Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mid-life transition hits men too

I've been so focused on writing for women, that I've missed something crucial about the mid-life transition. Men feel it too! Some men get so stressed that researchers have given it a name, IMS, Irritable Male syndrome.  No, it's for real, I found this on a website at

According to Men's Health Magazine up to 30% of men experience it: some of the symptoms are
hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Your mid-life man may be tired, and tired of being tired, not feeling understood, not as prone to be sexually as active as he was and tending to feel depressed about his life and accomplishments. According to some doctors mentioned on this site, lower testosterone levels are at the root of it. It's male menopause, or Andropause.

What's different from women is that men deny anything is wrong and don't talk to anyone about it because they are supposed to be the strong ones, holding the fort together, never showing emotional weakness, plus they often have difficulty talking about their feelings, especially around their sexuality.

If you are a woman in mid-life, you are most likely married to a man in mid-life and you may recognize some of the symptoms. It's probably easier to refer your favourite sufferer of IMS to a website, so have him check out the site linked above on the mid-life transition. Especially if you think he may be depressed, and have trouble reaching out for help. Dr William Pollack from Harvard is quoted as saying mid-life crisis is a code word for male depression, and it can be treated.

In any case, the word transition says it all - this is usually a temporary state - and if one does a little bit of soul searching and reflection, one comes through the other side with a deeper understanding of the human experience.

ps men's self-medication favourites as listed on this site: alcohol, TV, sports, and sex.
women's self-medication: food, friends and 'love'. Interesting differences....


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Manifesto on Self-Care

For the second time in two days, I’ve read that self-help books are full of clichés like: learn to slow down, take care of yourself, eat healthy good food, get regular sleep, journaling (this from a book review on a book for young women to help them get beyond high heels and shopping). Hello! When did rigorous discipline and self-love become cliché? That makes it sound so easy, like anyone can do it with their eyes closed.

Actually, it’s one of the hardest things in the world to accomplish, until you decide it’s a priority  – to get the right dose of balance in your overly busy life, to make sure the things you spend the most time on are the things that really matter, to carve out some down time to take care of your bruised soul in this wearying roller coaster existence of 24-7 productivity and busyness.  The goal being to not just survive but thrive. To have a happy healthy whole attitude towards life – every day I commit to taking better care of my inner Self in a world that honours only the success of my outer Self, i.e. the number of techno gadgets I am attached to, the number of fabulous exotic trips I take a year, the shape and colour of my wardrobe, the size of my a commitment not to something cliché but rather to being a more real human being.

So forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but I need to be reminded continuously that self-care is not selfish. I need to be reminded that focusing on what feeds me, and surrounding myself with like-minded folks who encourage that quest for balance in me, is where I start to feel human. The overstressed, yelling-all-the-time person who constantly criticizes herself (and others) for being too lazy, too self-indulgent and too slow is so yesterday. I do not want to live under the shadow of my inner critic, whose bark and bite are sneakily nasty. I have over identified with that little voice for far too long. I finally feel I deserve some self-love, just like I deserve a soothing massage when I am too wound up, and alone time to write in my journal and better understand myself.   I now know that when I am kind to myself it helps me be kind to others, and the world is a much better place when we are feeling kind. Yes, I am flawed, I'm not there all the time, but it is a fabulous goal to work on.

If that is cliché, well it’s one that hasn’t been used enough by the world in general to become cliché really (at least, not overused yet). When kindness, compassion and love are the norm, maybe then we can say it’s a cliché.

So take that, Book Reviewers of the world. The Tao of Turning Fifty is coming out in a few days, the end of January I hope, once I approve the final proof. And it will be full of clues, tools, and tips for self-care. Touché, cliché.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shit Menopausal Women Say

Alright, I saw the youtube videos, shit girls say, and boy, they repeat themselves alot. I think menopausal women should have more to say than the following samples, so I'm inviting you to come up with some good ones.

Hey, is it hot in here? or is it just me?
Can you open that door/window?
Where are my glasses?
What did I come in here for?
Where are my keys?
Did I lock the door? no, I think I ... oh yeah, it's locked.
Senior moment!
Oh that is so sixties! seventies....
I am so turning into my mother....
look at that wobbly bit under my chin....
does my butt look big in this?
look at the size of my thighs....Venus of Willendorf had these thighs!
Turn down that thermostat!
Ok, like, fifty is the new 30.
I'll have a double chai latte with low fat soy, grande.
What was I just saying?

OK, these are the obvious ones - can you find something more original?

ps Hey, we should make a video, if we only knew how to work that computer...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Musemother Newsletter for January

Did you know you can subscribe to a free monthly newsletter from Musemother?

This month's theme is Self-Compassion. Here's a brief excerpt:

"There are many things I could consider working on in the new year, that is if I believed in making resolutions. But the best advice I`ve received lately suggested putting off New Year`s until February 1st because most of us are still overextended and over-tired from the holiday marathon of parties, gifts, hostessing and traveling.

However, if I did make a list, self-compassion might be at the top of it. Partly because, the first thing my mind started doing on my first day back from holidays was start in on me about how the house is a mess, start putting decorations away, take down the tree, etc. I have a really hard time giving myself permission to rest and enjoy some creative loafing time. For a writer, that`s a really big challenge -  to take time off from house stuff to do the creative stuff.

So I picked up a small book I got in my Christmas stocking, How to be Compassionate, by the Dalai Lama. ..."

If you are interested in receiving monthly wisdom about self-care and the women's journey through mid-life, head over to my website, and click on Contact to sign up for this free newsletter.

By the way, I'm on Facebook as well, and although the blog doesn't automatically transfer over to my Notes page anymore, I often re-post or share a link so you can read it there.

Have a dreamy snowy day, and take good care of your heart,

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Ok, you've received them too, a slew of Happy New Year pictures and copies of articles on Resolutions or Non-resolutions...getting a wee bit tired of hearing how it's all going to change in this new year. First off, I just got back from five days away, so naturally, the first thing on my list is laundry.

Actually, the first thing on my list today was Clearing Space, and decluttering, which includes emptying suitcases and washing clothes, but more importantly, clearing the mental space I need to begin my day.

Lucky me, I got to sleep in, unlike J who had to leave for work at 7:00 a.m. But instead of waking up to a cranky day of dust and decay, I decided to dust off the soul space. Listening to a CD with Ram chant helped heal my scattered cells and bring center back into focus.  I knelt on the floor and placed the crown of my head on the rug at the end of my yoga stretches, surrendered to peace. Ah, breath fills my lungs and muscles feel more serene, less antsy. Feel the well fill up again after busy dizzy streets of NY, colourful restaurants and French cooking, crazy fun in the city with our kids and friends. Back to ice on the lake, sun sparkling on frozen space out my window and sweet silence filling the air around my eardrums.

This is how my New Year begins.  Usher in the tranquility, release sadness, cranky moods and overwhelm.
Dust off the list of things to do and pick one or two things that really need my attention.

When the brain tires of firing up its 305 million circuits and synapses, it seeks its common denominator, the Anti-dote to stress and confusion, the One singular bell that rings a clear note.....ummmm, I like that. Re-balanced, I stand, two bare feet on the carpet, bent over, looking at my toes, soft chant on the stereo, a mother-lode of reverence.

Then up and on to the day: delete the 250 emails that accumulate while away, send in revisions for my book, delete delete the distractions that divide my attention.

Quiet the loud clanging of commerce and daily bickering over who has more than me - a bigger room, child, cow, wife, necklace, pot of gold, book sales, glass of wine, more facebook likes....

I am not going to plan for the future, at least not today. Today, I begin with rest and Decluttering.