed very helpful.  I then purchased two fans for each side of the bed, my husbands side and my side, switching off the AC at bedtime.  Bliss for both of us.  I must admit to sneaking out of bed a few times and stealing his fan but he never knew.

5. Hand Fans

Menopause

Much as you may have tried your best to avoid using one of these little contraptions, you may be welcoming one on holiday.  There will be times when you are outside sightseeing under the sun, or in a place with no AC, and you feel the familiar  menopause hot flush making itself known.

The instant cooling effect of the fan on your face and neck is going to help you feel a lot more comfortable, cool and happy.  There is nothing worse than feeling your face reddening and getting hotter and hotter at the most inconvenient moments.

6. Bed Snuggles

Menopause

You may find the idea of lots of snuggling and post coital cuddles very romantic pre holiday.  However in reality this may change somewhat.  Having another hot body and legs and arms entwined with your own very hot sweaty body is going to make you feel like you are on fire, and not in the way you think.

Don’t be alarmed if you find your partner sleeping as far away from you as possible at some points during the evening.  The combination of both body heats together is likely to have increased their own internal body thermostat too.

7. Pool or Beach?

Some may argue that the beach is likely to feel more comfortable for you with a sea breeze to keep you cool.  Unfortunately on many hot days there may not be a cool sea breeze at all.  In addition to that, you may not also have access to a beach shower.  The sea temperature can be similar to a warm bath.

On the other side if you have access to a pool, it is highly likely that there will be a pool shower, and this can be a blessing along with a chilled swimming pool.  Imagine being able to step into the cool pool shower and then jump into the chilled swimming pool during a hot flush.  Wonderful.  It may be worth considering this before booking your next holiday.

8. Sense of Humour

There may be some tetchy moments or bitchiness on some days particularly when your partner has insisted on visiting somewhere in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest.  A sense of humour and being able to laugh at yourself goes a long way to easing what has the potential to be a volatile situation sparked by a sharp comment from one of you.

Time your day trips well.  Early in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is not at its peak temperature is ideal.  Choosing your sightseeing times and carrying your fan can make a potential great day even better and don’t forget to hydrate to feel great.

9. Hair up or down?

Menopause

Having medium to long hair on a hot holiday may make it impossible to wear down during the day.  I am sure you are familiar with the back of neck sweats, and beads of sweat trickling between your breasts?

This can be relieved by wearing your hair up as  much as possible, not always the best look, but a cool breeze on the back of the neck feels wonderful during a hot moment.  Make sure you pack hair clips, bands, etc.

10. Choose your dates wisely in menopause

If you suspect you  are peri-menopausal or menopausal, and you will generally know this due to the symptoms you are experiencing. Then be wise in choosing the dates you travel.

It is possible that you are desperate for guaranteed sunshine, and booking the height of the summer season is going to make that a probability for you. However consider the last nine points above in your choice of dates.

Why not book just ahead of peak season, or at the end of peak season.  I tend to travel at the beginning of June, and mid September where there is still plenty of sunshine, and perhaps and occasional welcome cloud or two.

Staying chilled on a hot holiday during menopause does have its challenges, but by implementing some simple changes as mentioned above, you are far more likely to have a more comfortable time.

Packing List

Here is your packing list:

Hand fan

Hair accessories

Cotton and linen clothes

Bikinis

Sarongs

Light throw overs

Sense of humour

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog.  Please feel free to visit the site to read other blogs, or to browse around the shop to see how we can assist and support your journey in your forties and beyond.

Have a cool holiday!

I hope the above has helped you in some way.  If you have enjoyed this blog why not head over to the Sexuality and Relationships blog for more tips and information.

motivate

Changing Your Mindset

 

CHANGING YOUR MINDSET TO GET THE RESULTS YOU WANT

I have just returned from an amazing trip to the Middle East where I was invited so speak at the Women’s Peak Performance Summit on changing the mindset.  Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Anantara Eastern Mangroves and Spa in Abu Dhabi and lovely warm sunshine, a truly lovely experience.

mindset

 

It was a great trip in many respects, one because I was returning to the country where I lived in for 28 years and where I established a very successful business and made wonderful friends along the way.  Secondly I was breaking through my own fear barriers of public speaking by changing my own mindset.

