Mid-Life Support for Women Over 50

Mid-Life Support for Women Over 50

heavy woman in desertI have several clients over the age of 50 who have expressed to me there is a big difference in the life challenges of women age 45 who still have younger children and women over 50 whose children have left the nest and who are experiencing life post-menopause.

I must agree.

Having just turned 49 myself, being well past menopause (as a result of necessary surgery at age 44) and seeing 2 of my kids living on their own independently, I can see that the challenges we face at this stage are different than my 45 year old friend who gave birth to twins two years ago.

So, this got me thinking… You don’t need to feel like you’re out in the desert all by yourself…

I truly believe when women get to the stage in life when the really BIG changes have set in it’s time for some live, face-to-face group support with other women who really get it. A group where women can feel safe in expressing themselves openly and honestly and gain some practical tools for living life fully after the age of 50.

I truly love supporting women with holistic lifestyle coaching through video-conferencing and over the phone but there is something particularly impactful about gathering face-to-face, in person to feel the connection with other women.  In olden days, women gathered together to sew or do the wash. When we were younger women, we gathered with our young children for play groups, Bunko or book club. As we move into the second half of life it is all too common to lose this camraderie.

Beginning in February 2016 I will be hosting two live, face-to-face support groups for women in mid-life here at the brick-n-mortar location of Wonders Wellness Center. It will be 8 weeks of group sessions with a choice between a morning time or an evening time. I am asking for $125 non-refundable deposit to commit to the group’s formation and a balance of $125 at the first meeting (if you have financial concerns certainly speak with me privately for personalized arrangements).

Meetings will be either Tuesdays February 2-March 22 6:00 to 7:15 pm OR Thursdays February 4-March 24 10:00 to 11:15 am.

Care to join me? Send me an email to lynn@wonderscounseling.com with Midlife Support in the subject line and let’s connect.

Healthy Holidays? 10 Tips to Help Women Over 40

Healthy Holidays? 10 Tips to Help Women Over 40

holidaysocksoncouchYou’re a woman over 40. You’ve seen a few holiday seasons. You might even be wired to expect the usual over-indulgence, lack of sleep, stressful schedules, a long list of things that have to get done and a calendar that is over-booked.

But what if this year could be different?

I’m dreaming of a nice, easy holiday season… Are you with me?

I’ve come up with 10 tips to help women over 40 work in that direction. Who says you can’t have healthy holidays?

  1. Politely bail out.  Do you really have to go to all of those parties, gatherings, galas on your calendar? Go through your calendar and mindfully consider that there are many events and obligations that you are not actually obligated to attend. Aim to slash at least a third off the list. Send a warm, polite message to the hosts and let them know you have a very important person who has shown up really needing your time and attention that night. (It’s not a lie! YOU are that very important person who desperately needs some peace and quiet).
  2. Hire a teenager to decorate, wrap and bake for you. This year I hired a very reliable, creative, dependable 16 year old girl (cough, cough… it was my daughter! Hey – she got to make some money and I bought myself time and energy!) to decorate the tree, the house, to bake holiday items for our neighbors and to help get all the gifts wrapped. This allowed me a chance to get in more yoga, more exercise time AND it kept me from tasting those baked items that are not on my healthy eating plan.
  3. Walk on. Walk off. I can’t rave enough about how two super-brisk walks every day is keeping me on track. It gives me time to get my lungs and heart pumping while my brain is able to work through some solutions to challenges and my spirit gets to connect with Nature. You will feel so much more ALIVE if you adopt this practice into your life. Just 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes in the late afternoon does WONDERS.
  4. Breathe breaks.  Remember in the old days how people used to take a coffee break or go outside to have a smoke? While ditching the unhealthy habits we lost the mental and emotional break from work by not taking those breaks. I recommend a 3 minute breathing break every hour during your work day or even if you’re running errands. Stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes and take some nice, slow, deep breaths.
  5. Eat at home. I am the first one to admit I’m a foodie. I love to try new restaurants and I love to sample the seasonal fares at our favorite places. But I’ve noticed since committing to prepare our meals and eat at home there are a few wonderful benefits. My husband and I cook together and it’s a great bonding time. We turn on some tunes and enjoy chopping and prepping delicious, healthy whole-food meals together. We eat healthier when we eat at home. We also save so much money this way.
  6. Keep your bedtime routine intact. It’s all too easy to have the regular routine completely derailed during the holidays.  You need your sleep. Over 40 it’s all the more important for our circadian rhythms to stay intact.  Go to bed at the same time and set an alarm so you wake up at the same time. That beauty rest we heard about growing up is a real thing. To feel alive and well, for our metabolism to do its job, we need our sleep.
  7. Sing some holiday songs to lower your stress. Yep. According to Stacy Horn, author of Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, “Singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.” Who knew?
  8. Aromatherapy for everyone. There is a reason we naturally love all those holiday scents. Peppermint is uplifting and invigorating. White fir is grounding and calming. Cinnamon and clove are warming. And if you can get these scents in the form of essential oils you get the benefit of boosting your body’s immune system and helping fight off viruses, bacteria and other unwanted microbrial creatures.  Invest in some quality essential oils and a good diffuser and keep your house and office smellling holiday fresh for all round good health.
  9. Hang out under the mistletoe.  Hugs and kisses go along way in keeping us feeling connected. Research shows that loving physical affection is good for mental and physical well-being.
  10. Don’t forget to relax regularly. Once you’ve created some white space in your schedule after politely bailing out and hiring a teen for the holiday tasks, don’t fill up this time with other things to do. Use this time to RELAX. Take a soaking bath with epsom salts. Go to a restorative yoga class. Sit down and meditate. Curl up with a low key movie and a cup of chamomile tea.

