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Self-Care after 40: All Natural Wellness Tips to Boost Energy and Feel Better

Theresa Polley Retreat in the Pines

Theresa – April 2016

The struggle is real. To maintain your energy and weight and stay well after 40, that is. Maybe that seems a bit dramatic… I’m 53 and when I take care of myself I still  feel like I’m 35. When I don’t take care or take time for me…watch out.

Maybe you struggle with trouble sleeping, hot flashes, weight gain, lack of energy or dry skin and hair; know you’re not alone! I’ve gathered easy, all natural and budget friendly tips to include in your daily life for immediate results.  I’ve taken the guess work out of living well. These wellness rituals have helped me let go of the struggle of feeling good after 40 and actually feel good.

Taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is a must. Anything less and you simply won’t be able to do all that you do.”

First, take time for you. Find new perspective and your tribe at one of our yoga retreats. Take care of you first, and everything else falls into place. I promise.

Plenty of sleep

Sleep trumps all else: yoga, meditation, time at the gym, time out with friends or Netflix bingeing. A good night’s sleep is crucial to maintaining mental, physical and emotional health. If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight you must get enought sleep. When you give your body the rest it needs, your body repairs itself and your brain processes memories and learning. Getting enough sleep will change your life.

  • Turn off all electronics several hours before bed. If that’s not an option, choose the blue screen on your device. Turn OFF or silence your devices when you turn off the lights.
  • Try breathing, meditation or Yoga Nidra before bed. There’s an app for that! Your body and mind need the chance to wind down. Check Google Play or ITunes for what’s available.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon. You may believe caffeine doesn’t affect you, but once you eliminate it the ability to fall and stay asleep improves.
  • Your body make wake you up in the middle of the night because you’re hungry, especially if you’re a light eater or eat frequent small meals. Try a bit of peanut or almond butter before bed.
  • Avoid over eating and alcoholic beverages right before bed.  A couple of glasses of wine may help you unwind, but too much alcohol leads to restless sleep. Too much alcohol can have long term harmful effects on your body and brain. When your stomach is having to work hard to digest your food, you’ll have trouble getting restful sleep.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night – DON’T get up and start doing something. You will signal to your body that this is the new routine. Stay in bed! Meditate, listen to soothing music or even pretend to sleep.

Keep Your Digestive System Healthy 

A healthy digestive system is the basis for a strong immune system and lots of energy. Digestive issues usually indicate you aren’t eating the right foods for you. You can try an elimination diet to determine what food is causing digestive distress.

The following tips will help with hot flashes as well. Avoid or limit hot liquids, as those can trigger hot flashes.

  • Room Temperature Water – Ice water slows down your digestive system by constricting the blood flow to your digestive tract. I used to love ice, now I never miss it. When your digestive system is sluggish, you feel sluggish and lack energy. 
  • Whole Foods – Our bodies don’t run well on processed food. If you feel lethargic, what you’re putting in your body for fuel isn’t working. Replace processed foods with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats.
    Ginger Tea Yoga Retreat

    Ginger Tea

  • Probiotics – If you’re not eating naturally fermented foods (such as Miso, Tempeh, Yogurt, Kombucha), you may consider introducing a Probiotic Supplement. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in your digestive system. These bacteria keep everything balanced and working correctly. Lack of good bacteria means an abundance of harmful bacteria.
  • Fish Oil Supplements – The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil improve your digestive system and therefore your immune system by reducing inflammation and boosting the activity of white blood cells. In addition, the fatty acids are beneficial to heart health. 
  • Ginger Tea – I make my own and save it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. In the winter I have it warm, in the summer I drink it at room temperature or chilled (with a little bit of club soda for a ginger ale type drink).

Coconut Oil 

Organic coconut oil is readily available and can do so much for the issues we struggle with after 40. Refined takes out the coconut taste, while unrefined has coconut flavor.