The talk went incredibly well and it felt incredibly empowering to finally push that old obstacle to success out of the way once and for all and I am left feeling excited and inspired to do more public speaking events.

mindset

 

The mind can be a prison or it can a garden that flourishes, all depending on what you choose to feed it with our expose it to.  You can choose to grow weeds or you can choose to grow flowers, and it all comes down to the thoughts you think, the words you use, and the actions you take (or not).

A mindset focused in the right direction gets the results you are looking for. There are two mindsets; the growth mindset or the fixed mindset.  In the growth mindset there is a lot of energy and action taking.

 

mindset

 

A person operating from a growth mindset will generally not perceive failure as failure but as an opportunity to learn, improve and do it better next time. They are genuinely happy for other people’s success, and they truly believe that if they put their mind to it they can achieve it.  People operating from the growth mindset tend to get the results they want.

On the other side there is the fixed mindset.  There isn’t much happening there, and it is all rather stagnant and flat.  A person operating from a fixed mindset tends to give up as soon as they feel they have failed, they may also feel slightly threatened by another person’s success and they also do not tend to thrive as well as a person operating from a growth mindset.

Why not take a moment to reflect which side you may be operating from.

 

So what do you do if you find yourself in the fixed mindset too much?  First of all, let go of judging yourself as to why you are over there in the first place.  There are many reasons for this.

Let’s take a look at ways to move you towards a growth mindset.

mindset

 

 WORDS

 The thoughts you think and the words you use in your vocabulary have energy, impact and power behind them.  Words such as can’t, won’t, try, should, impossible are all limiting words.  The word but, for example, is normally followed by a negative statement: I would love to apply for that job BUT I am not clever enough, I would like to eat healthily BUT I haven’t got the willpower.

 

mindset

 

The same applies to the word don’t, the more we focus on what we don’t want, the more we attract it into our lives.  If I were to ask you “don’t think of a purple elephant”, what are you thinking of right now?

Become more aware of the thoughts you think and the words you use. In communication and dialogue use words such as; can, now, will, possible, ready.  There is action and movement in these words.

 

BELIEFS

Some of the beliefs you have are not necessarily useful or helpful for you in present time.  They may not be your own and may come from what you have been taught to believe as a child.  Maybe a teacher told you that you were stupid, or dumb, or someone told you that you are not good enough.

Some of the beliefs I have heard in my work with many people are “because my family are all diabetic then I will be too, or everyone in my family is obese so I will be too.”  These beliefs are not helpful for you in your life and as such may be impacting and sabotaging all that you are working towards becoming who you want to be.

Take time to reflect on what your own programmed beliefs are, and take steps towards letting them go and embracing new beliefs that support your growth, development and potential.

 

SELF TALK

It may be time to challenge the little voice inside that whispers “you are not good enough, clever enough, pretty enough” and so on.  You are enough, you are more than enough.  Begin to acknowledge all of your achievements in life so far.  Challenge that voice within by asking “is this really true”?  When you hear “what if I fail”? Challenge with “what if I succeed”?  Negative self talk will sabotage your goals and dreams.

mindset

 

Start today to implement new mindset behaviour to help to get you to where you want to be. Work with the three step process provided.  Yes, change can be scary, yet it is incredibly empowering.

perimenopause menopause libido intimacy hormones

Your Menopause Journey – A blog for the Partner In Your Life

PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE  – A Blog for the partner in your life

Many men do not realise the extent of how the symptoms of the perimenopause or menopause affect their partners.  Indeed some may feel that their partner has changed beyond all recognition and appear to be hijacked by hormonal fluctuations.

What do you do when your partner is happy one minute and in a pool of tears the next?  Maybe you find yourself wondering “where is the woman that I married”?  If any of the above resonates with you, then this blog is written especially for you.

