Why is it that when midlife hits, we start to lose ourselves and fade into the background of our own lives? That vivacious and energy filled human we once were now struggles to face the day, and we feel the world pulling on us from every side.
We wake in the mornings with our mile long to-do list already yelling at us. Life gets loud, and everything is calling for our time and attention.
And so we succumb to the voices, and we turn on the auto-pilot. That’s the only way to make it through, right? Our careers demand every ounce of our energy during the day, and the nights and weekends are full of carpooling, weeknight dinners, doctor appointments for everyone but ourselves, paperwork for umpteen different events, and before we even realize it, the days have turned into years and we as women have lost our identity, our spark, and our health.
Somewhere throughout the years we let our own bodies and souls slip to the end of the to-do list, and we all know that the end of that wretched list never gets reached. It just grows and stretches and disappears into the abyss.
What if we were to just make a few adjustments? What would life look like if we were to move ourselves to the top of that list? Is it possible that we would feel like different people, like we had control of our lives instead of life controlling us?
(Don’t) Stop Believing in Yourself
One of the first things to change when we start putting ourselves at the bottom of the list is our own hopes and dreams start to grow faint, until they disappear completely. And after we lose sight of them for too long, we stop believing that we’re even capable of such things. We let go of ourselves, and instead we start believing that we are too old, or too overweight, or too busy.
We believe in other people all day long, but we give up on ourselves.
That needs to change. Belief that you can do anything is the beginning of a new life. Adopting the mindset that you are capable of losing the weight, or starting the business, or running the marathon is the beginning of it actually happening.
And once you do that first thing, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction you’ll feel will give you the fuel to do the next thing.
And the next thing.
And the next thing.
Belief in yourself is powerful.
(Don’t) Stop Exercising
How many times do we say we’re going to start Monday? And then Monday comes and the day is too full of taking care of other people and other obligations. Our goal to start gets pushed back another week.
But what if you did start? What if Monday came, and you gifted your body with 15 minutes of movement? And then the next day you gifted your body 20 minutes? What would you feel like in 2 months?
You’d find a whole new you and I bet you’d be proud of her.
If you’re already in a good exercise routine, DON’T STOP. No matter how busy your days are, make it a top priority. Speaking from experience, it is absolutely not worth it to stop and then have to start over, because getting back into the routine of working out is much, much harder than it seems like it’s going to be.
(Don’t) Stop Drinking Enough Water
Water isn’t called the fountain of youth for nothing. The benefits you get from drinking enough water is massive, and worth the effort it takes to get enough into your body.
I never thought much about cognitive function in my 20’s, but as I’ve reached middle age and the brain fog has become overbearing at times, I’ve found myself looking for ways to improve my brain health. Water is a big part of that.
It also helps with your physical performance, your energy levels, joint inflammation, headaches, kidney stones, promotes clear skin, and a host of other things.
(Don’t) Stop Getting Enough Sleep
It’s so tempting to stay up after the household has drifted off into slumber to get the last few things finished for the day. It’s quiet, and you have no distractions. But it’s also easy for the hours to slip away while you’re busy tidying up the house for the night, and you look at the clock to see that you need to be back up for the day in 6 hours.
Think about the balance in that scenario: your body has been running strong for 18 hours, and all you’re going to give it to recover is 6? Seems a little lopsided, doesn’t it?
Instead, what about treating your body with kindness and allowing it the adequate amount of recovery through sleep that it needs? Your body gives tirelessly all day and by the end of the day it is begging to have sufficient time to recharge.
We do a better job of making sure our phones get charged adequately than we do our bodies, and yet we can’t replace our bodies every year like we can our phones.
Try increasing your sleep, and I think you’ll find that your recovery, your focus, your mood, and overall health improves dramatically.
(Don’t) Stop Eating Healthy
Nutrition takes up 80% of the healthy lifestyle balance leaving exercise with 20%. That means that it is 4 times more important than exercise. For some of us, the gym is the easy part. Nutrition…not so much. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard, but it’s no lie that convenience foods often aren’t healthy and living in a world where everything is about convenience can make eating healthy look like just another task to do.
The thing is, though, if we take the time and effort to feed our bodies the nutrients that they need, then our bodies will respond and repay us tenfold.
Inflammation will start to decrease.
Weight will start to disappear.
Our brains will start to function properly.
And we’ll soon find that our energy levels are rising.
Proper nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Focusing on whole foods as opposed to processed ones is a good start, and build your meals around lean protein. Adequate amounts of protein in each meal will keep you satisfied longer and will keep your blood sugar levels more even throughout the day.
Be kind to yourself by feeding your body nutritious foods.
Be kind to yourself by believing in yourself, and by treating yourself with love.
And be kind to yourself by gifting your body with adequate amounts of movement, water, and sleep.
You are worth it. I promise.