Career Change Over 40

Career Change Over 40

Today I am featuring my colleague Jessica Sweet, LICSW and Life & Career Coach as my guest blogger. Jess provides coaching services, specializing in helping women over 40 make career changes.

woman looking to futureAre you thinking about a career change at 40?

Whether you’re 40, 45, 50 or even 55… a career change is still possible for you.

If you’re like many women, your 40’s and beyond are liberated years. Years when you’re free from the worries of caring for very young children, freer from worries about what other people think. But all of a sudden you might face a new limitation.

You might hit that magic birthday and suddenly you’re “too old” to make a career change, even if you know that what you’re doing now in your career just isn’t right for you.

Why should it be that just when you felt you’d finally paid all your dues, you’re suddenly trapped into doing a job that you don’t like – hate even, when your heart sings to do something else?

Actually, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Being stuck is an illusion.

“Right!” You laugh. “Tell that to my mortgage payments.”

Well, while it’s true that you probably need an income, it’s not true that you need to make your income the way you’ve been making it.

That’s the part that’s just a tweak of the mindset.

Career Change At 40

Your career change at 40 or beyond can happen. The limitations that you’re worried about can be addressed, one at a time and slayed like the dragons they are. Here’s how:

First off, write down what you’re worried about.

(I’m going to tackle some of the most common worries in just a moment).

Second, get a handle on what you really want to be doing next in your career.

Third, make a plan to move forward – and don’t forget to include lots of support!

The Most Common Worries About Career Change At 40 and Beyond

  1. No one will hire me over younger candidates. There are two reasons that this might be true. First, you’re more expensive to hire because your salary costs more and so does your health insurance. Second, they think you won’t be in the position very long either because you’ll retire or because you’re so overqualified you’ll quit soon. All of these reasons come down to money for the employer. Once you understand this, you have an advantage. If it’s a job you really want, you can do your homework and go the extra mile to convince the employer that you won’t cost as much as they think and/or will be worth every penny due to your passion for the job. After all, you get what you pay for.
  2. I don’t have the energy to start something new.If you’re feeling that way, then it’s not the right thing for you. What I want for you is that you find a career move that has you bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. (ok 6!) excited – yes excited!! to work on it. If you have to muster the energy it’s not right. If you’re 44 and you’re wondering if something huge, like medical school is the right move, the only way to decide is to dig deep and think about how it feels. Do you want it? Do you want it bad? Because that’s what it’s going to take. The right next move gives you a thrill. It’s out there.
  3. I have no idea what I want to do next, I just know it’s not this! This, my friends, is what I live for.I love helping people figure this out. It is possible to figure out what you want next in your career. Sure you can do all sorts of psychometric tests and mumbo-jumbo (not that I don’t believe in those, I do). But I think that they reduce a person to less than the whole. And when you deal with the whole person and understand who they are and what they want and need in order to thrive, be excited, be fulfilled, and happy you really can make huge breakthroughs. You are meant to do something you love, and you can find it.

These are three really common worries, but of course there are more. What worries do you have?

Career change at 40 and older can feel hard, but you can do it! You can break through to a new career or even a dream business. The limitations that hold you back need to be broken down step-by-step so you can move past working at a job that’s probably not challenging you and transitioning on to something that fulfills more of your potential.

Jessica SweetJessica Sweet, LICSW is a career and life coach who helps people over 40 make a career change to work they love. She also helps creative entrepreneurs take their solo businesses and business ideas from seed to bloom.  Learn more about her services and working with her at Wishingwell Life Coaching, and get her free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Career Change at 40 and Beyond.


Losing Weight Over 40 and Keeping it Off for Good!

Losing Weight Over 40 and Keeping it Off for Good!

woman on the beachLosing weight over 40 is a different ball-game for certain! Many women struggle for years, try different diets, lose weight but then put the weight back on again. It’s a frustrating cycle.

I received the following note from *Jennifer, age 54 of Wilmington, NC:

Dear Lynn,

I am 54 and I have gained 50 pounds over the past ten years. I am in the midst of menopause. My doctor says I am clinically obese. I feel like I have tried everything. I have done Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and most recently a paleo diet. The paleo worked the best for me but I still have had trouble maintaining and it all comes down to craving carbs.

I can eat really healthy all day long but when I get to late afternoon and evening, all I want is sweets, breads and pasta! And if I give into the craving, I can’t stop with one bite. I noticte that even after I eat a healthy dinner, I have intense cravings for carbs.

