Since I am a woman who has spent most of my life practicing gentle yoga and meditation, I often borrow from these principles and experience in discussing life to my clients and students.
Even if you aren't into yoga, lean in and take some guidance from this analogy.
Once we have crossed over into midlife, we go one of two directions:
- We age rapidly. We see our health decline. We lose our luster for life. We often fall into a state of malaise or depression. We resent and resist what is and we get nowhere with that. OR....
- We choose to do it differently. We allow what is but we begin to work with where we are making different choices, changing our habits, shifting and living authentically. We seek balance. When we do this we feel ALIVE, excited, peaceful, hopeful and fulfilled.
In the practice of yoga, we apply principles to achieve balance between contraction and expansion of both the mind and heart. In fact, the entire path and practice of yoga is about finding balancing and center.
The physical practice of yoga helps us to find the center and balance in the body. If you are able to find physical balance, it is natural for your mind to follow. If your mind is scattered, your body will also be off balance.
Whether or not you practice yoga, these same principles apply for life. And living a full and authentic life over 40 requires a practice of seeking center and balance.
In yoga we talk a lot about alignment. Aligning the body and the mind throughout the practice in order to have balance.
I think in life it is essential we constantly check our alignment and practice allowing what is so that we can work with the challenges and the joys that life presents rather than resisting. I recently wrote another article about dancing with life's challenges that speaks to this notion of working with your challenges rather than resisting and fighting.
Here are some steps you can take to begin creating a practice of aligning with your most authentic self, allowing what is, working with your present situation and creating a FULL life over the age of 40:
- Set appointments for your self-care. I'm not talking about routine medical or salon appointments (although that is important too!). I'm talking about the care of your spirit and your body in daily life. You know how to take care of others. You've been doing it all your life. Now, it's time to really dedicate time to care for yourself. Set appointments to go for a walk every day! To meditate... to shop and prepare and eat 3 meals/day that are rich in healthy whole foods.
- Get your beauty rest. Make time to do guided relaxation (I've got a great free one right here on this website!) Create a healthy sleep routine (grab my free guide Sleep Tight here) With appropriate rest, you will feel more energized and more joyful in your daily life.
- Embrace aromatherapy. I've been in love with essential oils for nearly 20 years. I joke about the fact that if there is a housefire and I can only grab one thing it will be my case of essential oils. In mid-life we need to be looking to natural ways to feel good, look our best and live a more fulfilling life - Get away from synthetics and toxic fragrances and check out essential oils. You'll be amazed how they will change the way you feel and look at daily life.
- Chug H2O. We hear it all the time but I can't emphasize enough how important this is.... Staying hydrated is so important for every aspect of our health especially as we grow older.
- Learn to say no. Sometimes living an authentic and full life over 40 means turning down invitations, politely declining time-consuming projects and making room for open space on your calendar. Open space is time that can be enjoyed taking care of your own self (see #1)
In my 12 Weeks to Total Transformation program and in my coaching programs I address how important it is that we lovingly and gently move into a plan for aligning and allowing. In all my programs I very purposefully provide a step by step, week by week guide to getting everything in your life lined up. Your eating, your sleeping, your breathing, your movement, your thinking, your feeling... It's all there.
If 12 weeks feels like too much all at once, check out this little bitty one-new-habit-each-week program! You can create a healthier way of living that will help you be aligned with your authentic self by incorporating just one new habit each week. It's easy really...
Allow what is and embrace who you are, where you are but then choose to align. Take simple, gentle action to redesign your life over 40.