Rule number 6: Empty Nest Syndrome. Dig deep, it’s gonna be okay: just find your inner Madonna.

Madonna. Madge. Maddie. Mad. Mary, mother of Jesus. Whatever you call her, one thing is for sure, Little Miss Madddiepants has successfully survived decades in the public eye. Love her or hate her: she certainly has got one thing totally right; she reinvents herself. All the time. Even through the menopause.

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He’s leaving.

My youngest, aged 18: off to uni. The last time I felt this type of anticipated pain, was when I drove my beloved border collie to the vets to be euthanized. That feeling of utter despair, (even though I knew I was doing the one and only right thing), I am reminded of now, in that I’m snatching every available second, to tidy his hair, stroke his back…get his food…knowing this will be one of my very, very last chances…end of an era….

vacant nest

Perfect timing: menopause right alongside your nest getting thoroughly emptied.

Okay my son is not dying; I’m being over-dramatic. But him leaving is, for me, another painful, albeit inevitable, life-changing occurrence. It IS a rather big corner.

What else would I want, though? He’s been successful enough to get to go to uni: well done me. Good parenting. Wahoo. I didn’t even encourage him to have a gap year. I could have maybe got another year out of ‘what’s for dinner?‘ or ‘can I have some money please?

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But actually its not all about those duties you’re seemingly constantly harangued into doing….its way more than that….In my case..well…how the hell am I gonna cope without him?!

He looks after the (new) dog when I’m working; he helps me work my camera; he’s the sole, in-house (tremendous standard fyi) cake-baker; he even asks how I am. Okay, to be completely truthful, he has practically become my counsellor. I feel physical pain, in my gut, that he’s going.

My fluffy nest feels like its being turned inside out.

Read more about causes of Empty Nest Syndrome Depression

So why is Mary, Mother of Jesus (bet she was an incredibly proud mum) relevant to Empty Nest Syndrome?

Madonna is really interested in herself.

She takes time to work on her entire image. Sure, she has people to do stuff for her, but ultimately, she is the one asking for ideas on clothing, image and hair styles. She wants the best for herself. And why shouldn’t she? So she’s busy. With herself. And that help heaps, if you’re feeling that final severing of that strong, yet intangible, umbilical cord, as that ‘taking-to-uni’ day arrives. You need to pick yourself up and at least try and look good.

So, get your inner Madonna out and focus.

On you.

Its great that you’re not needed anymore. Come on; it is! You will now have a bit/a lot more time to consider some self-reinvention. Cause, if nothing else, it will stop you from wallowing in your own tears, and encourage you to rediscover YOU. Someone other than just his mum.

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Mary had a ball

Maybe, like me, you’re realizing that it’s much less how you’re defined by others, but more how you’ve inadvertently defined yourself – “my son”, “my angel”….”my co-dependent”….”my rock” ..”my ‘he-makes-me-feel-needed-and-useful-and-stuff'”…”my I can’t fucking cope without him!”

I can. You can. Once I stopped crying; I drank a bottle of vin rouge while watching shit tv, I then decided that I’d better get to bed and wake up in an altogether more acceptable mood.

Upon awakening, I dragged out my inner Madonna and decided to work from the outside in. So my personal reinvention began with a fabulous fake tan.

JamesreadSLpMask_

It stops you from crying. Cry, and pay with streak marks down the face; therefore, keep it together bitch. This fab faux tan instructs to use at night, but it also works beautifully during the day – especially if you need to make yourself happy/slightly happier/less miserable. And its so easy to use, as long as you’re not balling your eyes out, you can’t go wrong.

Buy Sleep Mask Face Here

But I didn’t stop there. I then immersed myself in the fabulous melting coconut balm

Life's a beach
I took myself to a far off island and lovingly massaged beautiful, dreamy, coconut oil into my tired, dry, menopausal skin…..

James Read products are very user-friendly. I literally LOVE using the coconut melting balm. It is beautiful to massage in – the smell and texture takes you away from it all. This particular tanning brand understands that people are generally complete rubbish at applying their own fake tan, so it compensates in products that do the work for you. They moisturize as well as any luxury skin brand does, while giving you the tan you want – superbly natural.

More about James Read – tanning guru

However, if you do need more help, maybe from the inside out, then read Germaine Greer inspirational book The Change

Although arch feminist, Greer slates sex a bit much in this read; her general stance on how to deal with the change, for me also helps in how to deal with life when you’re facing up to the fact that you’re no longer as needed as you were before…

Come on girls: lets VOGUE

 

 

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Rule number 5: What the pluck? Just grow a pair!

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pretty hairy

So Mother Nature designed us to look our best at about the age of 21…coincidentally when we’re our most fertile. By the time we’re approaching/in our menopause, Mrs M Nature is fervently doing her best to strip us of anything remaining that might be attractive. Already blessing us with wrinkles and crinkles, she then goes that step further and begins to rob us of our brows and lashes. Thanks.

Or were you (like me) a right little plucker, once upon a tweezer?

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Back then, I didn’t give a pluck

Either way, if you over-plucked or not, you’re undoubtedly now noticing that those brows and lashes are sadly mere fading follicles.

But do not despair, there’s help out there. A bold and bushy brow, does a lot to liven up the face; as do youthful-looking luscious lashes and if there’s any trace of a follicle (even if it’s really blonde, fine and seemingly pointless) you can help them get back to some of their former glory.

Just as we condition the hair on our heads, we should be conditioning those lashes and brows. Yes there are false lashes out there and for special ocassions, why not? Fake brows…erm…not so sure…and there’s only so much coloring in you can do.

So we need to make the most of what we’ve got naturally and that means investing a little more than we did in our earlies.

