Hi Everyone! In this installment of our Real Talk series, I wanted to discuss how our busy lifestyles can negatively affect our general health and well-being.
LACK OF SELF-CARE
Self-care is something many of us women are lacking in today’s chaotic world. The majority of women interpret self-care as selfishness, but that is the furthest thing from the truth!
As women, we are natural caretakers, but it’s also expected from us. From our husbands to children, grandchildren, and even sick family members; we bend our lives around the needs of those close to us and tend to forget about ourselves.
I have been right there with all of you. There are moments where I feel like a dumping ground for all of my family's problems. While I’m trying to help, give advice, and lend a hand wherever I can, it can be draining. That’s why we need to slow down and remember to take care of ourselves, because if we aren’t around to do everything then all hope is lost for the rest of them!
I know many of us feel like we can do it all, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day. We are all superwoman for what we can accomplish, that’s not even a question! Still, we’re not responsible for the whole world without any breaks in-between.
"Self-care is self-respect."
MY HEALTH SCARE
I recently had a wake-up call about this very issue. I feel as if I give myself enough time to recharge and incorporate some self-care weekly. Where I do fall short, though, are matters of health in terms of the long haul.
I tend to cancel or reschedule doctors' appointments for myself. At the time, it never seems of immediate importance. Now if my husband or daughters did this, I would get on the phone and make the appointment myself. So we need to start taking our own advice.
Maybe I unconsciously postpone doctor appointments because I’m scared of hearing bad news. Logically, this is counterproductive.
"The longer you wait to get a check-up, the greater chance you have of actually having a problem. Most times they are problems that you could have prevented if you went sooner. Which is exactly what happened to me."
Eventually, it caught up to me.
Just recently I was diagnosed with Osteopenia, which in most cases is a precursor to Osteoporosis. My doctor told me that if I hadn’t been working out and strength training, I would’ve already had Osteoporosis.
Gosh, did this shake me up! Because of this, I needed to have immediate parathyroid surgery.
Being laid up for a few months at the beginning of summer was not the way I planned on spending May and June! The scary part was how close I was to Osteoporosis. This is because I was scheduled to get a bone density test over a year ago and kept pushing it off.
I didn’t put myself and my health first.
WHAT STRESS CAN DO TO YOUR BODY
The surgery was much more difficult to recover from than I thought. Even after my surgery, I still wasn’t listening to my body and taking care of myself properly! It sounds a little crazy, but that’s what happened.
I thought I should be feeling better, but I wasn’t. I was exhausted and stressed, feeling overwhelmed because I couldn’t get the things done that needed doing. I wasn’t sleeping well, which didn’t allow for my body to heal.
"Stress is a killer, literally!"
Although I lead a healthy life in terms of working out every week and eating well, I still deal with high blood pressure. It’s been under control for years, but during this time (after my surgery) my pressure was off the charts! Even though I am on medication for this issue, the stress I was putting myself under affected my blood pressure. It became so high that I was losing my balance and I often felt faint from just standing up too quickly.
So I decided to take it easy on myself. I had jumped right back into my usual schedule way too fast and didn’t give my body enough time to fully recuperate. I took time off from the gym and tried not to overbook my days. After taking it slower and giving my body and mind a minute to heal, my blood pressure returned to normal.
I am now just getting back to the gym and my everyday routine. I feel great right now getting back to it all. But going forward I’ll definitely have to be more conscious of what my body is trying to tell me.
PAIGE KELLY’S SELF-CARE TIPS
My good friend and nutritionist, Paige Kelly, just wrote about this topic in her monthly article for the blog. We all know someone, or we are that someone, whose health is affected by this constant whirlwind life we lead.
Check out her post by clicking here.
She has some great tips on how to slow down and take care of our bodies. Exactly what we have been talking about here.
SOCIETY'S EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY
Back in the 1970s, there was this idea that women could have it all. There was even this commercial, I think it was for a perfume, and I still remember the words. Here goes:
“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you're the man!”
Good God, I’m exhausted!! She probably has to clean the pan, too!
This concept still extends in today’s culture, only tenfold, and without the added sexism. This is an ideal version of life, but it isn’t reality. You will face plenty of roadblocks and bumps along the way, derailing your plans to “have it all.”
Having it all, unfortunately, does not mean that we can DO it all. We might try, but eventually, you will fall short in some area of your life. If something suffers, usually it’s our health that gets neglected first.
CALL TO ACTION - WHERE TO START
So how can we start to care for ourselves? I think a great way is to start saying “NO.” Say NO to overextending ourselves. Say NO to adding one more thing to our to-do list. As a matter of fact, say NO to the damn to-do list.