 

Tis the Season for Teas: Your Herbal Tea Guide

Tis the Season for Teas: Your Herbal Tea Guide


Nothing like cozying up with a hot cup of fragrant herbal tea when the temps get chilly.

This is a guide to some fantastic  organic herbal teas to stock up on for the holidays. They come in beautiful packages and make great gifts as well! (As with all herbs, it’s important to first check with your health care practitioner to make sure that there are no potential interactions with medications). 

  1. Wake up with Dawn Chorus Tea:

    This blend is a the ideal way to start the day! Who needs coffee? The blend of Organic Nettle leaf, organic and fair trade Green Rooibos Tea, and organic Rose Petals has all the kick you need without the caffeine. The floral taste blends with a green herbal finish and the aroma is rosy and herbaceous. You brew and allow it to steep for just 3-4 minutes yielding a beautiful golden amber color. Order Dawn Chorus Tea HERE

  2. herbal teaFor Women in Menopause try Flashes Tea:

    This herbal blend helps many of my clients and friends over 40 to cool and soothe those hot flashes that come along with menopause. It is truly tasty with an all organic blend of  Motherwort herb, Chickweed, Sage, Dandelion leaf, Elder flowers, Oatstraw and Violet leaf. Buy Flashes Tea HEREsipping tea2

  3. Love Tea…Because Love is All that Really Matters!

    You need not be a romantic to appreciate the effects of this heart opening and warming herbal tea blend. An all organic floral combination of Rose petals, Damiana leaf, roasted Cacao nibs, Orange peel, Cinnamon and Vanilla, the flavor of this tea is wonderfully warm and just LOVE-ly! Order Love Tea HERE

  4. Memory Zest Tea for our Over 40 Brains:

    Do you ever walk in a room and completely forget what you went looking for? Forget where you put your keys? Blank out on the name of your neighbor? It happens! This tea might just help improve memory! It has bright, refreshing flavor and a soothing aroma. After steeping for 4-5 minutes it will have a lovely yellow hue. This all organic blend is made from herbs known to promote brain health: Ginko, Gotu Kola, Peppermint, Rosemary, Red Clover, Ginger and Stevia. Get your Memory Zest tea HERE

  5. Winter Spice Tea to Warm Up by the Fire:

    This all organic blend is stress-busting as well as warming with a spicy, festive combination of Cinnamon bark, Eleuthero Root, Dandelion, Astragalus, Ginger, Clove, Cardomom and Chicory roots. It’s a bold flavor perfect for sipping while catching up with relatives and friends over the holidays. Warm up with Winter Spice Tea HERE

  6. cup of teaWomen’s Balancing Tea:

    A daily herbal tea option to help keep your mood, hormones and outlook in balance, this organic herbal blend provides a lightly floral and beautifully fragrant treat containing Peppermint, Nettle, Dandelion and Raspberry leaves plus Horsetail, Ginger, along with Rose and Chamomile flowers. Order Women’s Balancing Tea HERE

Along with these loose teas you might want to order some tea-brewing items to make your tea time an easy and wonderful daily ritual. Take a look at what Mountain Herb Company has to offer HERE.