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there’s nothing like having natural lashes n brows

Over a decade ago, the wife of an ophthalmologist suffered major loss of hair from her brows and lashes due to the serious medication she was on. The ophthalmologist created a serum for her, which worked so well, the brand Revitalash was born.

I noticed my lashes were a lot less lush a few years ago; I discovered Revitalash and  have been using both the lash and brow conditioner ever since. Not only have the grown back much fuller and thicker than I ever imagined they could, but they’re also darker. As these two particular conditioners encourage the pigment too. And we all love a strong pigment, right??

It’s easy to use, one sweep with the wand across clean, dry lashes once a day and its the same with the brows. Either at night time or in the morning – I find it mildly irritating at night and have a tendency to rub my eyes, so I do mine in the morning. Be patient and persevere with the products; you won’t see any difference for a good two to three weeks and then boom…you’ll suddenly see the difference, its like they’ve come from no where…but you must be consistent and use the products every day/night.

all my own
got me some lashes n brows

Since Revitalash came into the world of beauty, there have been many (maybe not quite so good) imitations of this product, that you can buy almost anywhere.

The Cheap Alternative

If you can’t afford any of these, then even putting simple vaseline on your eyebrows at night will help keep them nice and healthy. However you can’t put vaseline on your eyelashes…but you can put on castor oil…

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read more about using castor oil here

One of things that sets Revitalash apart from the rest is the hygiene one gets from the specially designed ingredients within the serum, so if you’re using castor oil, be sure to refresh your mascara wand regularly, if not daily. I personally would use it on the lashes first, then the brows and then bin it. You can buy cheap disposable mascara wands in bulk here

If you do go for the castor oil alternative, look for ‘cold pressed’ hexane free, castor oil here

So girls, if you’re feeling a bit brow beaten or ‘what the pluck’ and short n stubby in the lash department, try helping them out with any of the conditioning recommendations above and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You may even be able to freaking flutter again….

Bette Davis Eyes

 

7. Sort yer hair out. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Hair care.

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Tressled


Nothing escapes the menopause; collagen loss; more flab and folds; hearing loss; sight loss; hormone blah and hormone blob; but – to top it all – our former crowning glory steadily dissolves into a dull and lifeless, frizzy, fuzz.

And it happens quick. Once barely able to get a large hair tie around my ponytail, I can now wrap a small tie around at least 3 times.


My ponytail  has become a punytail.

Obviously I blame my sons, but in fairness, its not all down to them. I would be on this dissipated, stringy strand now anyway: why? Because I’m on the chuffing meno-train.

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However, at least I am lucky enough to be working in the beauty industry and, as a result, have happened upon several hair-carers; all of whom promise thickening, strengthening and lustre.

And, oh how we love lustre (aka ‘youth’?) Almost as much as we love coffee, and that’s the key. Unfortunately its not drinking coffee that helps our tresses, but caffeine – applied topically.

coffee head

 

There are, of course, many brands that claim to help nurture the hair you have, make it stronger (therefore lasts longer), fuller, thicker, shinier etc; but there are some that are better than others and with ALL of them, you must be patient (we all know how long our hair takes to grow) and you MUST USE the products exactly as advised on the packaging.

Nothing works if you don’t persistently use it.

HIARFIX

HAIRFIX is a brand born to treat women exactly our age. It’s a clever recipe that includes time-release caffeine, which works throughout the night to really get down deep in those follicles. It’s a cost-effective serum (as you use only a small amount), which you rub into your scalp 3/4 times a week, at night, wherever your concerns with your thinning hair are.

Special offer here on Hairfix until end of September

But you also need to be a lot more clever and considerate than you were in your earlies, in order to get that lustre back (or near to it at any rate) and there are several other things you can do which all help.

Drink plenty of WATER (yes water even helps your hair)

Make sure you get enough Vitamin B12 (poultry, salmon, fortified cereal)

BIOTIN – also known as Vitamin H, a great supplement for the hair (and skin)

Take Viviscal – a supplement containing AminoMar C (shark and mollusk powder, an organic form of silica)

10 Tips to Naturally Regrow You Hair

conclusive research proving MPS can significantly improve hair

DON’T use HIGH HEAT tools on your hair (I’m guilty of this one) – no more than 150 degrees centigrade, if you can help it.

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Friday Flop, not enough goodness going on in my barnet

HRT Estrogen, estrogen, estrogen. You need it. Go and get some (via the Doctor), because your body stops producing it, (maybe because its banking on you dying at about 65; but that’s not necessarily the case these days) and, our hair needs it. (obvs consult your Dr on this one).

SILK PILLOWCASES – these have added benefit of less wrinkles on the face too, and believe me the difference they make to my hair is immeasurable. (I must get some more, my old ones have died)

SOFT WATER – If you live in a hard water area, see if you can invest in a filter even if its just one that you put in the shower (like this one)

Try not to wash your hair too often. I sometimes just brush my thoroughly through, let it get wet in the shower and then add conditioner. By doing this, you’re not stripping your hair of too many natural oils, whilst still giving it a lovely freshen up.

Hair Masks: use them. Whether you make your own (some great recipes here) or use shop-bought ones, they truly make a difference.

Treatments: DITTO. this is a great one easy to fit into any routine. Just apply onto damp hair for as long as possible before washing out

Likewise use a good leave in conditioner or at least use a primer that will help you achieve a fabulous shine.

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From frizzy mop to good on top

 

SO girls, don’t be defeated by bad hair. You can have a good hair day if you just take a little bit more time and give your hair some much needed TLC. Even if its just egg, honey, olive oil and avocado mushed together and slapped on for an hour or so once a week when no one is looking….just remember, you’re very much worth it.