Take time for yourself to do exactly what you want to do.
So let’s start to think about ourselves first. Take some pressure out of our lives and put some joy in its place. Find that thing that makes you happy and do it. Even if it’s just closing your bedroom door, putting a face mask on and relaxing for an hour.
Let’s all show ourselves some self-love. Take care of yourself before you are forced to. Our families will thank us for it!
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Do you know someone who can’t sit down and take a minute for themselves, or is that person you? Let me know if you can relate in the comment section. I would love to hear some of your stories on this subject!
What do you do for your self-care? If you paused to think about that, then you're routine might need some work. If you come up with nothing as an answer I hope this post will encourage you to change that!
Welcome to the Mrs. Stafford Community where no topic is off-limits! I want this blog to be a forum for women my age to be able to discuss everything beauty and fashion, as well as the more sensitive subjects such as menopause and healthy aging. I’m starting my sixties and I feel the best I have in years, and I want to help other women feel the same way. As a community, I think we can come together and start the conversation. This is all about women supporting other women, and trying to have some fun in the meantime.
Attention Ladies: We’d love to hear from you! Your questions are driving the discussions. Don’t hesitate to comment, especially on the “Real Talk” series as well as “Glowing with Mrs. Stafford”. Without you there is no discussion, so don’t be shy!
Hi everyone! I want to start off by saying how blown away I am by the response from the first “REAL TALK” post. When I started this blog, I did state that I felt that social media, or society in general, was not looking at the issues of women who are of a certain age. I can see that there are so many women who felt the same way! When I was checking the comments every day, I could not get over the positive response. There was not one negative comment out there. I also loved reading all the questions and subjects women wanted to talk about.
It’s incredible when you start a conversation and begin to have feedback, realizing that you are not alone in your thoughts. So THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to read, like the post, and give me your thoughts and/or feelings. It’s so empowering to know that we can start our own group and feel comfortable enough to discuss anything. I hope it continues, and more of you comment to let me know topics you want to address. That is what is driving the discussions we’ll have. I will provide answers to all of your questions based on my personal knowledge along with extensive research of trial and error on my part. I will never suggest a product or procedure that I have not personally used.
Now let's get right into it! I would say one of the most popular topics women were talking about was gaining weight during and after menopause. My feelings were confirmed by all of you who said:
“I’m gaining weight for no reason,” or
“I’m doing everything I can and just can’t lose weight, especially in the midsection.”
So, that’s the first thing we’re going to really get into and talk about for our follow up.
The reason I want to start with this topic is that menopause affects essentially every woman’s weight. At the very least, women will see some kind of change in their body type. So, I want to take an in-depth look at this subject. I also personally feel like looking your best makes you feel your best.
I was doing research on why weight gain happens during this stage in a woman’s life. What I kept reading was that menopause does not make you gain weight. Everything said that you just need to watch your diet and exercise more, which is definitely part of the solution. To read this over and over again was so frustrating for me to see. It goes back to that feeling that most women have throughout their lives, that this is all my fault. Which is commonly reinforced through society and the male perspective. Honestly, my doctor even said this to me at one point, but it really just comes down to a lack of knowledge on the subject. Mostly due to the faux pas of discussing menopause openly.
Gaining weight during and after menopause is a real thing, and it’s not your fault! Menopause does make you gain weight due to the change with your hormones. The fact that women lose estrogen during this stage in life will trigger the change in your body, especially in your midsection. This means you have to re-evaluate some of your eating habits as well as trying to incorporate more exercise into your routine. For any woman going through menopause, you have to tweak your diet. This doesn’t mean you are eating unhealthy by any means. It just means your body is reacting differently to certain foods during this time than it did previously. Strength training during menopause is also very helpful for many reasons, such as preventing osteoporosis. But, these are not the only things you should be doing.
Going to your doctor and getting on the right plan for you will really help balance your system. Whether it be a natural plan or HRT for menopause weight gain, find out what is right for you.
For me, the first two years of going through menopause were, simply put, miserable. I was extremely depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin. I ended up gaining about 25 lbs and it took a lot for me to start actively dealing with menopause in a healthy way. I first went to my doctor and started HRT therapy (hormone replacement therapy). This might not be the avenue some women want to go down, but as I stated previously, there are other natural options as well. After this, I began changing small things within my diet such as cutting out wine with dinner every night. When I lost the first ten pounds that's when I signed myself up for the gym. It took me about five years of working out to get me to where I am today. But, once you see even a little change, it will keep motivating you to continue.
I recently began seeing a nutritionist here in Vermont. One of my reasons for seeing her was because my immune system was really being taxed. After we got home from our vacation to Italy, I was sick with the flu for over two weeks. I was getting sick every time I traveled and it seemed to just get worse and worse. Also, I was ready to stop taking estrogen and progesterone and wanted to work with someone to keep myself healthy during that transition. My nutritionist's name is Paige Kelly, MSACN, who has worked in the health care field for over two decades. She has been a breath of fresh air because she is able to give me real nutritional solutions and reasons for the problems most women face. Since I always want to share expert advice with all of you, as well as my personal choices, I decided to ask Paige to collaborate with my blog for a monthly article. When I talked to her about the subject of gaining weight during/after menopause, here is just a bit of information that she gave me.
“Q: I seem to be eating properly, so why do I have such a difficult time with weight loss?
A: It may not be what you are consuming, but subtle clues from the inside out. Did you know that “inner tube” around the waist that decides to join the body during menopause can be a sign of adrenal stress?
This is one component of our endocrine system which is often overlooked as a reason for weight challenges, but is ALWAYS overtaxed and can be a cause of excess weight around the middle.
Let’s explore this possibility and many others when you join us in 2019 to gather tips on why you may be running into roadblocks to obtaining your goals and optimal wellness.
Until then, try to make good choices such as including protein and fat with each meal, one less dessert, one less drink, to minimize suffering when you begin your weight loss plan” - Paige Kelly, MSACN
Having Paige join our community is so special, and once again goes back to my original idea of women supporting women. Again, this just makes me feel so proud to be a part of something that I know will help other women going through the same experiences.
Another expert we are going to bring on board is my trainer, Charlotte Brynn, who I have been working out with for the last fives years. Charlotte is the Executive Director of the Swimming Hole, which is where I workout and swim in Stowe. She has been teaching, coaching, and mentoring for the past 30 years. You’ll find out more about her when we post her first video. I credit her with making me strong, fit, and confident in my ability to always push myself. This month we will be posting three videos with Charlotte. Our first video will be an interview with her and talking about how to get started. In the other two videos, we will demonstrate a basic beginner workout we came up with, and a more advanced workout as well. The workout video will come with a PDF of each workout, which might be easier for some to follow.
As I’ve said, getting into the gym was a big change I made in my life. I was not someone who was into working out, EVER! This was a real game-changer for me mentally and drove me to try other things out of my comfort zone. That was when I learned to swim. This also became a social experience for my husband and I. We found so many friends at the gym who became great friends in our personal lives.
Since I started working on this blog, which my daughter and I started in May, I’ve been busier than usual. Unfortunately, this means I wasn’t making it to the gym as often as I should. Due to this, I could see my body starting to change and put on weight. This taught me was that yes, the gym does work in keeping weight off. Plus, making me feel good along with giving me more energy. So, for the new year, I am going to get back into the gym and the pool more often. It’s always important to make time for yourself, which as women we sometimes forget to do. We have a tendency to take care of everyone else in our lives first and maybe think about ourselves last. Making your needs and your health just as important as everyone else’s in your life is something I think we can all work on.
I am again excited to share the expert information that these women are willing to give. I hope that you’ll be just as excited to follow along. I’ve been lucky enough to find people who are talented at what they do. It makes changing things in your life a bit easier. If you’re working with someone who loves their job, that in return will impart some of that love and enthusiasm to you.
My feeling has always been that there is an answer to every problem. You may not always like the answer, but there is an answer!! Stepping outside your box is scary, but believe me, it will make you feel great about yourself once you accomplish it. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes you may fail, but keep at it and you’ll love yourself at the end for just sticking with it.
There are so many other things we’re going to cover in 2019 based on your requests. I got a ton of comments about skin care and what I personally do to care for my skin. Let me just say I do a lot!! First, I consistently change up my skincare routine and the products I use. I will continue to share all my regimes with you ladies throughout the year. I’ve also been very transparent about getting Botox and fillers. I even posted a video of me getting Botox.
Another way I take care of my skin is always using sunscreen if I’m in the sun. If I’m at the beach, it’s a big hat and bigger sunnies. Growing up in Philadelphia, our vacations were always at the Jersey Shore. So from a young child, all the way through to my 40’s, I was a big sun worshipper. That ended after a very bad burn on my face, which resulted in my skin becoming a mess. With all the products and tools that are out now, you can correct sun-damaged skin and make it healthy again. We’ll discuss all of that along with going to a Medical Spa to talk about laser treatments. It’s amazing what laser treatments can do to help with all different skin issues.