*The information in this article is not intended to cure or treat disease, illness or disorder. Please always seek guidance from your healthcare practitioner before consuming any herbal supplements in the case there may be interactions with medications you are taking.

I proudly partner with Mountain Rose Herb Company as an affiliate partner because I use their products and know them to the highest quality and integrity products on the market. If you should choose to purchase any of these products using the links in this article, I will receive a percentage payment and utilize these funds to provide free and helpful content to the Wonders Wellness community.

Traveling Solo is Good for the Soul

Traveling Solo is Good for the Soul

lynncaliforniaDon’t get me wrong. I LOVE traveling with my husband. He’s the best travel companion. We gave our relationship the ultimate test with an early-on ski trip together (and I had never skied prior!) that led to an engagement a year later and it set the stage for a life full of travel adventures as a couple.

I have always traveled. Apparently, my astrological chart confirms I was born to travel. And that I have. This rolling stone gathers no moss, for sure.

I inherited this from my father. He encouraged me to try out for one of two spots for fourth graders to go on a school trip to Costa Rica (which was still a third world country back in 1976 by the way). I had to learn Spanish, had to demonstrate I was not a picky eater and that I would respectfully follow directions. I was selected and off I went at age 10 without my parents.

Later, Dad gladly paid to send me on a trip across the pond to sing with my school choir in Cathedrals all across Europe.

He surprised me with a spontaneous trip to Germany to meet my family tree that was quite an adventure. Autobahn and all.

Before you come to the conclusion my family was wealthy I will stop you right there. We were not wealthy. Not at all. The thing is, my father believed in ensuring that my siblings and I experienced the world beyond whatever town we lived in. For that I am grateful…

Traveling with others can be a lot of fun. But there is something about going it alone… Traveling solo is good for the soul.

After my first marriage ended officially in 2004 I pulled money from savings and traveled to Thailand on a personal retreat. It was a 30 hour journey from Atlanta to Los Angeles t0 Tai Pai to Bangkhok to Koh Samui. I spent 9 days in the land of 10,000 smiles. My heart was healed and my life changed. Something about going all the way to Thailand all by myself was transformational. Once there, I met up with a small group and a teacher with whom I meditated, ate delicious meals and explored together. But it was the getting there and the returning, sitting in airports on layovers by myself that gave me time and space to contemplate my life at a very deep level.

Over the past 11 years I have traveled solo to the Oregon Coast, Sedona, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee for various workshops and retreats. This year I decided to take another solo trip without any particular agenda. This time to Southern California. With all of my travel I’d never been to Southern California so I went. lajollaAll by myself. No set agenda. It was my mini Eat-Pray-Love experience.

I actually had booked the ticket with intention of attending a retreat someone was hosting but the retreat ended up not being a fit for me so I decided to create my own solo retreat. Life changing decision.california morning walk

I slept when I felt like sleeping often hitting the hay by 8:00 pm. I meditated with the rising sun, watched the waves roll in at the coast. I did a lot of people- watching and explored the streets of various neighborhoods in San Diego, Los Angeles and all up and down the coast between. I ate all of my meals (except one) alone. And I loved every minute.

While in LA I scheduled a private session with one of my mentors who lives there and I attended a 3 hour spiritual workshop with a teacher I’ve been wanting to meet in person. Other than that, I was all on my own. And it was lovely.

After a lifetime of raising children, caring for clients, attending to the needs of others, it’s high-time for solo time.

When on your own, there’s no agenda and no schedule other than the one you create for yourself. I highly recommend it.

