When I approached my 50s, I sensed an exciting new chapter of creativity and reinvention on the horizon, a new path that would weave together all the threads from across my life that were truly important to me — meaningful work and hobbies, family and friends, travel, community and connection. I see the same wellspring of creativity and passion, and the desire to shed things that no longer serve, in many other wahine at this time of life too.
On the one hand, I had this desire to live more consciously, more purposefully, and on the other, I started feeling completely out of sorts — not my usual, confident self at all. I was able to function in the world okay but things took more effort.
I had been expecting some physical changes with age, but not such a dramatic mental and emotional ride. It dawned on me that unfamiliar feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, overwhelm, and anger were not triggered so much by external factors, but more related to the onset of perimenopause and the natural decline of female hormones.
Along with mental stress, I experienced many unexpected physical symptoms such as persistent migraines, brain fog, bouts of insomnia, body aches and stiffness, heavy periods, and weirdly, breathlessness and new sensitivities to certain foods, I also noticed my body was less responsive to the exercise routines I had relied on, and it seemed like I had to work harder to maintain fitness, strength, weight, and muscle tone.
While most of my life, I considered myself generally quite healthy, my quest to reverse my perimenopausal symptoms, took me on an unplanned journey to find and feel true wellness on a day-to-day basis.
My goals were simple. I just wanted to feel good, feel well, and feel strong and capable again — feel like myself, at least most of the time. I wanted to head into my 50s in good mental and physical shape, able to keep up with my kids and a busy life, and feel better equipped for the decades ahead. One thing I knew for certain, was I could no longer prioritise other things over my wellbeing or ignore my self-care anymore. The pain of doing nothing was simply greater than the pain of moving into positive action.
And so began an interesting and immersive learning process, where over 3+ years part-time, I completed three world-leading certifications, canvassing interesting topics from modern nutrition and exercise science, positive psychology, mental and physical resilience, restorative yoga, breathwork, meditation, and health coaching.
I put what I learned into practice, and discovered what worked best for me, and in particular, for women at this age and stage of life. I saw myself as my first client and I started to feel amazing — more like myself — experiencing more energy, mental clarity, positivity, and confidence. I experienced improvements in every area of my life.
Working out only 30 minutes maximum each week, plus walking with friends, I completely changed my body composition in 3-4 months, gaining strength and tone, and shedding stubborn inches, even though this was not my plan. Seemingly unrelated mobility issues, like hip clicking (related to an old injury), an arthritic toe, and other body quirks have virtually gone.
I am just as strong, if not stronger, than I was in my 30s. All this, without going hungry or going backward, while travelling through the States and Europe. In fact, I eat just as much as I did before, but I choose foods that nourish me and give me energy all day long — and of course, I enjoyed my fav French delicacies when in France in June 2023.
I have adopted positive lifestyle changes that have eased and even reversed many menopausal symptoms, such as muscle wasting, pain and stiffness, exhaustion and insomnia, inflammation, migraines, allergies, anxiety, and a low mood. I have radically reduced gut pain, inflammation, and bloating.
Having more mental fitness and resilience has been the biggest return on investment for me personally. I have my good days and my not-so-good days, like any human being, but many more good days, than not. If I get out of balance, I know how to step back and this is what I call resilience — being able to step out of and return quickly to equilibrium. I am finding the healthier I get, the more I can step in and out of balance with less consequence. Each month that goes by, I notice that my body's metabolism is becoming more efficient with less effort.
Most of all I gained this incredible body of knowledge, based on the latest in scientific thinking and positive and enjoyable lifestyle choices, not fads and false promises. Some of the practices and tools made such a difference to me, and gave me such a good feeling, that it was surprisingly easy to assimilate them into my daily life as genuine habits.
I also discovered a passion for health and wellness, and a healthy desire to help others on their journey towards wellness. The bonus is I fell in love with being creative in the kitchen again and cooking delicious recipes, which I'll share with you.
I took the gems from what I learned, trialed them on myself and others, and packaged them into WellSpring, the holistic women's wellness programme that I personally wanted a few years ago. The feeling of wellbeing is so good it is worth sharing.
If I can do this, so can you. I was not an athlete or a health nut in my past life. I worked on a computer 5 days a week and was fairly inconsistent with exercise and self-care.
And so, as life would have it, the detour becomes the new path...