I have a device I wear on my wrist and I make sure I do 10000 steps, daily.  I eat lots of veggies and salads during the day. I blow it every evening though.

Two years ago, I lost 40 pounds on a paleo diet but wasn’t able to maintain in the the life phase and gained 30 lbs back. 

I know the low carb diet is beneficial IF I can stick with it.

Desperate for help,


Jennifer’s story is all too common.

There are several factors at play here. Let’s break it down and address each one by one.

Your body in mid-life:

There are many hormones in the body – and the levels change as we grow older. The hormone leptin has a very important job and that is to regulate your appetite and the speed of your metabolism.

Studies have shown that people who are obese have drastically higher amounts of leptin in their bodies than people who are physically fit. While obese people have a lot of leptin, which is supposed to regulate the appetite, these people’s bodies are resisting that effect. This can cause a person to never feel “full” after eating food, which in turn can cause excessive eating.


The best way to control leptin is through a  very balanced diet, high in colorful, high fiber vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein, similar to what I offer in my 12 Weeks to Total Transformation program. Read more about leptin resistance here.

In addition not eating enough protein and eating the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, can also contribute to a lack of feeling full.

It’s crucial that you avoid refined flours and sugars because these can cause blood insulin levels to raise and lower quickly and cause more cravings.

Keep in mind, processed foods, and foods high in saturated and trans fats have also been found to cause hormonal disturbances when consumed long term.

Based on my team of experts that I consult for nutritional information, it is recommend  you consume 80 grams of protein and 2 cups of high fiber dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) or cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) at lunch and dinner.

You also want to be sure you have some healthy fats in your diet. Go read this article I wrote about healthy fats.

Also, the cravings you are having may be for a lot of reasons which I address below. You might read my article about cravings and what to do about them here.

Water intake:

It’s very common for for people to neglect this very important piece to healthy weight loss and maintenance of weight loss. As part of the programs I have developed, getting enough water throughout the day is critically important for keeping the body and (believe it or not) the BRAIN hydrated and working optimally to keep you on track mentally as well as physically.

Check out my article here on the importance of drinking water and how much water to drink.

Your exercise plan:

It is so great that you are getting 1000 steps in each day! Fitness Trainer Lisa Weinert (The Wellness Diva) advises you will likely need to enhance your current exercise regimen.  Incorporating some “resistance training” into your regimen is key, especially over the age of 40. I also highly recommend a very gentle, simple yoga practice to enhance your flexibility and help your brain and body align and learn how to work together. Read my article about the role of exercise after the age of 40.

Your emotions an thoughts:

Since there are so many pieces of this puzzle to losing weight over 40, it’s hard to emphasize any one as more important than another. But the mental and emotional piece is one that is skipped over by most diet and weight loss programs. Getting your mind-set clear and focused along with attending to the emotions that drive us to dive into the cookie jar or the ice cream tub are KEYS to helping you get beyond this evening-carb-gnoshing experience you are having. You can begin by developing a mindfulness practice in relationship to food and eating. Check out this article and video.  In my program 12 Weeks to Total Transformation we do in-depth work at the mental and emotional level through specific journaling techniques, guided relaxations and meditation.

Stress – get a grip on this!

This is one of the top reasons we women over 40 struggle with weight gain. When stressful events happen, our bodies respond with a release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a necessary hormone when operating at normal times and at normal levels assists the body in being awake and alert to move through the day. With chronic stress, too much cortisol at the wrong times sends the body into a state of emergency. When the body feels it is in emergency, it holds onto excess fat. Cortisol levels that spike in the night interfere with our sleep rhythms robbing us of the necessary sleep we need to repair and rest from the day.

It is KEY to either eliminate sources of unnecessary stress OR learn how to develop a relaxation response instead of a stress response.

