Health and Wellbeing in your 40’s and beyond…

After a very lovely weekend away in Center Parcs, being surrounded by nature, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own health and wellbeing and how I can further improve my diet and life style and my daughter Lexi’s too.

Amongst all the activities with Lexi and chilling out with her and my Mum, I managed to get up early a couple of mornings and go for a walk through the forest.  I felt so good for these walks, very calm and revitalised, we are all aware of how healing nature is for the mind, body and soul.  It’s made me consider how I do more of this at home, I do spend time in my garden and taking Lexi to the park and for walks along the canal, but I want to walk more in woods and spend time truly breathing in the essence of nature.  I’m going to be incorporating more outdoor activities into our lives and more visits out to beautiful places – we have so much here on our doorstep, despite living in the suburbs of a big city and I’m going to start utilising what we have around here a lot more.  Lexi is a fair skinned red head and is not a big fan of the heat, so would happily sit inside during the warmer months rather than being out in the garden with me. I want her to get lots of exercise and fresh air so that she is strong and healthy as she grows up.  I’ve noticed how too much time on my mobile phone or playing on the tablet can have a negative effective on her moods, so it’s up to me as her parent to do something about that now.  It’s sometimes easy to let her play on these devices so I can get things done around the house and garden, but I’m very aware of the effect of too much electronic time has on me and it’s certainly the same for her, so time to limit it and get both of us moving and enjoying the outside.  I think it’s also important not to let the wet weather spoil things (especially as we get so much of it in the UK) , getting a waterproof jacket on and some wellies and going and doing some puddle jumping is loads of fun.  Lexi likes the rain and we didn’t let it stop us going out on when we were on holiday, so we’re not going to let it stop us now either.

As well as getting out and about, I love to start and end my days positively.  A 10 minute meditation in the morning, followed by yoga practice and a 5 minute cardio workout.  Yes it means I have to get up earlier and I know some think I’m crazy for this, preferring the extra half an hour in bed, but for me this is a great start to the day and this is what I do 5-6 days a week.  If I don’t do my yoga, I still make sure I meditate.  There are so many meditations that can be sourced through You Tube and you can find the ones that best suit you, there are also many Apps that you can get on your mobile that also provide great meditations.  It really does improve quality of life over time and the way we deal with situations, I would recommend it to anyone and I certainly feel the difference when I don’t meditate.  For Yoga, I follow a fantastic lady on You Tube – Yoga with Adriene.  There are practices to suit everyone, from beginner to expert, this is the only one that I’ve stuck with and I’ve now been following Adriene for around two years.  I’ve missed odd days and sometimes odd weeks when I just haven’t been feeling it, but the pull back to yoga always comes and it makes me feel good – grounded, balanced in mind and body, fitter and healthier.  The cardio exercise that I follow is on Sky 1 and it’s called Fit in Five, there are a couple of series and different workouts to do.  Each workout is only 5 minutes, so I do one or two of these after I’ve completed my yoga.  This morning I did three of these 5 minute sessons back to back and plan to do my yoga later, there are ways to incorporate exercise into your life without having to hit the gym.  As a busy, working, single Mum, I struggle for the time and childcare to get to classes, so have needed to improvise and I have found what works for me.  What can work for you?

My general evening routine is to be in bed before 10pm, unless I know I have a bit of a lie in the next day. I naturally wake up quite early, so this is a pretty good time for me.  I do my daily gratitude, which is to list 3 things each day that I am grateful for, I’ll read or do some Reiki on myself and then drift off to sleep.  I do go through times of insomnia, but my sleep over all is a lot better and I find less time on social media in the evening helps.  I no longer sleep with my phone next to my bed either – something I used to do and that was certainly responsible for my brain being overactive. I’d wake up in the night, look at the time on my mobile and then get drawn into looking at facebook or some news report, I avoid the news as much as possible now as the constant bad news reporting has a detrimental effect on my mental health and wellbeing .

I am always looking at ways to improve my diet too and made the decision to stop eating meat three years ago, I also stopped eating fish last December.  This means that I have to ensure I am getting the right vitamins and proteins from the food I do eat and I am constantly working on this and thinking about what I eat.  Recently I have started ordering boxes from Simply Cook, I saw these advertised via Facebook and decided they are what I need to assist me with cooking healthy, nutritious meals that are filling and don’t leave you hungry afterwards – if I’m hungry after my meal, I’ll start snacking on sweet stuff!!  The boxes include four recipe cards and the spices and pastes that you need to make up the four meals you have selected, I just buy the vegetables and required carbohydrate to go with them. I love using these and it means that twice a week, I’m eating something different to what I’d normally cook, and I love a bit of a variety in my eating (don’t we all).  I rarely buy takeaways now, what’s the need when I can create something far more nutritious at home.  I also prefer to know what I’m eating and what’s gone in to my food.  Lexi is a different story, at the age of five she can be quite a picky eater and likes her certain foods, rarely agreeing to try anything new. I’m working on getting healthier options into her diet too! Luckily she loves pasta, so this is something she has a lot with cucumber and carrots (these are the only veg she will currently eat), she also agrees to juices, smoothies, grapes, apples, melon and certain other fruits – along with her sweet treats. Good to see the supermarkets doing treats made with fruit, so another way of getting her to have her five a day.  Another way of getting both of us out and about and eating fresh food is to go foraging, we’ve managed to gather a good sized punnet of blackberries from a local park and have made a very lovely apple and blackberry crumble with a muesli topping (lots of recipes online to help do a healthier version).  I used to grow a lot of my own vegetables in the house I lived in previously and plan to do this again, your own home grown veg tastes so good and you can grow organically too of course – there were no pesticides on my home grown produce.

I am not perfect by any means with my lifestyle, but I strive to improve it as I know how much better my body and mind feel when I eat well and look after myself. I also enjoying meals out, desserts, having drinks with friends etc, but as I’m getting older I feel the hangovers far more, so have reduced my alcohol intake a great deal and have to be prepared to suffer for several days when I do over do it.  But hey, life is meant to be fun right and it’s all about finding the right balance to suit you ?.  I’m feeling pretty good in my 40’s and everything I’m doing and working towards has boosted my confidence amazingly, looking forward to continuing this path into my 50’s, 60’s and beyond……..