Invest in yourself… it’s good for the planet

What is the one thing women over 40 can do to help save the planet?

Most people answer this in a similar way.  More recycling and less plastic. But for me, there is one major thing – and it’s not recycling.

For me it is to get healthy and stay healthy so that you can invest in your personal development. Usually women are a bit underwhelmed when I say this but please read on… I promise you it will make sense.

When I look back on my stressy, frazzled self, I shudder and feel relieved that I am not as bad as I was. I still have a tendency to over-work and lose work/life balance but I have better checks in place to catch myself when I start to slide.

To me, the reason to bother being healthy is so that women can be the best version of themselves in this world NOW. That means developing yourself and growing and learning all the time, every day.

It matters that all us women over 40 do this and that we don’t just grub around with a “good-enough” version of ourselves… when we are at our best, we can do great things and really take our contribution to the next level.

Did you know that our stress levels reduce if we feel we are contributing to our planet’s greater good? By the way, the planet’s greater good is your road, your village, your town, your local school, your local old people’s home. It is not some abstract “thing”, somewhere overseas in a foreign country.

If we are not healthy and listen to too much crappy media about our bodies, we spend our time worrying about how we look or if we have fat bums – instead of sorting out our planet.

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The great thing about the menopause phase of life is that it gives us such a wonderful opportunity to do this and step up when we are less dictated to by child rearing and people pleasing.

Being healthy is a means to an end.  By being healthy not only can we all help ourselves and our families, but we can be part of fulfilling the new United Nations global goals. These are 17 goals agreed by global leaders to help us achieve a better world by the year 2030. You may think these goals are just for poor people, well no they are not.

Not this time round.

Global goals for universal health

The United Nations is really worried about everyone’s health, especially women’s everywhere.

Because for the first time ever in the history of our species stress and depression is the number one reason people visit the doctor.  There are more obese people with diabetes and heart disease i.e. chronic diseases than there are starving people… approx 2 billion to 1 billion.

Truly awful stats.

And they are worse for women – we are more likely than men to get stressed and depressed, and despite great gains in the last 100 years, we are still mostly responsible for managing childcare, running our households and caring for elderly relatives. All while working of course…

So let’s break the cycle and step up. Here are a couple of the goals we can focus on:

Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. This is us and we can lead the way for our families. If we are in crap shape, we are setting a bad example to our children, our colleagues, our friends…

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Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. We all need to stop the guilt of investing in ourselves when we feel we don’t deserve it. Whether you work inside or outside the home, we are ALL a huge value to our planet that we ALL need to start recognising.  Guilt is a bio-chemical reaction and is caused by our hormones.

So how become healthy or healthier so that you can contribute more and grow more each day?

First you need a plan. Lurching from day to day doesn’t work. We have plans at work, but women tend not to have them for themselves.

Without a clear sense of purpose and a plan to deliver our purpose, then we tend to, you know, lurch.

Once you have a plan and then learn to meditate, you can use the more intelligent part of your brain more often, instead of the stressed out, knee jerk part of your brain. That will help with food cravings as well, by the way.

Stress makes women crave fat and carbs. Deal with stress first then you will automatically make better food choices.

Take a course, go on a retreat, take time to think about your purpose in life. Do it every year and review your plan every quarter and every month… like you do at work.

Make the changes you have delayed making. Get support and be accountable. One day at a time. That is what women do best.

Give yourself the gift of committing to your personal development and keep on doing it. It’s the best gift you could ever give.

Deborah Crowe

About Deborah Crowe

I am an ex teacher, teacher/trainer with 30 years' experience in the aid sector. I currently live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with my daughter, hubs and three dogs, Picasso, Eileen and Rebecca. In 2014 I started blogging about life as a middle-aged woman learning about the consequences of unmanaged stress for the first time, as well as getting hit by peri- menopause. My blog then became a book. One thing led to another. From writing I started doing talks and then public speaking at larger events. I also learnt that it was not just hormones or this “time of life” – it was my lifestyle. Certainly mine – too much stress, too much work in places with macho cultures. As a result of what I learnt, I am now a Menopause Coach, a Meditation and Yoga Teacher, an Activist Speaker and the author of “The Darling Menopause” series. Using all my different experiences in development, education and senior management, I work with career driven women who are struggling with menopause symptoms to take back control of their menopause and their careers; to ditch the brain fog; get back their confidence and manage their symptoms so they can get back to the top of their game. I run Menopause Success and Mastery workshops and coaching programmes both face to face and online.