Hitting forty is usually a milestone in our lives, I certainly know it was for me, even more so than hitting fifty. I found myself looking at life slightly differently and starting to put affairs in order like wills, lasting power of attorneys and even a living will. It was almost as if I had just started to take stock and look at my life like a serious grown up.
I am thankful that I have always enjoyed the rudest of health but it is about the age of forty or forty something that we really begin to see some of the signs of our aging bodies, and for women starting to experience the first signs of menopause this can be a rude awakening of time just ticking away.
It is a time when we begin to feel more pressure and stress in our lives. Not necessarily because we are experiencing more stress in what we do but more as a consequence of not being able to cope or juggle to the same degree that we seemed to do just a few years ago. It is certainly a decade when we feel that the quality of our life appears to start diminishing.
Often we may start to change many of our habits such as the type of food we eat, the type of exercise that we do, where we live, work and commute. We can find it much harder to lose weight and it can be depressing to see middle age spread, grey hairs and ageing features. Almost as a consequence or perhaps a rebellion we instinctively start to turn our lives upside down and start to simplify and streamline living.
Sleep starts to become more important especially since menopause brings its own challenges in this department. There is no doubt that sleep or lack of it has a direct correlation to our moods and our mental health. It is very important to have some time to yourself, have some space that you can call your own and more importantly time that you can switch off entirely and do absolutely nothing other than breathe and relax.
Animals can be great levellers. You may find a dog or a horse will literally breathe new life into our existence and help you to enjoy the ‘green gym’ known as the outdoors. This is especially important if you spend most of your time in an office. Animals are great as companions, relaxation artists and therapists of the best type. Getting out and about improves mental health and physical wellbeing.
If you smoke it’s a good time to make a concerted effort to give up for good. Research shows that those who quit smoking before they turn 44 can live almost as long as people who have never smoked.
New things, new people, new hobbies indeed anything new will start to lay down new memories. We may feel that time has been flying by and we are existing rather than living, so starting something new, socialising differently and in different settings will help to kick start our brain and engagement in life again. It may seem like small steps but it is amazing how small steps make a difference.