By Lynda Wallas

12 Days of Christmas – Inspiration



This is an extract from The ME in Menopause Facebook page Christmas posts for 2016/17.  Days 1 to 4…. you can read all posts, as they occur, right through to Jan 5th, here….
https://www.facebook.com/themeinmenopause/

So the real 12 days of Christmas start on Dec 25th and go through to January 5th. They aren’t about 12 days of specials, as the big stores would have us believe, nor even about receiving lots of presents from our ‘true love’ as the song would have us believe.
Or maybe they can be anything you want (and need) them to be!!

Well, here’s hoping… because The Me in Menopause is doing 12 days of mid-life inspiration, celebration, motivation, retrospection and resolutions…. along with some glorious FOOD (of course!). So stay tuned if you want to shake things up a bit for the new year, spark a new and more FABULOUS YOU in 2017, or are looking for a catalyst to fire you up and into the best mid-life you’ve had so far!

At this time of year it’s all about endings and beginnings, second chances and/or a chance to take stock and contemplate your next move…. whether you’re on track or off it, meandering along nicely or full of frustration for the path you’ve found yourself treading, Christmas – with its magical-ness – can be the incitement to brand new or revamped attitudes, decisions, lifestyles and goals.

DAY 1:
JOY (with a sprinkling of counting your blessings)

How do you find joy in mid-life, and in every day, regardless of where you are at, how you are feeling, and what you might be up against?
I believe that joy tends to come when you simplify; get back to basics or do the simplest (yet nicest) things. Joy comes not at times of abundance so much but at times of gratitude for just having enough, or for just being alive and having a new day in which to manifest joy.
And you do have to manifest it…. joyful people have made a conscious decision to be joyful.

Mid-life is full of challenges and adjustments, so even if you’ve always been a happy and optimistic person, you may find you are struggling with the changes occurring. They come at you from all fronts; changing energy, changing health, a changing body, a change in how you are perceived, a change in home life if children are moving out, a change in your relationship perhaps…. Or maybe it’s time to implement change (what I call ‘mid-life collide’, where things just catch-up with you, especially any decisions you have been putting off, or anything you’ve been doing that doesn’t make you happy, or burdens you’ve been carrying around that prevent you from being free to enjoy life fully).

Joy is so often not about acquisition or achievement, especially as those things are a moment in time and you want joy to be a way of life, not a special occasion.
It’s about letting go…. letting go of the expectations of others, of comparing yourself to others, of holding so tightly to how you think things should be. Letting go of thinking about the past and worrying about the future. Letting go of self-doubt and self-criticism. Letting go of trying to do it all and be all things to all people. Letting go of the negatives….. and wallowing in the positives! Letting go enough to embrace the challenges, while celebrating the small wins. Letting go of the people, the attitudes and the daily rituals that do not serve you on your joyful path through mid-life and beyond.

Joy starts with the simple stuff. Master the basics and you will find that joy is exponential…
Check out this list of ways to invite more joy into your life.

  • Get out in nature
  • Hang out with your pet
  • Play like a child (and/or with a child)
  • Bake a cake
  • Buy some flowers
  • Have a special dinner by candle light
  • Watch your favourite movie (again)
  • Make a healthy meal and enjoy every mouthful
  • Take a trip somewhere new (or plan a road trip for the future)
  • Have a ME pamper day
  • Take an afternoon nap
  • Cuddle on the couch with your partner
  • Do something creative
  • Take a beach walk, barefoot
  • Get some exercise
  • Turn on the music
  • Get romantic!
  • Read a great book
  • Sing out loud and/or dance like no one’s watching
  • Achieve something you thought you could not do
  • Volunteer to help others (or reach out to friends or family in need)
  • Meditate (and/or create a blessings/gratitude mantra to use every day)
  • Get things into perspective (stand back and assess)
  • Take a day just as it comes, no plans or commitments
  • Get up early, greet the morning
  • Talk to someone if you need some help to getting on track with what you want and where you want to be

Don’t put it off. Get started today…. you will find much joy in having begun to take some steps.

So how do really happy and content people think and act? Beyond the simple daily actions, where do they focus to stay in the joyful zone?
Check out the following posts by Lifehack.org
These quick reads (and timely too) will make you think….. a prod in the right direction, as well as proof that it really isn’t so far out of reach. Remember ‘All that you seek is already within you.’

10 things happy people do differently post here:
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-happy-people-differently.html

8 daily habits of the happiest people in the world post here:
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/8-daily-habits-the-happiest-people-the-world.html

5 simple actions that make a more fulfilling life post here:
http://www.lifehack.org/410859/5-simple-actions-that-make-a-more-fulfilling-life

EnJOY your Christmas Day one and all.
And thank you for your support throughout the year.

Day 2:
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure

Oprah Winfrey said ‘the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.’
It’s that old thing of ‘like attracting like’. And ‘you are what you think.’
Kind of the manifesting we were talking about on Day 1…..

