Congratulations, you’ve been on this planet for at least half a century– or maybe more! Each decade brings new changes and challenges. You can’t control the clock, but there’s a lot to aging is in your hands. Here are 10 things that women over 50 need to stop doing.
By 50, you know what Heraclitus was talking about when he said, “The only constant in life is change.” Yet we fear the inevitable because our brains can’t anticipate the outcome. In fact, we are hardwired to resist uncertainty—preferring the predictable. Fear of change, or Metathesiophobia, paralyzes us from taking action. It makes us stay in unfulfilling or toxic relationships, keeps us in unsatisfying careers, and stops us from letting go of things that no longer serve our lives. While change may seem terrifying, what’s scarier is living this one life we get inauthentically. Many times, what’s holding us back from making important changes is the stories we tell ourselves. Recognize that you are the one coming up with those stories. You are the main character in this book you get to write. Make every chapter worth reading.
Feeling Guilty for Saying No
The old D.A.R.E. adage, “just say no” can apply to more than peer pressure. When you’re younger, you might say “yes” to things you’d really rather decline out of obligation, or because you don’t want to appear mean or selfish. It’s also just basic conflict avoidance: it might be easier to agree to something at the time, but you’ll end up resenting it in the long run. When you’re over 50, you can let that guilt go. Time is precious! Don’t spend it doing things you don’t want to do. A simple “no” will do. No explanation needed.
Waiting for Someday
Mid-life is called mid-life because your life is literally halfway over. Sorry to be blunt, but that’s the case. There’s no time like the present to start checking off those bucket list items. Learn to surf, sign up for an acting class, go camping, see the places you’ve always dreamed about. There are seven days of the week, and “someday” isn’t one of them. Stop waiting around and make the most of today.
Ignoring Your Health
Fifty is a fun milestone when you get to start worrying about blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Unfortunately, ignoring health issues doesn’t make them go away, and can make them worse if they go unchecked. In addition to your annual physical, make sure you get your eyes checked annually (50 is the age when a lot of people start requiring readers). It’s also time to see a periodontist. Research shows that gum disease is linked to a myriad of health problems, including diabetes and other autoimmune conditions, cardiac disease, and more. It’s also important to watch what goes in that (hopefully healthy) mouth. Stick to whole foods, avoiding processed foods, sugar, and too much sodium. Here’s a handy guide to Healthy Eating Over 50 and Foods That You Should Never Touch If You’re Over 50. Daily exercise is important, too!
Believing Weight Gain Is Inevitable
Just because you’re age is on an upward trajectory, doesn’t mean the scale has to be too. However, there is some correlation between birthday candles and pounds. Changing hormones and estrogen loss cause women to gain around 15 pounds during menopause. Plus, the older you get, the more prone you may be to weight-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. That’s why it’s more important than ever to exercise daily (strength training and cardio) and eat right. Planning and cooking your meals at home can go a long way in helping maintain your weight. See this chart to help determine the ideal weight for your height and age.
Sweating the Little Things
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is easier said than done. By age 50, we know that there’s no use in being upset about things (or people!) we can’t change and that there are much better ways to spend time than worrying about things that have already happened or might happen. If you’re stressing out on the daily, it’s time to look at the root of those stressors. Stress can wreak both emotional/psychological and physical havoc, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which can eventually lead to heart disease or heart failure. There’s plenty of big things to be stressed about after 50: finances, aging, your own mortality. That’s why they call it a mid-life crisis. Know the symptoms and effects of stress and learn ways to manage and reduce it, like yoga and meditation.
Putting Others over Yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. After a lifetime of responsibility and caring for others, it’s easy to forget about your relationship with you. Take time alone, reflect, meditate, and indulge in some self-care. Psychology Today has a great article on The Unselfish Art of Prioritizing Yourself. Get your needs and wants off the back burner and start putting your relationship with yourself first, it is the most important one, after all.
Putting Double Spaces After a Period
Unless you’re still using a typewriter, one space will do. Two spaces will reveal your age.
Caring What Other People Think
Getting past the 50-year mark gives you permission to stop being a people-pleaser. Wear what you want. Dye your hair purple. Who cares?
With work and family, it’s hard to find time for yourself, let alone your friends. But studies show that spending time with the people you love on a regular basis can lead to a longer, healthier life. Luckily, these days its easier to keep in touch than ever—whether it’s a call, text, email, or social media. However, FaceTime doesn’t replace actual facetime. Invite your friends over for a game night, start a book club, or go out for a meal. Spending time to create memories together is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintaining relationships.