One idea I decided to start this year is “Glowing Skin with Mrs. Stafford.” This will be a monthly post in which we ask all of you to share your skin issues for me to answer. Since each individual has unique skin, I thought this would be the most effective way to approach the subject of skincare.
We have so much in store and I can't wait to share with you what we’ve been working on. Again, I would love to hear your comments and what you are interested in since this blog is for all of you. So PLEASE keep those comments coming!
Happy 2019 to all of you and cheers to making the Mrs. Stafford community a great place to be!
Keep Reading: How To Lose Weight During Menopause: 10 Diet and Fitness Tips to Help You Feel Your Best
Let me start off with saying, I miss Joan Rivers! Whenever she said those three words, "Can We Talk?,” you knew she was going to say something very honest and incredibly funny.
Well, I'm no Joan Rivers, but let's talk anyway!
I’ve been planning on writing this post for awhile. I just needed to find the courage and how to articulate myself properly. This is going to be raw and extremely honest. I wanted to explain my reasoning behind starting this blog, which I did not come up with overnight.
As social media has grown over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching these young beauty and makeup bloggers. I’ve learned so many tips from watching their tutorials. Within this new forum I noticed that women my age were not being represented. So, I came up with the idea of starting the Mrs. Stafford blog.
"I want to share with other women my experiences, my interests, starting my 60’s, and plenty of other topics that we never get a chance to talk about."
As women today, at every age, we have so many choices to make. Your early 20's is typically trying to navigate becoming an adult, and finding out what you want out of life. This could include finishing your higher education, beginning your career, and doing the dating thing. In your 30's is when you start having a better understanding of who you are as a person. You’re furthering your career or still deciding on one that makes you happy, and possibly thinking about starting your own family. Choices. So many choices!
Having said that, when you pass those milestone decades, as a woman society starts to expect less from you. As if you should have already accomplished everything in your 20’s and 30’s. This is the furthest from the truth. For example, at age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA and Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
"Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40. Life doesn’t stop after a certain age. You actually have the ability to do more with the wisdom of life experiences to back you up."
Growing up in the 70's, I was a young teen at the beginning of the Women's Movement. It was a pretty amazing time with lots of women who were incredible role models. There was Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, First Lady Betty Ford, just to name a few. These were women I read about every day.
Their fight was for women to have choices in their life. So, let's not tear down women for their choices, or for not following the expectations of society. Let's applaud them and support them because that means that you can make your own independent choices, too. We're not all the same, each of us are different, and that's what makes us so damn special!
Now after saying that, we still go through so many of the same things. Being a young woman and all the "fun" that brings. Going through pregnancy or falling in love. Becoming more mature, the lovely time in life called menopause... and on, and on, and on! Everyone out there is always telling us how to feel and what to do with our lives. How amazing and fulfilling it is to be young and pregnant, or single, or a mother, or a wife, or to do what we do in our careers blah, blah blah!!!! Sometimes, each and every one of these things is awful, terrible, thankless, and just plain stinks. But let's not say it out loud because someone might hear!
"Well, on this blog, we're going to say it all out loud!"
Since I am a woman who has gone through it all, I can talk about these topics, and speak honestly about these life stages. No matter what age you are, life can be difficult. You won’t always see things through rose colored glasses, which people like to portray on social media.
No one told me how terrible menopause was, and the depression that sometimes comes along with it. I had never dealt with depression before, or weight gain in places I never gained weight. The unexpected symptoms took their toll on me... Waking up in the morning and just wanting to bite someone's head off. My eye lashes actually started to fall out for Christ sake - no one ever told me about that!!! Jesus take the wheel!!!
So I'm going to be completely transparent in this blog. I'll tell you all my beauty regimens, makeup tips, and life hacks I’ve learned through life and from being a mother. You’ll see me working out with my good friend Charlotte Brynn in the gym. You'll see me getting botox & fillers at Dr. Lane’s office, because no one gets older without having wrinkles. I’ll document my travels with me and my Hubby, plus lots of other things that make up my life now.
The media presents women over 50 only as grandmothers... What a joke! In this blog, you'll see the choices I've made to age gracefully and live fabulously. Whether you do the same or not, I would love you to be part of the conversations going forward. This is all about women supporting other women, and trying to have some damn fun in the meantime. Hope you like it!!
With all that being said, what would you like to talk about on this blog? I'm an open book. So let me know in the comment section below!