The start of a new year is a time for reflection but also more importantly for looking ahead to a more positive next 12 months. In her book ‘Enjoy midlife: be inspired’, author Sarah Walker asked women aged 39 to 81 about their hints and tips for feeling better about getting older.
The women were given a selection of different options to choose from and the majority of women (73%) chose ‘keep positive’ as their number one tip, followed by ‘keeping fit and trying to keep the weight off’, ‘having an active social life’, ‘never comparing yourself to others’ and ‘getting your hair cut and coloured regularly.’
How to keep positive?
Everyone wants to keep positive as they get older but it’s easy to get into a negative spiral when the financial responsibilities continue to grow and emotionally and physically there is more to complain about. Surrounding yourself with positive people helps – although if your family has a tendency to moan that’s difficult (but not impossible) to change! If you have friends that make you feel drained see them less often (or in a larger group of people) and really focus on those friends who inspire and energise you. Exercise is definitely important for keeping positive. It releases endorphins which make you feel better and more positive. Even just a walk in the fresh air to get the morning paper will help – it doesn’t have to be a gym session or take up too much time.
Hints and tips from real women
‘Regular exercise!’ says Samantha who is in her 40s. ‘Look forward not back. Get a personal trainer if you can! She helps me do training that ‘my’ body needs. So helpful! Never looked back!’
Gemma, aged 39, said, ‘Stop caring what other people think, take care of yourself because without doing that you can’t take care of others. Do things you want and not because you should do them.’
‘Believe that you can’t always control what happens in life but you can control how you choose to react to it,’ says Claire, in her 50s. ‘Enjoy life and surround yourself with people who make you happy!’
Lindsey, also in her 50s, says: ‘A daily walk with my dog really sets me up for the day. I love being in the fresh air. Working abroad sometimes prevents me from being able to get outside (as too hot) so I relish the chance whenever I come home. My husband and I are love to cycle and have had some wonderful cycling holidays in France and Italy – age is just a number!’
Personal trainer Jennie, 42 says: ‘It’s never too late to start exercising. Why not have a go! It doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk. Try to go walking with a friend and then gradually build up the distance you walk. It won’t take long before you are feeling much better about yourself – physically and mentally – and will maybe lose a pound or two and also feel that you are toning up. Another month or two later and you are fitting into the dress size down and feeling rather good about everything!’
‘As my family have become less dependent on me I have felt a huge sense of liberation enabling me to follow my own interests and hobbies,’ says Angela who is in her 50s. ‘Participating in a team sport (rowing) has motivated me to get fitter and have a positive outlook. Feeling good on the inside and being fulfilled in part of your life is probably more important than what you wear or look like!’
Elizabeth, in her 70s, says, ‘New projects. Learn something new and try to mix with people of all ages.’
‘Celebrate life!’ says Susan, in her 50s. ‘I celebrated my 50th with a 50-for-50 list, which included everything from having a party to zip-lining over alligators!’
‘Always make some time every day, however limited, to switch off even if just for 10 minutes,’ says Scarlett, aged 52.
‘Set yourself challenges and have a go at new things – it doesn’t matter if you are not good at them. You need to go for it. Doesn’t matter if it goes wrong – you gave it a go!’ says 50-year-old Emily.
‘As I get older I definitely make more of an effort to look good,’ says 46-year-old Isobel. ‘I get that from my mum – she always had a nice pair of shoes on and a glamorous hairstyle and you learn from that to make an effort.’
‘Try to think about what you do have rather than what you don’t have! Try new challenges, be brave!’ says Sue, in her 50s.
What can help:
- Look after yourself and get hair cut and coloured regularly
- Dress well – always try to look your best even if just popping to local shop
- Keep fit and try to keep weight off
- Have an active social life – you can’t beat fun and laughter
- Keep up-to-date with technology – tap into the expertise of younger members of the family
- Try new hobbies and challenges
- Make some time every day to switch off – even if just for 10 minutes
- Volunteer to help a charity and give something back (especially in retirement)
- Treat yourself now and again
- Try hard not to compare yourself to others
- Above all keep positive!
By Sarah Walker