  • Weight Loss Aid – A spoonful in your coffee instead of a high fat creamer is nice. Consuming coconut oil has been shown to boost energy and it’s an appetite suppressant. It’s also great for cooking.
  • Oil Pulling – I practice this every night while watching Netflix. Take a spoonful of oil and swish for 20 minutes. I love this because it detoxifies my mouth, keeps my gums healthy and my teeth white. You can also add a little bit of essential oil if you’d like. Make sure to spit it out in the trash and not the sink. 
  • Hair Conditioner – If your hair is dry and you’re tired of over paying at the beauty counter, try coconut oil. Massage it in the ends of your hair and twist up into a bun and let sit for an hour, maybe overnight. Avoid massaging it into your scalp.
  • Exfoliator – Combine a 1/3 cup of coconut oil with 1 cup of sugar and 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil. I like lavender and peppermint – it will leave you calm and focused. You can experiment with different combinations, but skin test a bit of the essential oil first.
  • Moisturizer and Body Lotion – Use it on your face and body, morning and night, with a few drops of lavender oil.
  • As a Lubricant – Enough said.
  • Travel- I always bring a jar of coconut oil when I travel. Then if you forget something, you have everything you need in one container: conditioner, tooth paste, moisturizer, shave cream, sunburn relief and more.

Emotional and Mental Health 

Friends at a Retreat

Friends at a Retreat

Let’s face it, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, we all experience dark days. If you’re having more dark days than light, know help is available. Mental and emotional health after 40 can be a rollercoaster. You may be dealing with teen/young adult issues, empty nest sadness, pre- or post-menopause hormonal chaos, the challenge of living in a youth oriented culture or other struggles. Know that you will survive and you will come out into a future that is bright and full of possibility! 

  • Find a Professional – For the truly bleak times in your life, consult a professional therapist. I’ve used a professional over the years and she has helped me gain a new perspective. I’ve found stuffing anxiety and depression isn’t wise. It comes back with a vengeance.
  • Journaling – I firmly believe in writing down your thoughts as a tool to process emotions. I usually journal several times a week. I love looking back at my journals to see how far I’ve come. Gratitude journaling is powerful as it allows you to focus on the good, which in itself is healing.
  • Meditation –  Meditation is any mindfulness practice and as simple as sitting in stillness or taking a walk. Several times per week is ideal, but do what works best for your schedule. Don’t let yourself get hung up on having your mind be perfectly clear during meditation. Letting the random thoughts go is part of the process. Here’s a guided meditation and tips for starting your own meditation practice.
  • Physical Activity – Yoga, walking, bicycling – any activity that gets the blood flowing and increases your heart rate is ideal. It doesn’t have to be an hour long Zumba or spin class, take the stairs at work or park in the furthest parking place and walk. It all adds up to a healthier you. Science shows exercise increases the “feel good” brain chemicals and helps manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Start with what you can do and build up from there. Studies have shown that being sedentary can increase hot flashes. Get moving!
  • Time in Nature – Nature is healing, the colors, the smells, the sounds. Immerse yourself in a bath of nature by walking through the park or simply spending time in your back yard.
  • Indulge – Dark chocolate, a glass of wine, a Netflix binge, a good book or whatever you enjoy. Indulge when you need it. Indulging allows us to press the reset button. Know that time on social media is not indulging. It’s a distraction – from responsibility, fear, living.
  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture opens up the energy channels in your body and reduces inflammation to keep your immune system strong. You can use it to manage chronic pain, allergies, mental health and so much more.
  • Take Time Away – Away from reality. Solo or with your best girlfriends. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to change your perspective and in turn, your life.

And of course, use sunscreen, be good to your knees and kind to others and yourself!

Navigating life past 40 can feel impossible. But know by tweaking your routine, you can meet the challenge head on.  Incorporate one new habit at a time and watch the magic happen.  If you stop and start, no worries, start again.

You’ll discover how good you can feel and there really is something to be said for being older and wiser!