Thursday, October 04, 2012

Stress and the Mid-Life Woman

I'm so glad I'm not the only one eating whole bags of potato chips! yes, according to Women's Health Mag editors, here's what women turn to when we're stressed or under duress:

- Nutella or peanut butter straight from the jar - (guilty as charged)
- a whole bag of Oreos
- a whole pint of HaggenDaz ice-cream
- a pound of Twizzlers
- sprinkles by the spoonful (nuh-uh)
- a dozen ready-bake cinnamon rolls (baked!)
- chocolate in any form
- booze
- a bag of potato chips

(from poll and survey done by

What are your favourite de-stressors?

Recently I posted a quote on my facebook page from Gail Sheehy The Silent Passage ( about how rest and restorative relaxation are so important for women at mid-life. When I was 45, mother to two pre-teens, and running like a chicken with my head cut off from volunteer work to doctor's appointments to after-school chauffering, stress seemed to be a constant. Being in peri-menopause had a lot to do with it - juggling all my time commitments seemed more challenging and my patience seemed to wear thin more easily. Yoga and meditation were helpful, but I needed to stop pushing myself so hard. After I broke my leg skiing, at age 47, I began to take regular naps and give myself permission to rest more. With a leg in a cast, I had no choice!

So here's the thing about stress: you can eat your stress, or you can do some deep breathing exercises, take up jogging, or lie down for a nap every day between 5:30 and 6:00. So what if supper is a little later one or two nights of the week? Can you cut down on some extracurricular activities or carpool? What will make your life seem a little less crazy? Can you ask your spouse to pick up the slack?

Until I broke my leg I was doing all the errands, appointments and meal preparing, figuring that since I was working from home, it was easier on my schedule. Asking for help was hard for me, having been programmed to do it all myself, and having a strong control freak in my nature. But it was a very wise move - and it helped my husband feel more included with the kids' activities. He'd take them skiing on Saturdays while I rested with my legs up the wall, and prepared a hot meal for them and a roaring fire (while sometimes; my fire-building skills took a while to perfect).

"It is of utmost importance for any woman over forty-five, faced with high-stress professional or personal demands, to commit herself to some restorative relaxation measure. It might be biofeedback, prayer, yoga, or routine meditation. ...The single most important aid to continued health through the menopausal transition is proper rest." Gail Sheehy

by the way, I recommend this Women's Health Ultimate Yoga Guide, found at the local pharmacy. Great easy yoga moves to tone your body, food to help slim down and chill out, and more.

No comments: