Tag Archives: relaxation

Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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Smells – My Top & Bottom 5 Smells

A top and bottom 5 list of smells.

There’s so many smells out there and we can’t like everything, so what makes my top and bottom list of aromas:

Top 5

5.  Ash/Open Fires – I love the smell of open fires and the scent of the ash afterwards (note I like the smell, not the taste (I’ve eaten some stuff that actually made me think I was eating a fire grate!) I don’t know what it is about the smell of a roaring fire, but there’s something warm and inviting.  But heck, maybe that’s just the old romantic in me!
4.  Bread – who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread.  It’s one of those smells that you are encouraged to get your house to smell like, when you are selling it, before you have a viewing. The smell of freshly baked bread just gets your tastebuds tingling.  And of course, you can’t eat fresh bread without butter – the proper stuff mind you.
3.  Vanilla – just mmm, dreamy smell.  It’s probably got something to do with the sweetness, it reminds me of ice cream and cakes.
2.  Flowers – of course this had to be here.  I love the smell of flowers and my favourite are deep red, velvety roses. A friend of mine used to have an orange blossom in their garden and that scent was just amazing it reminded me of orange groves.  I have been known to walk along the road and stop to sniff blossoms.  It just takes a moment out of my day to remind me how wonderful the world is.  You should try it sometimes (but you may get a few odd looks!)
1.  Sea – my top smell.  There’s nothing like the smell of salt water on a sea breeze.  I definitely think I need to live near water. There’s something about it that just makes me relax and chill immediately.  It’s one of those smells I wish I could bottle so I could take a whiff whenever I was feeling blue.
So, those are my top 5 smells, but what about the ones I can’t stomach….

5.  Parmesan – now I love cheese, seriously love cheese. (Cheese on toast total comfort food). BUT parmesan just smells like vomit. So if you put it anywhere near my food, I’m not going to eat it.  Now I know fresh parmesan apparently doesn’t, but I think the smell is so ingrained in my brain the smell neurons are not going to change their minds.
4.  Lavender – much as I love herbs and flowers I cannot stomach the smell of lavender.  I know it’s supposed to relax you, but bleurgh!!!  Have you tried those lavender things you put in the microwave to pop on achy parts of your body?  Is it just me or does lavender, when heated, just smell of cat wee? Sorry lavender, but you just don’t do it for me!
3.  Strong perfume – of the ladies variety.  Maybe it is just my nose? Years ago I used to sell natural, organic perfume which worked a different set of smell buds, so to speak.  Now when my mum pops on her perfume – OMG! It just smells like a tart’s boudoir.  I think because my nose got used to natural, all it can smell is the chemicals.  Sorry.
2.  School canteens – I don’t know what it is they cook in them, but there’s something that reminds me of my primary school dinners. I think it’s some kind of battered yuckiness.  My primary school dinners were completely revolting – seriously there was no health & safety.  We used to find all manner of stuff on our plates, and as for the grease that used to ooze out of everything when a fork went in…it’s a wonder we made it out alive!
1.  Curry House – I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about the smell of a curry house that makes me feel nauseous.  I’ve never eaten curry, but there’s something about the smell of the restaurant.  It could be the spices, the oil, anything, but there’s something that my smell neurons just don’t like.  Such a shame as I’ve always wanted to go to India!

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Snake Massage anyone?

It would appear that in some beauty parlours in some far flung corners of the earth, the latest ‘craze’ (for want of a better word) is to have a snake massage.snake massage

Which basically involves lying on the massage table whilst several reptiles (non venomous of course) are adorned across you and left to slither around. Apparently, it is all very relaxing!!

Now, I know I’m game to try most things when it comes to alternative treatments, etc. – and yes I did have my feet nibbled by fish – but I think I even I would draw the line at this.

Mainly because snakes scare the heck out of me (and yes, I know they aren’t slimy, or cold – but they still scare me), so paying for the privilege of them crawling all over me – I don’t think so!

I think I’ll stick to having my body massages by hands 😉

Would you?

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Bath -v- Shower. Which do you prefer?

Much as the thought of a deep, hot, luxurious bubble bath, dimmed lights, soft music and lighted scented candles is appealing in the relaxation stakes.bubblebath

In reality, I would probably last less than 5 minutes before I got bored.

I can never seem to relax in a bath. I’ve always found them very uncomfortable, my neck always starts to ache, and I end up feeling more tense.

I am not one of these people who could lie in them for hours reading the latest chic-lit whilst slowly turning into a prune!

I also never feel clean after a bath and have to have a shower afterwards!

So, for me, I have to say I’m a shower girl.

I feel more relaxed being able to stand underneath running water – almost as if I can feel the stresses and strains of the day running down the plug-hole too – and I find it a perfect place to think!

And the more powerful the shower the better 😉

Which do you prefer?

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Crystal Healing & Chakra Rebalancing Session

WOW! OMG! etc, etc, etc.

I’ve just had a crystal healing session and it was AMAZING.

When I arrived at the practitioners premises I had to fill out the usual medical form, name, address, etc. Then she told me what she would be doing. The session, in a nutshell, involved seeing which chakras were out of balance, then opening up the chakras, allowing the negative energy out, positive energy in and closing the chakras back again.

I’m sure the sceptical amongst you are sitting there tutting and saying “what a load of codswallop!”

Anyway, I lay on the treatment table.

First of all the room was cleansed, the practitioner then gave me a clear crystal to hold throughout the session – she clasped my hand to establish a connection!

Then the practitioner took a crystal on a pendant and held it over each chakra centre to establish which ones were out of balance. As the pendant was held over the centre it would either not move, or move according to whether the centre was out of balance or not.

Again, for all you sceptics out there saying “Surely the practitioner could just wiggle it anyway?”

Yes, she could. But seriously, you could tell which was a movement made by the normal, natural process of just holding something still and not (trust me I watched her wrist and hands like a hawk!)

My solar plexus and heart chakras were seriously out of kilter.

The solar plexus is connected to mental alertness and confidence and the heart is connected to emotions.

And since I have not been feeling my best recently this did not surprise me in the slightest!

Then the session really began and I shut my eyes and relaxed.

I had to take 3 deep breaths and then she set to work.

I felt her place a crystal above my head and hold it with her hands to open the crown chakra. After several minutes she moved away and placed the next (different) crystal on the next chakra centre and so on working down from crown to base.

After she moved to another centre I could still feel the crystal on the previous points and it felt cold. I have to admit, I peeked when she moved away from the heart chakra and could not believe that there was no crystal there!

I could feel where all the crystals had been and at each point it was really cold.

So I went back to relaxing.

The practitioner continued working – no idea what actually happened after I closed my eyes – I know theoretically (because she had explained) that once the chakras were open she would place a circle of clear crystals around me to release all the negative energy and then turn them round so that they would allow positive energy to flow back, then she would close them up.

As my eyes were closed I became more and more relaxed and it was then it happened!

You know when you are just waking and your eyes aren’t properly  open but you can sense them opening and with every blink see some lights and shapes, which get bigger and bigger until your eyes are open.

Well …

… that’s what it felt like. – and I know I’m so not going to explain it very well, but I felt like my eyes were opening, although they were shut tight.

I could see them (apparently) trying to open, and it was as if a blind was opening, as the blind was drawn back I thought I could see sky. There were some clouds, but on the whole it was blue, and there were trees either side. It was as if I was lying on the grass looking upwards.

Then snatched bits of conversation popped into my head and just when I thought I’d cleared my head to relax again, up popped another snippet. I saw people too, some from my past and some from my present.

And all the time, the blinds were being lifted. they closed because I became conscious of them and thought my eyes were actually opening.

It is very difficult to explain and you’re probably thinking I’m making half of this up, but I swear to God I am not.

Whilst I was lying there, I could not feel the crystal in my left hand and my right hand, although it was resting on my right leg it didn’t feel as if it were at all, and I felt almost like I was floating.

It was only every so often I realised I still was breathing, I would physically feel myself take some breaths and then I would be totally unconscious of it again.

And still, the coldness remained where the crystals had been placed.

At one point towards the end, my entire body went really cold and then began to warm up.

It was then that the practitioner took hold of the hand that held the crystal and asked me to take 3 deep breaths and then slowly open my eyes.

Once I had my eyes open, she took up the pendant and placed it over the chakra centres that had been unbalanced and it did not move this time.

I felt totally relaxed and at peace.

There are, as with everything, after care recommendations such as not smoking, drinking, reducing caffeine intake and increasing water intake, plus relaxing, which I shall try to do.

I did tell her about the coldness, the eyes open sensation and the conversations.

She explained the conversations were probably blockages that were freeing themselves, and the coldness was just the chakra centres working on restoring calm. The blind opening sensation was clearly my subconscious going to a higher plane! (cue laughter!)

If you are of a mind to try it out, I would recommend it. As with anything holistic it’s best to go somewhere that has been recommended you by a friend.

I shall be going back when I feel out of balance again, until then I shall enjoy being connected to the universe once more 😉

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Bloody Hormones (Part 2)

Stress + Hormones = recipe for disaster

Having been so totally stressed out about so many things for the past couple of months my hormones have gone into overdrive.

So, I have my very attractive stress spots returned (OK it’s also that time as well), not only that but all that stress has caused mayhem with the monthly body clock. So far this month, zilch, nada, nothing!

That makes the 2nd time this year – FAB-U-LOUS!

My mother on one hand is the dome & gloom merchant, saying “it’s the start of the change!”

My lovely O&G doctor, on the other hand said absolutely nothing to worry about, stress will do that, and since I am (a) young and (b) have no other ‘change’ symptoms it’s definitely not “that”.

Oh, I’m so looking forward to next month and the period from hell!

Need to relax, de-stress and chill.

Off to the nearest meditation & yoga retreat 😉

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Hopi Ear Candles

I am a big fan of Hopi Ear Candle therapy – or thermal-auricular therapy I believe it’s called.

No idea where the technique originated, but it has nothing to do with a Native American indigenous tribe called Hopi.

Nevertheless, it is apparently a popular therapy, with many beauty salons/spas offering this alternative treatment.

Ear candling apparently has several positive benefits on a variety of conditions of the ear including: tinnitus, sinusitis, glue ear, hay fever & rhinitis, excessive ear wax, general hearing loss, colds, tension headaches, travel sickness and Menieres disease.

It does not claim to be a cure, and there is no scientific evidence to suggest the claims are true, but there have been reported claims that it has had a positive effect on the symptoms of the above.

So, after having had a tension headache for a week or so, on and off, last October, I thought I’d give it a go. At worst I’m down the cost of the treatment and still have a headache….

Aside from the fact the beautician kept me waiting for half an hour because she was waiting for a treatment room to become available that didn’t have a smoke alarm – all I could think was “Thank God I didn’t park in the NCP car park, my ticket would have run out and those traffic wardens are merciless, especially on a Friday!”

Eventually, I was taken into the treatment room and had to lie on my side. There was lovely calm music playing – although it would have been calmer had the volume been slightly lower – I did have a headache after all! I was covered in a towel and towels were placed around my ear.

The beautician explained that she would place the candle after it had been lit – she explained that I may be able to hear crackling, but some people found the experience very relaxing.

So, here goes. Lit candle in ear!

Now, most of you probably think I’m completely nuts, but I am quite into alternative treatments and am pretty much game to try anything once, have had my feet nibbled by fish, very into reflexology (nothing like a foot massage) and have tried Reiki.

Anyway, I digress, then the crackling started. It wasn’t too bad at first but then it got louder and louder, to the extent I thought I had a raging log fire going on in my ear. The theory is the burning candle produces a suction effect to draw out impurities from the ear. I must have had a load of impurities in mine then.

As the candle burns lower you do feel some heat on your head. I also actually experienced a pain in my head where my headache must have been, and weird or not, spooky, or just my imagination, that pain moved into my ear and went.

Candle removed, turn over and repeat on other side. The other side there was no pain, and less crackling.

After the treatment I was given an acupressure facial massage – just to release any remaining toxins from the facial area.

After I had sat up and drank a glass of water – you have to keep hydrated after this treatment – the beautician opened the candles.

All I can say is “YUK, YUK, YUK, WITH A CAPITAL YUK!”

Like everyone I clean my ears, or so I thought – but the amount of ear wax that was in the candle could have made its own candle. The first ear had the most which would account for the louder crackling sensation.

Generally, the rule of thumb if you do this is to go once a week for 3 weeks and then every couple of months, for maintenance.

Did it make any difference though, is what you’re all asking?

Well, headache went, and I think the problem was mainly sinusy. As I feel that the airways were much clearer than they were before, my hearing was slightly sharper, and I didn’t have to clean any ear wax out for a while afterwards!!

Obviously, each to his own, and all that, and medical practitioners query the benefits and a lot of people are of the opinion that this alternative therapy is nothing more than a placebo effect. If you think it’s good for you, you’ll probably think it’s done you good, even if it hasn’t.

Maybe so, maybe not.

For me, all I can say is my headache went, my airways felt clearer. And since October I have had several sessions – am in need of one imminently, I’ve had a headache for a week again!

Like everything there are contra-indications, so make sure if you go you are forewarned what they are, and always go somewhere reputable.

But yes, I’d recommend it, and yes, it was actually very relaxing 😉

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