Practical Tips:

  1. Planning and preparation are KEY!
  2. Always have plenty of healthy snacks prepared and on hand. Take them with you when you leave home. This way you always have something on hand when you are in a rush and get hungry. If you get too hungry and don’t have something healthy nearby you are likely to make an unhealthy choice. I recommend keeping a few raw almonds and an organic apple with you, in your bag, your car and in your desk at work. Never give yourself an excuse to make an unhealthy choice.  I have found a very high quality grass-fed whey protein product you might use as a stand-by also. Toss a scoop in a shaker-drink-cup and just mix with water, shake and drink later in the day. Click here to learn more about the Real Dose products – specifically this high quality whey protein product.
  3. Measure out 1/2 gallon to 3/4 gallon of purified water each morning and aim to finish the container by 7 pm.
  4. Try hot tea in the evening – specifically I recommend Kava Kava tea which calms the nerves, relaxes the mind and body and helps the belly feel full.
  5. Go to bed earlier. Aim to start your bed time routine wind-down at 9:00 and slip under the sheets and blankets by 10:00. Grab my free Sleep Tight Guide for lots of tips on getting a good night’s sleep and why it’s so important in mid-life.
  6. Learn to relax. It’s not something you an do instantaneously – it takes practice. Sign up for my Yoga & Meditation Over 40 series where you will get access to a wide array of audio guided meditations for relaxation. OR if you should decide to join the 12 Weeks to Total Transformation you will get many of these recordings as downloads you can keep forever.

I hope this helps get you started in a slightly new direction because I am certain these tips and bits of info will yield you the results you are looking for body+mind+spirit!

I would love to work with you one on one! You can learn more about my personalized coaching programs here.

*No actual names of clients or customers are used. While this is an actual letter from a member of the Wonders Wellness community her name has been changed to protect her confidentiality.

Dancing with Life’s Challenges

Dancing with Life’s Challenges

dancing with lifeAs a therapist and a life-redesign coach for women, I often hear clients talk about struggling.

In fact, we women over 40 use this word – struggle – often.

Life presents challenge and we struggle. We struggle with knowing what to do next. We struggle with difficult emotions. We struggle with how to handle situations.

I believe it’s time for a reframe. After all, here we are over 40, facing the second half of life. It’s time to do it all differently.

Ever watched ballroom dancing? I’m no professional dancer, but I can watch and observe the ebb and flow. The give and take. The pauses and then the bursts of energy. The harmony.

Ah…. there’s the difference between struggling and dancing!

When we struggle there is tension, pushing and pulling. Struggling connotes a furrowed brow, a white-knuckled grip.

When we dance there is a harmonious flow, blending and cooperation.

So what would this look like to dance with life’s challenges? How about this 5 step plan…

1. Challenge arises. Be with it. When a challenge arises, first, consider it a puzzle to be solved. A feat to be faced. Rather than bowing up with resistance, try to accept that it is here and simply have a look.With mindfulness practice, we are able to gently observe what is happening without reaction or judgment. Just gentle observation.

2. Feel the Rhythm. Now that you’ve noticed the challenge and are just hanging out with it sans reaction, go inward. Take note of sensations in your physical body. Scan for unnecessary tension. See if you can allow the tension to release and soften. Make a note of emotions that are stirring around and breathe into the feelings, noticing the physical sensations that go along with them. Just notice without acting or reacting. Feel your body in space just as a dancer does. Feel the pulse of life in your body.

3. Survey the dance-floor. Consider your options. What is possible? What is within your control? What is outside of your control? What is in the best interest of all involved? What are the consequences of the various choices?

4. Choreograph your plan. Now that you’ve outlined all your options, measure your steps. Consciously choose which course of action you will take and begin mapping it out.

5. Go with the flow. Allow your plan to be the framework for your dance but allow there to be flow. When the factors of the challenge intensify, you can grow softer and move with that intensity rather than matching it with resistance.  When the factors of the challenge back down and ease up, you might lean in and take the lead with action.

The key to dancing with life’s challenges is harmonizing. Know when to give. When to take. When to move and when to be still. This is the dance.

The next time you hear yourself saying “I’m really struggling…” take pause. Take a breath. Consider shifting that mind-set and even changing the language to reflect a choice to dance with it rather than struggle.


Time for a Life-Redesign?

Time for a Life-Redesign?

woman at lakeAfter years as a licensed professional counselor and yoga/meditation instructor, my work in the world has expanded and morphed. My own life experience enriches my understanding of what others are going through. This past year I launched Wonders Wellness to support women over 40.  I help women in mid-life with the process of life-redesign.

Life-redesign is a process of consciously and mindfully renovating the structure, systems, beliefs and perspectives of your life!

I’ve always been a fan of HGTV shows where people take these outdated, run-down houses and completely redesign, refurbish and remodel, creating a beautiful new home from the old.

It is so inspiring and uplifting to watch people have a vision, work hard to bring that vision to life and then with the reveal of the finished product they are able to stand back with happy tears as they contemplate the transformation of their home.

