Do you “self-care”?  I must admit I don’t and if I do, it’s very rare.  It falls to the bottom of the list behind everything else like “learn to meditate” and “take the duvets to the dry cleaners” ..

But now I am urging you to put self-care to the top of your agenda and not just in midlife, but at any age.  We are very good at just shaking things off and powering on through, but as Emma Bardwell, nutritionist and author said to me only the other day “self-care is a key element of women’s health” and we should be prioritising it. So here I am to share some of the things that I have been trying this month in a bid to do more ‘self-care” and some of them might surprise you! 

HRT, nutrition, and exercise are the cornerstones of midlife health especially in peri-menopause and menopause … and I am making self-care the 4th.  I have been off my feet recently with a pesky ski injury and self-care has been my saviour.  Taking the time to really tune in to me and spending time nurturing body and mind has been key to my recovery in my opinion.

What is self-care?

This really came to the forefront in Covid. We all had more time at home, feeling varying degrees of worry, anxiety, stress, etc.  We couldn’t go to beauty salons or spas to have treatments to make ourselves feel better, so we started doing our own and suddenly “self-care” became a thing, from dying your own eyebrows to taking long relaxing baths and it’s is here to stay and but also key to our wellbeing- so stop feeling guilty and let’s get started!

Where do I start?

Think about what you enjoy doing that gives you a sense of wellbeing and calm – these might be things you did when you were younger or things that you always wanted to try, but never have time for … remember, consistency is key, we aren’t talking about something you do once a year, this needs to be a regular thing and can be as simple as a walk in a bluebell wood, running a hot bath and lighting your favourite candle or slipping into crisp clean sheets….

These small moments of joy don’t have to cost a fortune but do need to bring a spark of happiness and relaxation to this crazy always-on world we live in – be spontaneous but also plan something in after all, anticipated self-care is also a joy and to be encouraged.

Spa treatments in Menopause

VOYA are an Irish organic lifestyle and spa brand that harness the power of seaweed in everything they do and their latest spa treatments are based on Chinese medicine, where menopause is known as the slightly more jaunty “Second Spring” where midlife potential is celebrated with renewed energy and fresh opportunities.  Each treatment is different and involves a combination of aromatherapy, reflexology and massage, tailored to your menopause concerns be that nutrition, sleep or metabolism. Each treatment is more of a journey with several parts, be it a cleansing tea, followed by a guided walk with a breathwork session or a sound bathing experience, and a facial or relaxing back massage. There really is something for everyone and something wonderfully different to enjoy.

The benefits of orgasm in midlife … 

Bet you weren’t expecting this…. let’s be honest, our hormones play havoc with our libidos in midlife and most of us would rather curl up with a good book, but as pleasure toy retailer Jo Divine founder Samantha Evans says: “many of our customers are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and nature didn’t intend for women to be sexually active after menopause, so we have to work at it and get creative” .  

The benefits of orgasms, in case you didn’t know, are many – stress relief, pain relief, increased blood flow to the pelvic area for starters, but there are also physiological benefits as we age, such as boosting the immune system to balancing hormone levels and generally creating a sense of wellbeing, and by promoting arousal, the libido is boosted too – which is a win-win for all.  

Facial massage to release tension and tone

If you are looking to put a bit more pep back into your skin cells, try some facial massage, it is the ultimate in self-care and not only can leave skin energised and glowing, but it can also work wonders on redefining facial contours, decongesting and depuffing. For easy-to-follow routines, check out make-up artist Nadira Persaud’s book, Press Here! Facial Workouts for Beginners. Nadira has practised facial massage to prep clients’ skin ahead of magazine shoots, TV and red-carpet appearances to ensure their skin is looking its absolute best before applying make-up.

She says of facial massage: “people seem more receptive to these types of rituals as we are now taking more interest in our skincare routines and self-care in general”.  This might be due in part to the pandemic years, but maybe more of us are enjoying the wellbeing benefits of taking some time for ourselves.

Things I have been trying this month in the name of self-care:

1. Scents for wellbeing – Just as you use your favourite body cream or lipstick to lift your mood, think about the fragrance you wear.  New kid on the fragrance block Edeniste have developed their Lifeboost® range of 6 scents in conjunction with neuroscientists to identify olfactive molecules that have a proven impact on our wellbeing according to mood – choose from Happiness, Energy, Dream, Wellbeing, Relax, and Seduction and layer over your favourite everyday scent.

2. I have been giving my body a collagen boost with Bare Biology Skinful Marine collagen powder – I have a ligament injury in my knee so getting back to full strength has been key these last few weeks – collagen declines steeply after 40 and 90% of collagen in the body is type 1 and supports all our connective tissue and is found in muscles and joints as well as skin, hair and nails. Added vitamin C helps the body produce collagen so get boosting now! 

3. Try a pleasure serum … Crafted in conjunction with world-renowned clinical orgasm researcher Nicole Prause, Ph.D. Vella works deep beyond the skin and relaxes the vaginal and clitoral smooth muscle tissue. This first-of-its-kind serum features encapsulated CBD technology to promote more frequent, intense, and satisfying orgasms… 

4. New PJs – second only to crisp clean sheets, come new pyjamas, the ultimate self-care indulgence and I got my fix this month from Their Nibs … One must for me in midlife is cotton nightwear and they delivered – with a lovely fresh pair of shorty pyjamas, embellished with seahorses…. Perfect.

words by Nicola de Burlet