Getting older is sometimes scary. You watch your kids get older and you realize how fast time has flown by. Things change quickly. Once you were changing diapers, teaching your kids how to ride a bike, and demanding they brush their teeth, but now they are older and don’t need you as much. You have to think more about what life will be like in the next 30 years. For me, it produces a lot of anxiety.
Recently, I realized that my health had taken a back seat to my family. I put all my energy and heart into taking care of them, but ignored my own mental, physical, and emotional health. I gained a lot of weight, had raging periods, and ate terribly. Exercise didn’t happen much and escapism became the norm.
About a month ago, I decided that I just didn’t feel good. At age 40, I shouldn’t be feeling this way. So I decided to join a sugar free challenge, got myself checked out at my doctor, and started walking again. I eventually learned that I needed to cut out dairy too because every time I ate it, I became sick. This has helped me focus on proper nutrition for my body and has taught me to learn to listen to what helps fuel my body and what doesn’t.
Getting older doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It can be a time where we start honing in on what’s important. One thing I realized through this is that I have to do things I enjoy and listen to what works whether that’s food, exercise, or where my emotional energy is spent. All of these things can tax our systems and weigh us down unnecessarily.
With that said, here are some things I’m prioritizing in my daily life.
- Eating nutritiously to support my hormones and emotional health. While I have cut out sugar and dairy, I know that sometimes it’s ok to eat sugar and even dairy if it doesn’t make me sick. I have to listen to my body. If I want to consume some chocolate or eat some carbs, it’s really ok. The thing I’ve found is that I’ll think I want to eat some sugar or consume a cup of coffee so I’ll eat or drink it, but then quickly realize how it makes me feel. I realize it’s not worth it. So that small amount of sugar or caffeine reminds me why I am choosing to eat better foods. With my hormones, it’s important to eat more proteins so I focus on getting enough
protein throughout my day and eating varying foods, not just eggs or spinach leaves. A good eating plan allows a lot of variety and is great for bringing your body back into balance.
- Only using exercises that promotes my energy levels. I will not kill myself doing cardio no matter what any gym, personal trainer, or gimmick says. I know with hormones, you have to really listen to what is giving you energy and what is depleting it. If you are eating a good diet and eliminating sugars and foods that are ruining your health, chances are the pounds will come off without killing yourself on the weight machine. I am choosing to incorporate exercise like walking and strength training, but being careful to take a lot of rest days and also listening to my body if it’s overwhelmed by an exercise.
- Dealing with Stress in a Healthy Way. Although I can’t get rid of stress completely, I can learn better ways to cope with stress. Taking breaks, going for a walk, listening to music, using essential oils, doing things I enjoy are ways I can cope with my stress. I can tell when my stress levels are over the top. It usually consists of me getting angry at everything, yelling, and not being able to handle even the smallest bits of conflict. I know when this happens, I need to either take a nap or take a break.
- Talk Therapy. I know therapy sometimes gets a bad rap, and if you end up with a horrible counselor, it can be a horrible experience. But, if you find the right fit, it does wonders for helping you deal with stress, anxiety, or depression and putting your life back on track. Sometimes I don’t feel like going, but then I do and realize how helpful it really is to have someone else to bounce your craziness off of and who will help you walk through it.
- Connecting with my spouse. Nothing can strain a marriage more than distance and stressful conflict. So in an effort to maintain balance, I have to make choices to connect with my husband. He’s not much of a talker so I usually have to let him know that the distance is bugging me and making me feel a little coo coo. He can’t read my mind so if I am upfront and honest, he tends to respond better than when I pull one of my subtle guilt trips or passive aggressive discussions. The important thing is to find some way to connect about your emotions, but also to connect through other ways by doing fun things or getting away for the weekend without the kids. Can’t say I’m a pro at this yet, but it’s the goal anyway.
These are a few ways I’m working towards getting healthy. Over the past month I’ve been able to bring some balance back to my life. It’s still not where I want it to be. I am focusing on losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet and fitness plan, and also working with a therapist on issues that arise. I also have made a few appointments with a physician to get other health problems checked out, which gives me peace of mind. If you find you are still struggling with health issues, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor and see if there are other issues going on besides just emotionally.
For me, it’s important to balance being a good mom and wife with taking care of myself, so that’s my goal as I get older.