Life doesn’t go according to plan. In fact maybe it’s best not to plan it too much(?)
Now that’s got me thinking. I’ve got 2 sessions with a life coach in January to try to make sense of (and develop a plan for) where I am going in my life…. more about that later.
When we are inside our own minds and locked in our own set of circumstances, we can forget that everyone has their trials and tribulations. That no one is completely satisfied, or completely happy, or completely comfortable in their own skin. It’s all relative i.e. we all have our own reality.

Over the last 12 years I’ve been challenged by unsuccessful fertility treatment (and marriage), chronic fatigue syndrome, and early on-set menopause (that just doesn’t seem to end!) I’ve gone from good health to health being a constant, daily obstacle. With CFS, I am restricted by what I can do, and if I overdo it (even if I’m feeling good enough to overdo it) then I generally pay the price.
I have no desire to dwell on it but it is always in my face, it won’t be ignored….. in fact it is not sensible to pretend it’s not there (I tried that for a while). I don’t want to let it impact my lifestyle but hey, an energy crisis, sleep issues, memory loss, and an aching body are hard to ignore, and do strong-arm all else in my life whether I like it or not. I feel like I can never just leap. I always have to look first…. and by that I mean I always have to weigh things up, should I do this, what if I get exhausted again, can I add this into my life or will it upset the precarious balance. It can feel like it’s always survival mode; something I don’t want to be stuck in because it sucks the life out of you and robs you of months and years. Survival mode is treading water.

I won’t pretend that I have totally managed to turn this adversity into an exciting adventure, there are days when I feel like giving up….. but I did decide that I would not just tread water and ‘survive’ my life. ‘The Me in Menopause’ is part of the adventure for me, making something of it, sharing with other women, bringing together the health, well-being and change aspects of mid-life that I’ve come to know pretty well, along with my love of food/cooking and healthy choices.
It’s been a huge learning curve but one that I enjoy doing very much. For me, this is a part of turning the ordeal into an adventure…. and the adventure continues, this year with writing my first e-book, next year, who knows!

What adventure are you on in mid-life?
Or has it been feeling more like an ordeal?
What are your options? What would you do to move it towards something more rewarding and exciting, perhaps towards something you have always wanted to do/try/be/have/go to….?

How could you take Oprah’s words and make them ring true for you?

Day 3:
Well-being (the power of being kind to yourself)

Do you take care of you?
The Danes do, apparently, and they have a word for it – hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).
It’s the ‘soft self’ stuff, the pampering, the little aspects to every day that make you feel good, that keep you on track for treating yourself with respect and having a healthy outlook.

You know the feeling you get when you turn the television off for the evening, turn on the meditation music and give yourself a foot bath….. or put on your comfy pj’s, make a herbal tea and sip it out of a beautiful china teacup….

Hygge translates to cosy… and conveys the inner happiness and balance that comes from doing the simple joys and kindnesses for yourself. Whatever they may be for you.
Remember from Day 2, ‘like attracts like’…. so if YOU are kind to YOU, so too the rest of the world, right!

I just made my bed up with new, fresh linen in soft greys and blues, piled high with cushions and fluffy throws. Over the Christmas holidays I will have many a hygge moment, snuggled up with a book, typing a blog post, or having an afternoon snooze.

Today I’ve sat outside under the umbrella, ate a glorious salad and sipped a glass of wine while my dog Tess chewed on her birthday bone at my feet…. hygge, it’s a warm glow, being in the now, and a feeling of contentment.

What’s your hygge moment?

Here’s some keywords: open fire, candlelight, brewing coffee, incense sticks, good book, favourite music, afternoon nap, massage, face mask, manicure, flowers, beach walk, fruit infused water, herbal teas, favourite colours, soft furnishings, table setting, cosy sleepwear, warm socks, friends, dinner party, laughter, cake, café, cushions, pets, sea breeze, shady tree, hammock, cosy woollen sweaters, cookies just out of the oven, hot chocolate, picnic, singing in the shower.

Be kind to you 🙂

Day 4:
Beauty – it’s different but it’s still beauty!

I often have to tell myself to stop comparing my figure to 20-something girls. There was a time when comparison with other girls in their 20s was right, obviously because I was that age myself, but now it makes no sense… and yet it is easy to keep doing it. Meaning that, in my early 50s, the comparison brings nothing but recrimination, sadness and self-loathing if not careful. It’s funny the way our age doesn’t always register; how we still see beauty in a certain way, as it is at a certain age – tight, toned, supple and smooth!

But there are other types of beauty too. Not just young beauty or Hollywood beauty. There are normal women leading normal lives, in their 50s and 60s, who shine with a confidence in who they are and a comfortableness in their own skin. Who take care of themselves, within reason, and leave the rest to a healthy attitude and a zest for life. There is beauty in years, in wisdom, in not taking life too seriously, and in NOT comparing yourself to others (of ANY age). There is beauty in being stylish, enjoying clothes and make-up, using them to your best advantage. In keeping up an exercise routine for bone health, muscle tone, and weight management.

