How are you? Fine?
Ok - how are you really?
I talk to a lot of women in their middle years and one thing that many of them say to me is that they feel tired. Not just tired through lack of sleep - though that is a topic in itself - but weary.
Very few of us get to this stage in our lives without worrying and striving and taking wrong turns and picking ourselves up again and again and again. We've seen governments come and go, catastrophic climate events, social campaigns. We've lived through a dizzying period of technological change and, more recently of course, through a global pandemic. And that is just a snapshot. Of course we're weary.
How do you protect yourself? How do you ensure that you don't get overwhelmed by the troubles of the world? It's all very well to put up a screen, to observe without absorbing, but for many of us, negativity, pain and suffering inevitably leech through and sap our energy. And how can we help anyone if we are constantly depleted?
The secret to protecting your energy is to consciously replenish - to look after yourself diligently and fully and regularly. And to get into that habit now, before you reach a point of crisis. So how do you do that?
There are several different kinds of rest, including:
Active Rest eg: exercise, painting, reading
Passive Rest eg: sleeping, watching TV, having a facial
Restorative eg: a gentle walk in the woods, talking to a friend
We need a mixture of these types of rest and I'd love to know how YOU replenish your precious energy.
Whatever we do, it's crucial to set aside time to do it regularly. Make an unbreakable date with yourself in your diary, recruit the support of your partner, family, friends, children. As the saying goes, you can't pour from an empty cup and it benefits everyone around you if you are able to rest and replenish not only weekly, but on a daily basis. Even 15 minutes a day of time alone with your chosen vehicle of replenishment can make a huge difference to your overall well being and resilience.
It's funny, isn't it - so many women feel guilty for doing what they need to do to stay healthy and happy. If that's you, midlife is the perfect time to learn to put yourself first. It's not selfish or self indulgent, it's as necessary as brushing your teeth.