This is very much like the work I do with women over 40.

When women get to mid-life, it is here they often realize a profound discontent with life as it is.  Mid-life is when a woman’s body begins to age more rapidly. We experience menopause. Our children are leaving the nest.

Mid-life is often the time for a life-redesign.

And the process is not too different than what they go through on those television shows.

I’ve created a map that I use with my coaching clients to help them with life-redesign. There are basically 8 steps to the process. You can use these 8 steps to create your own life-redesign!

  1. Do an initial inventory – Gather data! It is important to observe and assess where your life is right now. Take note of your physical health, the state of your physical body. Look at where you live, what you do day to day, habits you have, people you surround yourself with. Take an inventory and write it all down. Describe it as it is. Note how you feel as you are describing it. Use lots of adjectives.
  2. Make a wish-list: Circle all the things and feelings you’ve written down that you DON’T want anymore. Turn those things around into the things you DO want and the ways you DO want to feel and write the wants down on a separate piece of paper.
  3. Design your dream life: Take all those things you DO want and weave them into a vision of how your life will be when they are all plugged in. You can create a vision board with images and words or a map or just a description of what life will be like when you’re done with your redesign. Post it somewhere you can look at it everyday.
  4. Create a master to-do list: Now, what specific things do you need to do to make this happen? Join a gym? Hire a life-coach? See a doctor? Sell your house? Get your resume together? Re-prioritize your obligations? Start a blog?
  5. Circle the wagons: It’s time to create a dream team of support people. This team might be people you hire to delegate certain tasks to support you on your mission or it might be friends and colleagues who are willing to pitch in and contribute to the project. It might mean you go to therapy, hire a mentor or seek other consultation with experts. This team might include your health care practitioner, coaching support, a massage therapist, a handy-man or a virtual assistant.
  6. Dig in: Get to work! Dedicate yourself mentally to the tasks at hand every day. Remind yourself this redesign is going to take time, persistence and hard work every day. This is most often where people fall off track. Hang in there and keep moving forward.
  7. Be gentle with yourself: Be sure you are balancing all that hard work with meaningful breaks to attend to the care of your body, mind and spirit along the way. Don’t mistake dedication for being hard on yourself! Be proud of your progress. Nurture yourself.
  8. Celebrate!: Once you have realized your dream and your life is looking and feeling so much better, take time to celebrate yourself. Stand back, admire your work and breathe in to this place of realizing that YOU DID IT! Take time to sink into the new life you have created for yourself and frequently take pause to reflect on how far you have come.

If you should decide you’d like some support along the way, contact me directly to set up a free Connection Session so we can talk about where you are now and where you’d like to be!

Healthy Morning Smoothie Recipes

Healthy Morning Smoothie Recipes

smoothieI have come up with some amazingly delicious healthy morning smoothie recipes I am eager to share with you to start you off on the right foot in 2015!

These are quick and easy (literally takes seconds!)

Though I still LOVE juicing green drinks, smoothies are the quicker go-to and they provide your fiber AND your phytonutrients and protein to get you going for the day.

Here are my top three new morning smoothie recipes – just pick your recipe, combine all ingredients in your Vitamix, blend until smooth and enjoy right away for maximum benefit…

Power Berry Smoothie

1/4 cup organic frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup organic frozen strawberries, 1 inch rhubarb, 1 sprig of fresh mint, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder (derived from grass-fed cows), 1 cup of organic baby spinach, 2 cups of ice water

Lean Green Morning Machine

1 cup organic romaine lettuce, 2 organic kale leaves, 1/4 cup fresh organic parsley, 1 lemon wedge with rind, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water

Orange You Ready for the Day Smoothie

1 medium size orange peeled and seeded, 1 whole organic carrot, 1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water

If you don’t have a Vitamix, by now you know this is my blender of choice and I urge you to go order one now. I have tried the other brands – they collect dust in a cabinet because they don’t measure up to my Vitamix.

My Vitamix sits on my kitchen counter and is used daily. Same machine for 14 years! Vitamix has amazing machines and they will last and last and last… best investment ever.


The BEST blender on the market


Menopause and Anxiety

Menopause and Anxiety

woman in poppy fieldWhile conventional medicine tends to minimize the experience of anxiety for women in mid-life, I have a broader view I am eager to share with you. Menopause and anxiety go hand in hand for many women.