But don’t be surprised if being solo feels foreign at first. Give yourself some time to work through the discomfort of the unfamiliar and you will get to the other side and feel the freedom.

My final evening of my Southern Cali trip I was having a nice dinner at the bar in the hotel watching the football game and enjoying hearing the laughter and conversations around me. A woman came up to me and said, “How can you just sit here all alone?” I smiled and said, “It is glorious. You should try it!”

I returned home to Atlanta with a clearer mind, lots of inspiration, a collection of amazing photos, and a renewed energy. My soul was fed. And I will do this again. Regularly.

 

 

How Social Media can Enhance Authentic Connections

friends social media

Humans are wired to want, need, crave authentic connection. Yet, it it is sorely lacking in today’s society. These hand-held devices are drawing everyone’s focus down to a screen rather than having face-to-face connection. There is no arguing with the fact that we all need to look up from our phones and tablets and have a real eye-t0-eye conversation with the people around us.

And there is that pitfall of using social media to present some false front of the perfect life. That’s an entirely additional article I will write another day.

But here’s the thing… Social media is too often the baby thrown out with the bath water.

And I am on a mission to teach therapists, coaches, healers and other heart-based business owners that authentic relationships are the bedrock for good business as well as to encourage my clients to utilize this powerful tool in a way that enhances life.

How did I become an expert on this matter? By making bone-head mistakes along the way. Trial and error. Oh… how I have erred. I have made every mistake in the book and have learned along the way what to do and what not to do. So, now I’m sharing my tried and true conclusions.

Like any tool, it should be handled mindfully and utilized in very particular ways for optimal results. If the result we are seeking is real relationships, there are specific tips to heed.

Here are some potent DOs and DON’Ts :

  1. DON’T fall into to the social media time-suck. Set your timer and spend only a designated amount of time each morning and each evening on social media utilizing the following tips for how to efficiently utilize social media to connect with others.
  2. DO share, tag, and thank. Scroll through your feed (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Google+) and look for truly inspiring articles, memes, quotes posted by other people and click the share button, tag the person who originally posted thanking them.
  3. DON’T over-share others’ content.  Don’t share more than 2 items within 30 minutes. Shoot for 4 – 6 shares over the course of a day max.
  4. DON’T over-share your personal stuff. Once/week share something from your personal life – a photo of your daughter receiving her award or a cute pic of you and your hubby celebrating an anniversary but don’t over-do it. Your personal social media page/timeline/profile is not the place to document your deepest fears, your daily schedule, your every pondering.
  5. DO comment with sincerity, kindness and encouragement. Make a point to comment on posts made by others in your feed. Find something sincere and kind to say about what they have posted. If they are sharing they are having a hard time look for an encouraging word to offer.
  6. DON’T be saccharine-sweet. The goal here is for people to know you’ve read (heard and seen) what they are sharing and that you are interested and you care. Don’t over-do the sentiment.
  7. DON’T stir the political pot. You know what they say about opinions? Everybody has one but not everyone wants to see yours. If the goal here is to enhance authentic connection, social media is not the place to share your political position unless you want to clean out your friends-n-followers list to only be people who agree with you. If you feel led from the depths of your soul to bravely post political, by all means go for it. But just understand you may get blocked by a few people.
  8. DO use private messaging. Private messaging people to follow up on something they posted to connect more personally can be a wonderful way to strike up a conversation 1:1. Keep it real, keep it brief and be helpful… maybe offer some support or just tell them how much you appreciate something they’ve done/offered.
  9. DON’T use private messaging to hound or push. Private messaging should be used judiciously and respectfully but never to push what you’re selling or to bug people. Don’t overuse it or you’ll bug people.
  10. DON’T post to promote too often. This is a slippery slope. A sticky wicket. We want to be able to utilize social media to share with others the services, programs and products we have to offer and market our businesses but it must be done in a way that maintains the integrity of our relationships. Be very careful about only posting when you’re promoting or you will turn off more people than you can count. I made this mistake earlier on. It was an innocent mistake but a mistake none-the-less. Let your friends promote your stuff and keep your social media interactions for authentic connection.
  11. DO allow social media to lead to voice to voice or face to face connection. Ultimately, authentic relationships must go beyond the keyboard and screen. Invite social media friends to give  you a call, jump on Skype, meet for coffee. I have developed life-long friendships and very meaningful business relationships with people I’ve “met” on social media.