Perhaps the tips in this blog can serve as a self-help guide to help you navigate what can be the turbulent ocean of the perimenopause/menopause.

What Can Men Expect?

So what can you expect from your partner at this time in her life (and yours)?  What can you do help her feel better?  Read on to get some helpful information to help both of you  come out the other side stronger than you were before.

The following are the most common symptoms of perimenopause (the phase before menopause) and the menopause.

Your partner may have one or two of these symptoms, or she may have all.  A great deal of how she experiences the perimenopause and menopause will depend on the diet and lifestyle she chooses to follow.

 Diet and Lifestyle

Healthy food 2

 

A diet full of processed foods, takeaways, cakes and biscuits is not going to do her any favours.  Unfortunately the body may become more efficient in gaining weight in the menopause years.

Maybe it is time to think carefully about what is going into the shopping trolley.   Junk food is likely to land directly on her body very quickly when excess calories are consumed.

Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

* Night sweats * Tearfulness * Weight gain

* Hot flushes * Anxiety * Loss of confidence

* Irritability * Loss of libido

* Mood swings * Loss of energy

Perhaps you have recognised some of the above in your partner?  So what can you do?

Five Ways to Help Your Partner

lovers for blog

1. Communicate

It is important to keep communication wide open at this time.  You are her life companion, and hopefully a partner she feels safe and loved enough to share her concerns with.

When she does her best to try to tell you how she feels, please don’t interrupt her, don’t offer your expert opinion on this subject as you do not truly know what she is going through.

Learn to be a “heart with ears” meaning; giving her the opportunity to tell you in her own way what she is feeling.  Please don’t look away from her when she is speaking either, respect her enough to give her the attention she needs. Learn to really listen and truly “hear what she is saying”.

2. Reassure

Your partner may be feeling many different types of emotions.   She may be feeling sad that her ability to conceive is coming to an end.  She may feel insecure if weight is redistributing itself, or not be at peace with the ageing process and the march of time on the face and body.

Gentlemen, it is not the time to start an affair because you are unable to relate fully to your partner at this time.  You may also want to think twice about criticising or belittling her.  This is a part of a woman’s journey, and with small changes and an adjustment of  mindset and lifestyle, this phase can also be viewed as a new beginning.

3. Maintain a Sense of Humour

It is a true saying that laughter is good medicine.  Remember that you have not “lost” your wife forever.  She is still there, and she will be back at the end of the menopause journey.

Do things together that your both really enjoy.  Go to the cinema and watch uplifting funny movies.  Be with people that are positive and happy.  Plan your future to include doing all the things you love.  Be happy.  Every day is blessing and life is precious.  Spend your time well as tomorrow is a promise not guaranteed for everyone.

4. Maintain intimacy and affection

There may be days when your partner looks in the mirror and does not like herself much at all. If she is feeling less than “sexy” she won’t be expecting you to find her sexy either.  She may even rebuke your sexual advances.

Please don’t think she is being cold or rejecting you.  Those hormones can do quite a dampening job on the libido.  Add in to the mix that she may not be sleeping well due to night sweats, and insomnia.

You may be blissfully unaware that all of this is happening while you snore happily beside her.  Give her what she needs.  If affection is needed be it in the way of a hug, or putting your arms  around her, then do it.

Maybe she isn’t in the mood for sex, but may be in the mood to lie together and be close.  Once again she is not rejecting you.  Be patient, kind and considerate.  Great things can happen when there are no expectations.

5. Give the space she needs

As your partner navigates this phase of her life she may also be handling a number of other issues. The responsibilities of work, family commitments may be weighing heavy on her mind and on her time.

If she asks for some “me” time, it is not because she does not want to be with you, it is because she wants to be with herself for a little while.  Why not surprise her once in a while with a Spa voucher, or run her a nice bubble bath, buy her favourite magazine, and close the door and leave her be for while.

I hope the above has helped you in some way.  If you have enjoyed this blog why not head over to the Sexuality and Relationships blog for more tips and information.

