Work-life Balance Coaching: An Essential Guide for Women’s Health After 40

November 21, 2017

Work-life Balance Coaching: Women’s Health After 40

When I advise women about maintaining through health through the years, I often devote at least some of my time on work-life balance coaching. For women’s health after 40, this advice is particularly important. That’s because it’s during this time that many women are mothers to children and/or teens, and maintaining work-life balance is usually an intense and ongoing challenge.

While it’s practically a given that women in their 30s, who often have young children, will face difficulty in finding a balance between devoting time to both their jobs, their families, and themselves, women may be surprised to find this can be even tougher to navigate in their 40s. Why? Women in their 40s often are mothers of tweens and teens, who not only have increasingly demanding school, sports, and social schedules, but may also be very difficult to parent. For women in their 40s, then, it’s usually quite tough to figure out how to juggle it all.

Practice Self-Care: A key part of women’s health after 40 and the work-life balance coaching I do that involves helping women, especially mothers, is to remember the importance of caring for themselves! As you’ve probably heard flight crews advise, “You need to put on your own oxygen mask first, before attempting to put masks on your children (or anyone else).” That saying rings true for women and can be applied to our everyday lives. When we women have demanding jobs, busy kids, spouses, and pets to give attention to, caring for ourselves often falls dead last. It’s also often the very first thing to be dropped from the “to-do” list.

But caring for yourself is immensely important. That means eating well (many women admit their kids eat far better than they do), drinking only in moderation, exercising, getting to doctor’s appointments, AND taking time for yourself. Do what makes you happy and helps you relax, whether that be reading a good book, getting a massage, meeting friends for kid-free meals out, or watching your favorite television show. The healthier and happier you are, the better you can perform in other areas of your life.

Relationship Goals: Up there with neglecting yourself is neglecting your marriage. Married couples with children often find themselves connecting less often, having fewer conversations about things other than what needs to be done, arguing more, having sex less, and failing to make kid-free time a priority. If this sounds like you, know that you aren’t alone.

But just because you’ve fallen into a rut like millions of other married couples, doesn’t mean you need to stay in one. In my work-life balance coaching, I advise women who have identified multiple areas in their lives they wish to improve to prioritize them in order of importance and then focus on improving just one aspect at a time. So, if you know you need to connect with your spouse more often, try scheduling just one kid-free night per month. Once this has become a habit, add in something else. Trying to overhaul your entire relationship overnight is a tall order, but prioritizing which areas need attention first, you’re more likely to succeed.

Just Say No: Speaking of prioritizing, a huge component of work-life balance coaching is not instruction on how to “do it all.” Rather, it involves helping women identify what they want to achieve and then prioritizing what they need to do to make it happen AND what they don’t. That means simply saying “no” to some activities, requests, and obligations. It might mean skipping PTA meetings, telling your daughter she needs to pick one winter sport, rather than three, or opting not to go to your in-laws’ every Sunday night for dinner.

Doctoring Up: As you age, seeing your physicians and getting the right tests becomes increasingly important. In your 40s, your body is going through changes—some you may notice, and others you may not. Your bones take a hit, losing 1% per year beginning in your mid-30s. Your metabolism may slow further, and your libido often takes a nose-dive. Your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure may be tougher to keep in check, too. Many of your organs are now at higher risk for developing cancer or disease, too.

To combat these threats, eat a varied diet high in antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, wear sunscreen outside, exercise regularly, and be sure you’re getting the right levels of vitamins and minerals each day. Regardless of family history, you should continue exams and screenings begun earlier in life, and should begin screenings for diabetes, breast cancer, and heart disease during this decade.

Stress Management: Work-life balance coaching always focuses on stress management when you’re in your 40s. While you may be in a better position than in your 30s financially speaking, you’re often facing increased stress from worrying about and dealing with your angsty teens and your aging parents. While your career may be reaching an all-time high, you’re probably also saddled with much more responsibility work-wise than you were in your 20s and 30s. In addition, you’re at higher risk for depression during this decade than you will be later in life. Self-care is important for managing your stress, so see above for tips on looking out for YOU.

Work It Out: And there’s more good news—many of those bodily changes you’ll see in women’s health after 40 and any increased stress you may be experiencing can be fought off with the help of exercise! Working out regularly can help you hang on to bone mass, boost your mood and your metabolism, and keep your heart and brain healthy. No need to kill yourself at the gym though. Feel free to choose a low-impact activity you enjoy, such as strength training, yoga, walking, or swimming. If you prefer something a little more intense, try you might try running, kickboxing, or cycling.

That’s it! Now that you know my tips for women’s health after 40, go out there and make it happen! And remember, work-life balance coaching can help you lead a healthier life, so keep checking back for more useful information on how to keep all those balls in the air—and get the most out of your life!