Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cycles and Fallow Times at Mid-Life

Have you noticed that even after your monthly cycle has stopped you still feel like you have a cycle?

You can't call it PMS anymore, but there are moody times, ups and downs, cranky irritable days and out of sorts days, as well as Happy Happy Happy as Pharell Williams days.

When I hit a cranky out of sorts day, I usually forget that what I really need is some down time - the other day, Easter Monday, my husband came home early from work. We were both overtired from three Easter brunches or suppers, too much of a good thing (wine, especially affects me). Just can't party like we used to!

So he went to play solitaire on the computer in the home office, and I escaped to my daughter's empty room (yes, we are empty nesters) to curl up in a red velvet chair and read a book. Then I lay down for half an hour before cooking supper. When I woke up, I felt much better.

Sometimes, it's a walk outdoors that revives me, like this morning, after Zumba class, a mixture of pilates, yoga and salsa dancing with weights, my dog needed to go outside, and since the weather is gorgeous, and sunny, after 24 hours of rain, I leapt at the chance to pull on my sneakers and walk.

I am not very active, physically, so all this exercise is new for me. My favourite is still yoga, but since my muscle mass is disappearing (at age 59), I have to keep up with it.

So exercise and sleep are two things that get me back on track when I'm cycling low. I know my estrogen is low because I have a touch of vaginal atrophy and am taking a supplement for that. And I've been treated for adrenal fatigue in the last year, so I know that feeling tired, although it affects me less and less, needs to be taken care of.

Can you learn your new post-menopausal cycle? Pay attention to your need for rest, good nutrition, and exercise - especially outdoors in this good weather. Your body, our women's bodies, may not bounce back as quickly as they used to, and may need more upkeep and maintenance - don't let your chassis fall apart. Get regular checkups and oil changes! Sunny days are here again.....

that's my spring advice for you post-menopausal babes!

Monday, April 07, 2014

10 Ways to Navigate Mid-life Smoothly

It's hard to live through any transition but Menopause is a real Trickster! Follow these tips to smooth out the rocky ride.

1.   Sleep when you’re tired and don’t feel guilty. Banish guilt. Take naps.

2.   Do one thing at a time and breathe:  Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time, so stop, take a few deep centering breaths and reconnect to the parasympathetic nervous system. Feel each out-breath grow longer than the in-breath. This brings you into deeper resonance with the rhythms of your body, slows your heart rate and allows your mind to unhook from anxiety or worry.

3.   Say NO more often; release perfectionism. Learn to say, I have enough, I do enough, I am enough. — Sark

4.   Get away – time alone is the #1 thing most mid-life women crave.

5.   Discover the power of doing nothing. Rest, hot baths, alone time, retreats, mini-retreats in your home – lower anxiety and regenerate energy.

6.   Listen to your inner Bitch Goddess – don’t stuff your anger, and don’t dump it on others. Write it in your journal. Rock your anger like a crying baby.

7.   Cultivate your own IGS (inner guidance system) by listening to your body’s needs for healthy food, rest, exercise, connection with others. Be Present.

8.   Mothering Ourselves: stop stretching yourself too thin. MAKE A LIST of things you can do for yourself. If you want to feel cherished and appreciated, start by cherishing and appreciating yourself. Speak up and ask for what you need. For example, write yourself a prescription for rest if you are tired.

9.   Fifty is Feisty. Change your mindset. Find the 10 best things about menopause. Celebrate being 50+. These are the best years!

10.                 Creativity: find what you love and do it. Use Journaling or SoulCollage® to discover where you are now, what your heart desires, get into Flow. Take some down time to rediscover what makes your heart sing. Do something just for the fun of it. Your joy is waiting for you!

first published on MindBodyGreen under 10 Ways to Celebrate Aging at

Jennifer Boire, MA,, author of The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know, Follow Musemother on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

"None of us needs instruction in how to recognize what our heart is saying. We do need guidance, however, on how to have the courage to follow those feelings, since they will force us to change our lives in any case. But consider the consequences of not listening to the heart's guidance: depression, confusion, and the wretched feeling that we are not on our life's true path, but viewing it from a distance." — Caroline Myss 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Busy Mothers at Mid-Life

How are you? 

Busy! is the proud reply.

How we love to brag about how tired we are, how full our calendars are, how overfull our lives are.

But it's killing us, too.

Thomas Merton calls it a form of violence:

 "The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."

And women seem particularly prone to this over-doing, over-giving. It's as if all our lives we've been praised for being busy, for you know what your mother said, idle hands are the devil's workshop. That's an old adage, but this drive for constant productivity has at its root a fear of laziness, a fear of the dreamer, the impractical one described in Aesops' fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper. The hard-working ant stored food away for winter, and worked hard to provide for the hard times, while the lazy grasshopper fiddled and played and sang, and starved once the cold weather arrived.

We have taken that message so much to heart in our busy culture that we can't allow ourselves to rest! Busy bees, busy ants, constantly moving, doing, connecting and creating. Except that at mid-life, the battery starts to run down. The wear and tear shows not only on the joints, but on the soul. We need a little more R&R, or the sabbatical day of the week to be brought back. Add to that, a tech-free zone where no one can reach us.

In her book, Overwhelmed, author Brigid Schulte makes the case that mothers have the least leisure time at all. In an interview in the Globe and Mail yesterday, she says we do it because it makes us look like 'a good woman" - look how busy I am. I'm putting myself last. 

She remarks that even our leisure time is spent driving kids to soccer games or carpooling. True leisure time is when you have time for yourself, to refresh, connect with your inner longings and desires, or simply sit and read a book, time you have a choice in what you do.  (read the article 

So what can we do? downgrade our expectations of how much we can get done in one day. Strike 2-4 items off the endless to-do list, and be satisfied. Learn to say, I am enough, I do enough, I am enough!

Push back against the constant pressure to be busy! allow your inner creativity to come out and daydream a little. Give yourself some down time to do what you love. Explore why you don't even know what you love to do anymore. Get off the Guilt Train. That old feeling that it's never enough, never good enough, and pat yourself on the back a little more often.

Mothers at mid-life have many stressors and lots of 'things' to do. But they need a day off too! Give yourself that, at the very least. Let the laundry sit in the basket one more day, and get outside for a walk, listen to the birds. 

I'm headed out there now, while the sun is shining!