Have a love filled day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

healthy eating

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Food – Let Food be your Friend

It has been interesting to observe how my body changed when I “flourished” into my 40s.  All of a sudden what I could get away with eating in my 20s and 30s no longer applied and I realised the importance of eating healthy food.

My body began to redistribute weight differently and a muffin top started to present itself over my jeans.  As I sat in the bath contemplating this new part of myself,  I knew that I needed to address and embrace new eating habits that were better suited to a midlife woman, and fluctuating hormones.  A cavalier attitude with my diet was not cutting it at all. Perimenopause had arrived and menopause was knocking at the door.

There is much evidence to support the true fact that the amount of energy that we burn while resting, drops off by the age of 30 and then a further 7% each decade after that.

Common sense points to the fact that of course if we eat exactly the same in our 40s and beyond as we did in our 20s and 30s weight would start to creep on. Not eating healthy food was no longer an option.  Have you noticed your waist bands getting tighter? your bra bulges increasing?  It doesn’t happen overnight though it may seem that way when you finally notice these things.

Bottom line – you need fewer calories than you did when you were younger

With midlife comes other concerns and issues such as risk of heart disease, diabetes, that with increased cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, poor eating choices is a recipe for disaster.

cholesterol

There is no need to feel deprived when you choose to eat healthy food there are many tasty substitutes out there for you.  Don’t focus on the things you can’t eat, but on all of the things you can.

Eating healthier is easier than you think.  How about adding some spinach to to your eggs, or enjoy raw carrots, cauliflower and celery with some hummus as a snack.  Fill your plate with lots of roasted delicious veggies. Raw unsalted almonds and walnuts make a great snack too.

What is a Healthy Diet?

In the younger years you may have followed various different diets or ways of eating in a desire to “look good”, however this attitude shifts in the 40s and beyond towards a necessity to be healthy and look good.

But what is a healthy diet?  What are you supposed to eat or indeed not eat in your midlife and beyond years?  There is so much conflicting information out there now that no wonder you don’t know what to believe any longer.

One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is to give up or at least restrict sugar in your diet. Did you know that sugar is eight times addictive as cocaine?

Giving up Sugar

When you go shopping, check the food labels and avoid any that have sugar in the first three ingredients.  Giving up sugar may be difficult at first and you may experience cravings, however these generally disappear after a few weeks have passed.  During this time please do not try to substitute your sugar intake by using artificial sweeteners, you may wish to try Xylitol or Stevia (made of plants).

Supplementation is important at this time in your life and there are many excellent supplements out there that may help you. Chat with your local health store and ask them to recommend the best supplements for you. Sugar also causes your blood glucose levels to rise sharply and then to crash which will leave you feeling drained and tired.  Sugar certainly has negative effects on your overall wellbeing and impacts your life significantly.

Moving into Menopause

You may find that as you move into the menopause that hot flushes are making themselves known, generally at the most inconvenient times and it is no fun having a hot flush mid conversation at work or otherwise.  There are certain food groups that trigger or worsen hot flushes and now is the time to remove these from your diet as they are over stimulating:

Coffee

Spicy foods

Alcohol

alcohol

Don’t forget your bones! Eating good sources of protein that contains tryptophan is important.  Include cottage cheese, turkey, legumes and oats. Tryptophan helps to make serotonin which is very helpful in controlling moods, appetite and sleep.

Healthy Food Groups

There are some food groups that are excellent for you at this time in your life, one of them being oats.  Oats is good news for cholesterol and the heart as it contains beta-glucans that helps reduce the unwanted form of cholesterol.  Having oats in the diet also protects against the build of plaque on artery walls.  Are you ready to start eating your porridge now?

EVIDENCE

It has been concluded by researchers that eating just 3g of oats every day helps to reduce cholesterol by 5 to 10% and the risk of heart disease lowers.  Great news for midlife.

OILY FISH

healthy food fish oils

Full of Omega 3 fats and great in helping to lower blood pressure, heart rate and reducing the risk of irregular heartbeats.  Choose wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring.  Be careful in your method of cooking as omega 3 fats are sensitive to high temperatures, so steam lightly or cook on a low temperature.

We have just scratched the surface of eating healthy food in your 40s and beyond.  If you want to learn more then why not visit the Flourish Beyond 40 Guidance and Support page and shop where you are able to browse various ways of helping yourself back to health, and the options of joining the Flourish Beyond 40 Programme and Facebook community.

You may also like to read about weight and exercise in midlife and beyond and managing stress.

 

 

 

 

 

Bereavement and Dealing With Loss

“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself” – Robin Williams

The one thing in life that we are all guaranteed to experience is loss and bereavement. Many people associate loss with death; however loss can be defined as anything that is no longer in your life that causes you significant emotional discomfort and pain.  Therefore loss can be related to:

  • Loss of health
  • Loss of youth (the aging process)
  • Partner/friends/family
  • Loss of job or lifestyle
  • Loss of security
  • Loss of confidence or self esteem
  • Loss of pets
  • Loss independence
  • Loss of choices
  • Loss of a future you had planned
  • Loss of purpose in life
  • Finances

And I am sure you would be able to add to this list.

Dealing with loss

We are Taught to Acquire, but not How to Cope with Loss and Bereavement

It is interesting that at School we are taught to “get”; get a good education, get a good job, get a partner, get a nice house, car, children, clothes and so the list continues.  As a society we are taught many things, but one thing is absent from the school curriculum: how do we deal with loss when it arrives in our life?  What do you do with the overwhelming feelings of sadness, bereavement, and the ensuing emotional rollercoaster of emotions?

According to the Grief Recovery Institute, 8 million people become new grievers each year. The divorce rate exceeds 45% not including those who are not married.  That is a lot of loss and bereavement.

People seek out Counsellors, to help which is good, but what if you knew how to manage the emotions of loss as it arrived in your life?  What if you had the tools that you needed to feel better?

We have all known loss and will continue to know loss on the journey of life.  Each individual processes their losses in a different and unique way.   There is a tendency to feel so uncomfortable with loss that it is pushed under the carpet and covered up with an “I am fine” attitude.  However this is not useful or helpful as those emotions will arise at some point in the future when you least expect it to happen.

bereavement feeling sad

So What Can You do When you Experience Loss in Your Life?

Well how long is a piece of string?  Here are some tips to help you deal with loss and also to help others:

Don’t say the following:

Don’t cry

Crying is good and allows you to release

 

Don’t feel bad    

How?

 

He she is in a better place  

Is this true? How do you know?

 

There are plenty more partners

But you wanted the one you lost

 

You have to be strong for….   

How? When you are in deep pain

 

Keep yourself busy    

Is the same as brushing it under the carpet.

 

People do not know how to deal with loss as they have not been taught how to deal with it either.  Quite often they do not know what to say, when to say it, or if they should say it at all, and they are afraid of our tears, emotions and feelings.  In some cases it may trigger their own.  You may find people are reluctant to hear about your loss and will change the subject or worse still they are not hearing what a griever has to say.

A person in loss needs to be heard.  You may wish to say “I am sorry, what happened?”  Then listen without interrupting, without offering your own comparisons, without offering advice.  Be a heart with ears and hear what they are saying.

You may wish to offer your help in other ways by offering to babysit, cook dinner, and let them know you are there for them; help them with housework and invite them to events.  Don’t push them away or isolate them from your life.

Other people may say to you, “I know how you feel” but they don’t.  Your loss is unique and personal to you, and the only person that really knows how you are feeling is you.

A person in grief and sadness is likely to experience the following:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Emotional rollercoaster
  • Eating habits may change to more or less
  • Disrupted sleep

Please seek out the help and support you need if you are dealing with loss. The Grief Recovery Programme is excellent.

If you have enjoyed this Blog and would like to know more, why not check out our Dealing with Loss Module to see how we can help and support you.

Have a wonderful day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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