Women in their 40s enter a life stage that leaves no choice but to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Perimenopause—the decade or more that leads up to menopause—has been described as a “zone of chaos” due to the hormonal changes we can experience. Along with physical changes—a shift in identity occurs that impacts our psychological and emotional well-being. It can feel disheartening to see our daily performance suffer because of sleep problems, brain fog and hot flashes. So many of the symptoms we can experience are also unpredictable. This further adds to the stress because it’s hard to predict what our capacity will be on a given day. While we experience a lot of change, the expectations around us–in particular at work and on the homefront–often stay the same or escalate. We may not have a mindset that gives us permission to ask for help. We may also expect ourselves to continue to go after unrealistic expectations, setting us up to feel inadequate.
Mindset is a key factor in our ability to work with limiting beliefs around what aging means to us and how we meet our needs for validation. If you’ve always taken pride in being the best at work and the most ambitious—your identity is going to take a hit if you find yourself without the energy or motivation required to keep that aspect of yourself going strong. Similarly, women typically give up so much of their time and energy to caring for other people’s needs in the first half of their lives that it’s common to feel unanchored, bored or listless due to a lack of purpose as kids grow up and leave home.
While every woman’s experience of their 40s is unique and there isn’t a one size fits all approach, we do need a self-authorized version of ourselves. That’s why mindset is so important. We need a supportive belief system in place to advocate for ourselves from a health perspective AND to give ourselves what we need for our emotional well-being. A compassionate, growth-oriented mindset will help us engage with the changes that occur during this time of our lives in a more empowered way.
Self-Discovery Activities for Women in their 40s:
- Mindset – learn how to work with your inner experience so you are set up to navigate the changes in a more empowered and supportive way
- Mind-body – practices such as yoga, meditation and breath work to calm stress
- Connection – a supportive network or environment allows you to share your experiences and feelings with others who are going through similar changes to provide community and understanding
- Self-care – diet, exercise and sleep hygiene become critically important
- Values – take time to connect with your values and priorities (they’ve likely changed)
Liane Wansbrough | High-Performance Coach