I'm fine, thanks. That's what we say, isn't it, when asked how are you? I'm fine, thanks. But what if you're not? What if you are sinking, struggling, not fine at all?
I live a fairly public life insofar as I have written about myself on blogs and in books, I show up regularly on Facebook live videos, on Youtube and, now, on the new Midlife Movement Podcast. Most people know me as optimistic, generally happy, always smiling.
If you follow my output regularly, though, you will know that I have had my battles with anxiety and depression throughout my life at various points. I always know when I'm starting to "slide".
There are warning signs that I dare not ignore. These include:
Turning 50 made me realise with a jolt that I probably have more years behind me than in front of me. It threw me for a little while, but then I realised my “midlife crisis” could be turned into a “midlife opportunity” if I could change my attitude. Here are just 7 things I learned at 50:
Knees don’t necessarily bend easily forever! You don’t realise how much you take your body for granted until a part of it starts to hurt! At 50 I learned that regular exercise is no longer an option - I have to walk regularly, drag out my yoga mat and lift weights to keep me strong and stop me from feeling stiff all the time. It doesn’t stop me from feeling 101 when I wake up in the morning, mind, but at least I can do something about how strong and flexible I will be at 60, 70, 80 and beyond!
Failing eyesight isn’t always a bad thing. Without my glasses I can’t see my wrinkles, grey hair or whether my legs need waxing! (Maybe the last...
Perhaps you have heard the term Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPA, but are unsure what they actually are. Maybe your older relatives have asked you to act as an attorney for them, but you’re not certain what the role entails. Here we will cover what LPAs are, what they are used for and how you can make one.
What are LPAs?
An LPA is a legal document that nominates someone that you know and trust to look after your...
I have been getting out and about this week spreading the word about The Midlife Movement and our mission to change attitudes to ageing, one woman at a time!
Following the feature that was published in the online edition of Northampton Chronicle and Echo (my local newspaper) on 13th June, about my own midlife "reinvention", on 21st an interview titled: Find how experiencing a difficult passage through her own midlife inspired Jo Blackwell to create The Midlife Movement appeared on the Talented Ladies Club Website. In it, I talk about how I set up the Membership site and about self employment in general.
On Friday I was a guest of Helen Blaby on BBC Radio Northampton, my local radio station. Helen has just started to experience peri-menopause, with severe hot flushes and mood swings, so she was really happy to use the platform of her radio show to talk about it. The more we talk, the less alone we feel and the more we can work to remove what stigma remains around...
One of the ways you know you've hit midlife is when your clothes suddenly start to feel a bit uncomfortable, as if they don't quite fit, especially around the middle! You might have nailed your "style" years ago, but this is a good time to reassess.
Not because there are any rules any more, and crimpelene, the mainstay fabric of the older woman in our mothers' generation has long since been consigned to fashion scrap yard - thank goodness! No, this is more of a fun way to rethink how we want to be seen in the world going forward.
Clothes don't just keep us warm (and out of court), they make a statement, whether we like it or not. Retail therapy doesn't just deplete our bank accounts - it can give our confidence a much needed boost.
Personal Stylist, Sarah Gray has put a great little course into the Membership about decluttering our wardrobes, and how that can make us feel. I found it fascinating and it's proving to be a popular series of videos with Members.
Seven years ago, I wrote this letter to my father on the anniversary of his passing. Now for Fathers' Day, I am resending it, with love.
Hi Dad, it’s me, Jo.
Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I held your hand, 15 years since I kissed your familiar, Old Spice scented cheek.
I wish you’d allowed us to talk about the fact that you were dying. We all had to say goodbye in so many coded, oblique ways in those seven short weeks of your illness. Do you remember? I said to you, “I can’t imagine a world without you in it,” and that was the closest you allowed me to come to “I love you.”
The nearest you came to admitting you knew you wouldn’t be leaving the hospice was: “do what needs to be done.” You meant, don’t let me suffer and the wonderful staff there made sure that you didn’t.
It’s true that time is a great healer. After 15 years I don’t think about you every single...
Last week I flew into Bordeaux, wearing my other "hat" as a Portrait and Personal Branding Photographer. I had three lovely ladies to photograph, all entrepreneurs, plus some "action shots" of the Business Retreat, run by coach, Karen Kissane. As I was there for the whole three days, I got to take part in some off the sessions and took advantage of the time to take a step back and really think about the direction I am taking with both my work and personal life.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it struck me that some of the exercises I did and the epiphany that I had might be relevant to many of my fellow "midlifers"!
This is a time for us to stop and reflect, a time of so many changes, challenges and opportunities. The Midlife Movement is about so much more than just the menopause!
The exercise that gave me most pause for thought was one on values. We were given a sheet of paper with lists of words like "family", "independence", "trust", "home" etc - you get the picture. The...
Introducing Vivienne Joy, Queen of helping people "get out of their own way" and achieve incredible mindset shifts in life and business. I am delighted that Vivienne agreed to be one of the expert contributors in the Membership and her course, called "7 Steps to Stress Less", is both thought provoking and transformative.
Viv talked to me during Launch Week about her work and why she wanted to be involved with The Midlife Movement. You can find out more about Vivienne and her work here: She Enjoys Business Movement.
Talking about stress, I had a funny old day recently.
I was supposed to be going to London to a meet-up with an organisation I belong to called Project Positive Change, so I got all dressed up (ok, I admit it - that means I brushed my hair...) and went down to the station.
Catching a train and finding places I don't know when I have to be somewhere at a set time are, for me, a couple of those silly, irrational stresses we can all have, so I suppose I was probably a...
In The Midlife Movement Facebook Group we've been talking about self care this week. What it is and whether we do it and why we should if we don't.
I've been watching a BBC comedy on iplayer called Mum. The first episode of series one takes place on the day of the funeral of the lead character, Cathy's, husband. The three series then meander through the next two years of Cathy's life as she comes to terms with widowhood and deals with her daft yet demanding family.
Sounds like a barrel of laughs, doesn't it? :-) It is one of those quiet, very British shows, (think The Detectorists) that observe life and point out its absurdities using exaggeration and characters that verge on the grotesque - and some who tip over.
Through it all runs the thread of Cathy's emerging romantic feelings for her lifelong friend, Michael. Michael has been in love with her since they were 17 but never burdens her with his feelings, simply watching out for her and showering her with kindness. He's always...
So many women tell me they lost their confidence as they approached menopause. For some it's a sudden omg, stop in their tracks moment, often accompanied by a panic attack. For others it's a gradual wearing down, a slowly dawning realisation that everything they had been certain of before suddenly isn't so certain any more.
Sometimes, there seems to be no apparent reason for this loss of confidence. Anxiety, depression, a feeling of being lost can come out of nowhere. So what can cause this loss of confidence and what can we do we do to arrest it? How do we get our mojo back?
1. Physical appearance. Slowing metabolism often results in weight gain, especially around the middle. Facially, we lose collagen and start to notice a softening in the jawline, wrinkles, eye bags - if we feel we don't recognise ourselves in the mirror any more it can knock confidence.