Because we are no longer slaves to the current craze and no longer subscribe to more is best, we can look a whole lot better than we used to (or is it just those old photos from the 80s and 90s!)
I think that an aging face makes women consider how to enhance more cleverly, and with a lighter touch. We settle into a more natural us (even if a more natural us actually means more attention to detail and longer in the bathroom!)

Doing what you can to retain a youthful appearance goes hand-in-hand with feeling good about yourself… but everyone must judge for themselves their definition of ‘doing what they can.’
Whether you do or don’t Botox, laser, brow-lift, or re-position your fat (ooouch to all and serious fear factor from my perspective!), there are some easy maintenance and preventative measures you can take, many of which are not costly or demanding (or scary).

So what are the basic skin principles for saving face as we move into our 50s?

1. Moisture – we lose it, and elasticity! Make-up will sit on dry skin, including in the creases, making skin look even more lack lustre. While a heavy duty, anti-wrinkle moisturiser is necessary, a light weight serum becomes your everyday new best friend. Water based, means they aren’t oily, and they are also enriched with vitamins and minerals. They will happily sit below your foundation and help to achieve the dewy look you are after.

2. Matt – glitter no more! Foundation, eye shadow, blusher and bronzer all need to be matt. Shiny colours amplify creases and folds in the skin. Go matt, sheer, and choose more natural colours.

3. Sunscreen – imperative for sun damage prevention (if only we had known earlier), choose a non-oily cream that you are happy to apply every day, and that again won’t interfere with your makeup. It must be UVA and UVB spectrum defence, as well as SPF50+.

4. Primer/concealer – a primer with multiple uses is a great idea…. it evens out the skin tone prior to makeup application, conceals any pigmentation and red spots, and assists the makeup to stick and stay put all day.

5. Vitamin A and C – this combo is a must as we age, and you will most certainly notice an improvement in the smoothness and hydration of your skin once you start using them. Vitamin A (or Retinol) is great for wrinkles because it increases collagen and helps to retain water. Vitamin C is the anti-aging superstar, revitalising the skin’s surface and tone.
Go for good quality products (google to find the best of the best, then decide what you are prepared to spend). Apply vitamin C in the morning and vitamin A at night for best renewal results.

Here’s 5 more great anti-aging choices:

1.  Organic Coconut Oil (lather it everywhere!)
2.  Organic Rose Hip Oil (a little anti-aging miracle worker)
3.  Silk pillowcase (prevents wrinkles while you sleep)
4.  Bone broth or a collagen supplement (for firm skin, strong bones, muscles and cartilage) – see The Me in Menopause blog post ‘The benefits of bone broth and Gelatin’ for more details
5.  Attitude!  (it’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old)

We truly do grow more beautiful every day. We age like a fine wine (ok, yep, potentially with more ‘body’ lol) but also with depth, layers, refinement and character.
Beauty moves away from the conventional. It’s equally internal and external. Experience and lessons learned take on a beauty of their own. Celebrate it!

“Your face is marked with lines of life, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It’s beautiful.” ― Lynsay Sands

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ― Audrey Hepburn

**HOT TIP – READ THIS AWESOME BOOK!
Do you want to know what natural options are available to you for maintaining a youthful complexion and looking as good as you possibly can without going under the scalpel?

Then I thoroughly recommend reading ‘The New Natural – your ultimate guide to scalpel-free age reversal’ by Neil Sadick (MD). It’s a brilliant book that discusses what can be done to reverse the aging process, through use of the right products and also by taking it up a notch with targeted treatments such as Thermage, lasers, radiofrequency , cell therapy and collagen-stimulating fillers.

Neil makes the point that the biggest signs of aging – sun damage, age spots, large pores, wrinkles, acne scars and redness – are not resolved by a facelift. And that the move is away from the frozen, try-hard look where women in their 50s hope to look 25 again, and more focused on natural, subtle freshen-ups that simply encourage our skin’s turn-over for optimal results. I didn’t know that Botox and fillers actually enhance the natural ability of our skin to renew and build collagen, while also preventing the extreme facial expression lines from developing. So, when used sparingly and sensibly, and from a younger age, they target prevention… rather than being a cure once wrinkles and sagging have occurred.

It’s a great book that covers prevent, maintain and reverse with honesty and awesome practical advice. If you are wondering what you may or may not be prepared to do, now or in the future, then read this first.
Knowledge is key… and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that there’s a number of products you can use consistently, and/or non-invasive treatments you can do bi-yearly, that will ease the onset of aging skin, giving you the confidence you deserve to feel age-appropriate beautiful 🙂


Lynda Wallas
Lynda Wallas
About me

I’ve always been interested in health and fitness…. which turned out to be a good thing when fertility treatment in my 30s took a toll on my health, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early onset menopause. More about Lynda...

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