Anxiety can feel like a snowball rolling downhill. It is both mental and physical. Physical symptoms can provoke worry thoughts which can then trigger more physical symptoms and then bigger worry thoughts.

Left unchecked this snow ball rolling downhill can create an avalanche of anxiety disrupting a woman over 40’s ability to function.

Women in mid-life are particularly prone to experiencing anxiety because:

  • Hormones are fluctuating, shifting often wreaking havoc on your sense of mental and emotional balance. Consider how the drastic hormone shifts after delivering a baby affect a woman’s emotions. In mid-life as approach and go through menopause, a similar experience can happen.
  • Signs of aging are often rapidly showing. This alone is enough to send many women into a tailspin as it can feel like a runaway train. Between the numbers on the scale increasing, the changes to our skin many women experience emotional imbalance as they face the fact they’ve landed in mid-life.
  • Our roles are changing. The kids are leaving the nest. We may feel a need to make a career change – or enter the work-force for the first time. Many women in mid-life experience changes in relationship. Divorce. Deaths. All of these big life changes create anxiety.
  • Our adrenal glands are tired. Many women have been going and going non-stop for years and years, running on adrenaline. By the time we hit our 40’s the adrenal glands don’t work like they use to. Adrenal fatigue is a serious issue for many women over 40 resulting in exhaustion and inability to function. There can be a terrible cycle of stress, anxiety and resulting fatigue of the adrenals.

So, what to do? Here are key tips for dealing with anxiety during menopause:

  1. Change the way you breathe. I teach women how to breathe in my job as a therapist and coach. It’s may sound crazy but most people do not know how to utilize their own breath the help themselves feel better. So take note: You need to learn to relax your belly and chest so that you can take in a FULL breath using the full capacity of your lungs first.
    • *Get the deep, full breathing down first. Breathe in deeply and fully, filling your lungs with air to the slow count of 5. Hold it in for 2… THEN, exhale to a slow count of 5 and hold out for 2. Repeat 5 times.
    • *Try the drinking straw breath technique: Take a deep full breath in and then exhale through a drinking straw which forces you to make the exhale TWICE as long as the inhale bringing automatic soothing to the nervous system when repeated 3 times.
    • *Alternate nostril breathing helps balance out the emotions and the overactive worry brain. Using your thumb and your ring finger, close off one nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through the other nostril. Close off that nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the first nostril. Then, inhale into the first nostril and close it off and exhale through the second nostril. Repeat 5 cycles.
  2. Drink your greens. Juicing and blending organic dark leafy greens daily will support healthy adrenals and are reported to assist in balancing your body. The phytonutrients in live greens literally bring life into your body and have a calming affect on the mind and emotions as a result.
  3. Consider kava kava. This is an herb long used on the islands of the Pacific for soothing anxiety. Research indicates the effects of this herb are similar to the benefits of anti anxiety medications. I recommend taking kava in tincture or capsule form from a reputable company I partner with that uses only organic ingredients for all their products. Otherwise, you don’t know what you’re getting buying off the shelf.
  4. Sleep tight. It is crucial to your health and to aiding in the combat against anxiety and menopause to get a good night’s sleep. Easier said than done, I know. That’s why I’ve written a free guidebook on how to create quality sleep specifically for women over 40. Grab your free copy here. 
  5. Practice a little yoga every day. After teaching traditional yoga classes at gyms, studios, office conference rooms, outdoor parks for many years, I know the benefit of yoga. But I also know that women over 40 may not have the time or inclination to go to a full-blown 90 minute yoga class. So, I’ve created a virtual yoga studio for you. In my little online yoga studio you will find videos and audio guided mini classes specifically for women over 40. Some are as short as 4 minutes! Most are 20 or under. That’s because I want you to have an easy way to experience the myriad benefits of yoga in the comfort of your home with simple, gentle postures and meditations on a regular basis. Research shows regular yoga and meditation practice help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
  6. Be Mindful. It’s a practice and a path that will lead you to profound peace in your mind, body and your life. Coming into present moment fully and with acceptance and surrender allows you to meet life as it is and let go of the fear-based clutching and grasping habits that keep you tied in knots. Adopting a seated meditation practice can help build this mindfulness muscle.  Read more about mindfulness practice here.

While menopause and anxiety go hand in hand, there is no reason to suffer. Creating a plan for the way you live your life day to day can bring profound relief. If you feel like you’re in over your head and need more personal coaching support to help you create a new life design, contact me and let’s connect personally.