Having a ‘down’ day? Feel useless? Depressed? Feel like hiding, crying, going back to bed….? Don’t worry you’re not alone, feeling better is a walk in the park.

pexels-photo-631986.jpegWomen are known to be ‘multi-taskers’. Thats a fairly big title to live up to. What if your starter motor fails one day? And all of your oomph has morphed into a bleurgh? You know what you should be doing, but you simply cannot get beyond staring into your empty mug of coffee. Having a duvet day is just not allowed. Resting and blobbing around eating chocolate and other rubbish is all you want to do, but you know its just PLAIN WRONG, so your blobbing, flopping, wrong day is severely tarnished with guilt and self-hatred; you’re a failure, you’re useless, you’re ugly, you’re fat…. you’re blah blah blurgh.

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Because women are natural carers, nurturers and people-pleasers – more so than men – we often set ourselves much higher standards, and when we undertake to do what may previously been considered a man’s job, we feel we have to do it way better, just to prove ourselves. So we’re extra thorough. We’re more diligent. We’re bloody killing ourselves.

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Of course it will eventually get to us. So how do we drag ourselves out of this exhausted rut? Other than reaching for the gin, chocolate, shopping, or all of them? From the age of 45 onwards we have the added struggle of free-wheeling, outta control hormones; many of us have children leaving the nest; some of us also have failed marriages and therefore sudden single-dom to also deal with.

It’s a fight ladies. It’s a fight with the truth. You have to look at your truth.

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Make time to both reflect on your achievements, and to look forward to your ambitions. Maybe the last thing you want is to think about is you. Don’t be scared, this is her – The Long Forgotten YOU. Say hello to her and make her happy.

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Who are you? What do you love to do? What makes you tick? The first thing you should do is take care of your health, both mentally and physically. The two are intrinsically intertwined and when you allow yourself to succumb to chocolate and gin, you will pay – the short-lived pleasures as the toxins engulf your senses are swiftly followed with the downers, the results of such indulgences.

Try and take yourself to a higher plane. Yoga is incredibly good for this. Not only does it encourage you to stretch and strengthen, it also encourages breathing correctly and getting into meditative state. Once in this place, devoid of angst, devoid of self-loathing, you will find that part of you that you somehow lost along the way. If yoga isn’t for you, then simple long walks in amongst nature can also remind you of your earth, your grounding and what a flowering blossom your life continues to be, despite what it may seem to be to you right now. Mindfulness is a big trend and not without reason.

Mindfulness: Getting Started

pexels-photo-906106.jpegFor the more financially blessed amongst us, you can’t do better than to indulge yourself at a retreat or a spa for a few days – you will come back a renewed and stronger person.

Vogue Spa Guide – Best Spa Breaks in UK 2018

Drink plenty of water. Eat plenty of greens. It’s so basic. It’s so obvious, but we all forget these things from time to time when we become awash with what seems like a ton of losses at once. Being alone with your thoughts can initially be terrifying, having time to reflect can make you tearful, but actually once you get there and you realise what life still has to offer you, and indeed, what you have to offer it, then you can being to feel worthwhile, complete and happy once more. Your happiness is solely up to you. Find your inner peace, it’s somewhere in there, you may have to search for a while, you may have to shake off a lot of negative feelings, but start with being proud of what you’ve achieved so far. I am sure its quite a lot.

 

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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….

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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.

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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

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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