For all you women out there trying to navigate your menopause and midlife season, I see you. I get you. I feel for you. Been there, done that. Not that I have it all “down;” I don’t! But I truly have been there, done that.
And to navigate my own midlife lifestyle, there are seven things I do every day that are really helpful.
Yup, every single day.
These are good things to do at any season of life. But when you become a member of the over-50 club (or over-40, or over-60 like I am), you come to realize that little things make a really BIG difference.
So today I’m sharing the basics of my midlife lifestyle.
Begin the Day With God
I wake up without an alarm clock, usually shortly after 5am. I make a cup of coffee and sit down in my favorite chair with my Bible. Most days I spend about an hour with God. Sometimes I read just a paragraph from Scripture, other times two or three chapters.
And then I’m quiet. There are always things going on in my head; this quiet time is when I bring it all to God not as a list of requests, but just talking with Him about them. Not infrequently I sense “lightbulb” idea during this time. And when my mind gets distracted I just quietly bring it back to His presence. Learning this discipline of being quiet has revolutionized my life with God and my life in general. On the rare days I can’t spend this time with Him I feel lost.
Get Physical Exercise
Exercise and I have a love-hate relationship with one another. I’m not one of those people who naturally enjoys running or working out. But I’ve discovered that a morning walk/jog does absolute wonders to both my mood and my mental clarity.
I’ve often told people that the first and most important place to spend their healthcare dollars is on a good pair of walking shoes. There’s nothing that does more for your physical and emotional health. I walk/jog 2-3 miles at least six days a week regardless of the weather. The benefits are too numerous to count.
Most of my food I get from the periphery of the store; fresh fruit and vegetables, or the frozen food department. I’m not a fanatic; perhaps 20% of my food is processed. My weight is healthy and I have no chronic illnesses; if I needed to lose weight or change my body in some way I could be even more clean.
Although I’m not a complete vegetarian I very rarely eat meat. Many weeks I have no meat at all. The only supplement I take is a phytonutrient (JuicePlus+). And I often enjoy a cup of green tea (thank you, antioxidants!).
Nourish My Mind
After coming out of my severe distress over 20 years ago I’ve learned that there’s little that make a greater difference in my wellbeing than caring for my mind. I journal frequently; it’s a wonderful way to keep self-aware, and prevent “stuff” from accumulating. It’s my go-to practice when I’m sensing something is “off.”
There are several podcasts I listen to weekly; that keeps my mind sharp and growing. I’m also privileged to produce a weekly podcast, and reading material (including scanning many books) in preparation for that keeps exposing me to new and good things. And in the evening I spend 30 minutes or more reading actual books, usually biography, leadership, or spiritual growth.
Turn Off Screens
If the TV has been on, it goes off at 9pm regardless of whether or not I’m feeling tired, or whether or not there’s something on that interests me. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last year I’ve been watching TV after 9pm. If I’ve been working on my laptop, I close it at 9pm. And no scrolling social media after that or watching videos either.
I live alone, so 9pm works as a hard stop for me. If I were married or had kids at home I would make no-screen hard stop times earlier in the evening to be able to interact without distraction. But in this season for me the point is to shut off the screen light from my brain, begin a bedtime routine, and prepare myself for true rest.
Go to Bed on Time
There’s little that impacts my morning performance more than going to bed on time the night before. As a young physician frequently taking call I learned to function with little sleep many nights. But that kind of functioning is rote and mechanical. Sleep is indispensable for me to be creative, truly present, and at my best.
About 95% of the time I’m in bed before 10pm. While I could easily enjoy reading, watching TV, or engaging with friends late into the night, I know my performance the next day depends on getting to bed on time. This holds for weekends as well.
Connect with People
Introverted by nature, I’ve learned through sometimes difficult experience how important it is to be connected. I have to exert intentional energy in connecting and staying connected. When I do so I almost always feel so lifted up and strengthened. I look for and nurture those relationships that help nourish me.
As a widow living alone I’m also cautious in how I approach relationships. There are several lady friends who I invite regularly to my home, and these are some of my most precious moments. And it’s a rare day that I’m not talking with someone personally who needs something I have to offer. Letting the good I’ve received flow through me to someone else fuels my sense of purpose.
Your Midlife Lifestyle
If you’re feeling less than your best, consider which one or more of these lifestyle elements you may need to incorporate yourself. This is not a matter of “should”; it’s a matter of doing things that help you be at your best physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I honestly can’t think of a time in my life when I felt more Fully Alive. Sure, I face challenges! But this kind of lifestyle makes an enormous difference.
By incorporating these into your lifestyle you too can experience midlife as the best season of your life!
If you’re a woman in midlife, I’m inviting you to our Navigating Midlife online course! This course provides an honest look at menopause, aging, and living more Fully Alive. We dive into these lifestyle matters more deeply, as well as a whole lot more! Check it out.
Your Turn: What lifestyle factors have you found that most impact your sense of wellbeing? Is there a lifestyle practice you believe you should incorporate more of? Leave a comment below.
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