 

When Professional & Personal Growth Intersect

When Professional & Personal Growth Intersect

solo woman clouds

 

It stands to reason that as we grow professionally there is often an opportunity to grow personally. And as we grow in our personal lives, the shape of our professional work can often shift and change.

 

What happens when the two worlds run into each other?

Picture this…

You become friends with someone you have worked with professionally over the past year. In the beginning the friendship is sharing coffee together, commiserating over common frustrations, offering supportive insight to one another.  You refer clients to one another for your respective business services.  You feel excited because finally you have a friend who really understands who you are as a professional and you feel you can trust her. Prior to this your two worlds have been fairly separate.

Believing you have a new friend you can really trust, you let your professional persona relax. And so does she. You decide you can trust her and you share with her in confidence a struggle you’ve been having with a common colleague. You allow yourself to be vulnerable. She responds with support and you feel safe. You share more. Then it’s her turn. You listen to her vent and provide supportive suggestions. This goes back and forth a few times.

Then the tide turns.

As you share more and more you begin to see aspects of each other that begin to feel a bit uncomfortable for both of you. You noticed some subtle raw edges in her comments and perhaps she sees the same in yours.

One day, when you were very busy with your clients,  she blows up at you angrily accusing you of not being a real friend because you didn’t respond to her texts as quickly as she needed or expected.

She then proceeds to accuse you of being insincere and tw0-faced.

You feel shocked and attacked.  At this point you could allow yourself to angrily retaliate. You could explain the reason for not responding… but instead you decide to retreat. You walk away without saying anything in response because you are just shocked and confused.

The thing is, she comes from a family that yelled and screamed at one another as a normal course of working through things. For her this was normal between people who care about each other. For you it felt like nothing short of personal attack and in your world is not the way people who care about each other behave.

After a few days, you decide to reach out to discuss things calmly but it’s too late. In her mind your retreat was an unforgivable insult and her part of this was just the way people who care about each other express themselves honestly.

The greater trouble here is that you and she are still colleagues. You have to find a way to grow from this and preserve your professional status.

Now what?

You have stepped into an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  Here are some practical steps you can take in this scenario:

  1. Own your part of the conflict. Offer a sincere apology for your piece without any comments that are attacking or defensive. Don’t expect her to respond as you hope.  Just do it so you will know you have done all you can do.
  2. Leave some breathing room. Space and time are the great salve. Come back to it after you’ve both had a chance to sit with it.
  3. Be clear about the roles you and others play in your life. Too much cross-over between personal and professional is exactly what led you to this awkward situation as it is.
  4. Be discerning as to whom you share your dirty laundry. Everyone has dirty laundry so there is no need for shameful hiding rather be very selective. And maybe don’t dump out the whole basket all at once.
  5. Ask yourself how this experience can help you expand in your ability to feel compassion for self and others. Try to see things from her perspective. Understand there is a root-reason for all behavior and look for the soft-spot.
  6. Find ways to support her professionally even if the personal friendship has been damaged.
  7. Be kind, polite and respectful no matter what. Even if you never discuss what happened and you never grab coffee together again, aim for opportunities to show her you are still a good person and a reliable professional.
  8. Avoid talking to others about what happened. The last thing you want as a professional is to be seen as a gossip. If you need to process aloud, find one long-trusted confidante, a therapist, a spiritual mentor or a private coach. Otherwise, zip the lip.
  9. Look for ways this experience can help you grow as a professional. Perhaps there is a silver lining of divine wisdom here that will lead you to develop a new program, training or write a great blog article.
  10. Take it to the meditation cushion. This is a golden opportunity for personal growth. Ask yourself what parts of yourself have been illuminated by this experience that you otherwise were overlooking. Practice introspection and personal responsibility minus self criticism and harsh judgment.

There is time and space to keep separate our professional and personal paths in life but there are times when they cross. As sticky as it might get, it is a wonderful opportunity for growth all the way around.