Mental health can start to decline or worsen in our 40’s due to hormonal changes. Estrogen imbalances can lead to irritability, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Hormonal changes can also impact sleep quality and women can start to experience night sweats, insomnia or hot flushes.
The 40’s can be a time of reassessment and many women may find themselves dissatisfied during this life stage. Women are having children later in their lives so during their 40’s women may still have young children to care for. For others, their children may be older, but they find that they have more time on their hands which gives them more time to think about their goals and dreams and it could be a time of re-invention.
Women can be very self-forgetting so during this stage of life it is more important than ever to:
- Practice good self-care
- Connect with people who fill your tank
- Manage stress well
The way a woman feels about herself physically will have a huge influence on how she feels emotionally and mentally. Eating well, doing some form of physical activity, resting, and sleeping well are all important components of self-care. We can’t eat badly and not move our bodies and expect to feel vibrant and healthy. Today is always a good day to decide to do something different, so instead of beating yourself up, make a choice to change what you don’t like and take steps to put the changes in place.
Connect with others
We all have people that drain the life out of us and those are not the people we are talking about here. It’s important for all of us to connect regularly with people who fill our tanks so that we can continue to give of ourselves with a cheerful spirit. When our tanks are full, we have more capacity for our more challenging relationships. Covid-19 has severely restricted interaction with others, but as restrictions lift, make the effort to connect face to face with people. Since we were designed to be social beings, personal interaction is vital for mental wellbeing. Close social connections have a positive impact on how we see the world and can improve how we feel emotionally.
We can’t get away from stress, but we can manage how we respond to it. Meditation and quieting ourselves regularly can be very beneficial. Learning to say no and putting boundaries in place is also helpful, especially if we are spreading ourselves too thin, as is slowing down and living in the moment.
Prolonged stress impacts physical and emotional wellbeing and can result in symptoms such as:
- digestive problems
- increased blood pressure
- heart rhythm disturbances
- brain fog
- concentration and memory problems
- weigh gain or weight loss
Stress management looks different for everyone, but here are some ideas:
- Exercise – this can be in the form of dance, running, swimming or whatever is an enjoyable form of movement
- Going for a massage or beauty treatment
- Getting to bed early
- Meeting with a friend
If you are in an unhappy place and you can’t see your way out of it, do seek help! It comes in various forms and since all our body systems are connected, the best way to treat any problem is holistically. Starting with some lifestyle changes may be good a start.
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 21 October 2021 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am