Insomnia! That’s All I’m Saying

Insomnia: great as a song title, but in real life, a mind numbing, wear you down, make you dread going to bed sort of problem that in mid life, seems to me to be impossible to crack.

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I know that insomnia is menopause related ….but it seems I have exacerbated the problem by moving house.  Since the huge adrenaline surge in August, when our old place sold, insomnia has been my constant companion.

First it was the excitement of the huge life decision, then the constant ‘will we won’t we’ get the bungalow’ feeling.  Worry for 12 weeks about whether either sale would fall through didn’t help one bit.  Then of course the agonising over what needs to be done and choices to be made on décor is still ongoing.

I long ago gave up going to bed with House Beautiful mag. Far too stimulating for the brain! Instead I switched to dull reading material ….but all to no avail.

I’m a big fan of a posh candle…Neom especially, but so far, that’s not cutting it either – although it does smell beautiful.

Wine works….for about three hours!  So that’s no blimmin use and makes me feel rubbish anyway.

Exercise – yes!  Yin yang yoga is a great help – I need to do more of it.  Walking is great and most days I get my 10k steps.  Running however is another issue – my energy levels have plummeted, and although I did a couple of short runs last week, I am nowhere near last summer’s fitness level.

When I analyse what’s keeping me awake, aside from the horrible hot flushes that are par for the course with menopause, it’s the constant whirring of the brain which just will not switch off!  I downloaded the Headspace app last week and have started doing the mini meditation exercises – they do help me feel sleepy so with perseverance this could be a big help.  I also keep a notebook by the bed to empty my thoughts before I sleep.  Some suggest you should write down things in the middle of the night as they come to you, but I don’t think hubby would appreciate me turning the light on and waking him up too!

People recommend a good bed – well my mattress is only a year or so old and I have the best quality white cotton bed linen I could afford so no worries there.  The bedroom is not yet a sanctuary though as it’s still a clash of someone else’s carpet and some shabby wardrobes…but next month the new glossy white fitted wardrobes will be in and we’ll have a pale carpet on the floor – no more shouty patterns.

I have invested in decaff PG Tips and I also enjoy herbal teas too, so no caffeine after mid day is quite easy to put into practice.

Then of course, there are trips to the loo!  I have a big glass of water by the bed and get incredibly thirsty when I can’t sleep so I’m up two or three times in the night. I don’t have bladder weakness luckily, but 61% of women experience bladder weakness at some time in their lives, so TENA Lady has some solutions for anyone that has their sleep disrupted by their bladder:

  • TENA Lady Mini Night with Triple Protection: specially designed to give you a good night’s sleep, these soft and comfortable pads are secure and offer extra security when you are lying down.  High absorption keeps you dry and ensures you’re confident all night long.  They have odour control too, should you be worried about that.
  • TENA Lady Maxi Night: soft, comfortable and secure thanks to their specific shape – they have extra length at the back and offer extra width for higher absorbency.
  • TENA Lady Pants Night: this is a disposable soft cotton pant which looks like everyday underwear and works well for moderate to heavy bladder weakness.

I really hope that this problem will sort itself out in the next 12 months, as it really is wearing me down.  The joys of being a middle aged woman!!

*This is a sponsored post

 

 

Don’t Stop Me Now (I’m Having Such A Good Time)

I think it’s fair to say that this year I’ve had quite a new experiences and taken on quite a few new challenges.

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  • First time at the ballet (The Nutcracker)
  • Took up cycling
  • Went horse riding
  • Levada walking in Madeira
  • Haggling in Marrakech
  • Moving house!
  • Salsa dancing
  • Visited Tenerife, Morocco, Madeira, Malta, Crete, Menorca and Mallorca
  • Performed Vivaldi’s Gloria with Caldy Valley Voices at Chester Cathedral

I don’t think being in my fifties is holding me back! In fact, a recent survey by TENA Lady showed that when asked, 55% of women said that the best thing about getting older was that they would have more time to embark on new hobbies.  Many however, say they are deterred from doing as they wish by bladder weakness.

One of the most unwelcome things about being past menopause and in your mid fifties, is the occasional ‘oops’ moment, when a trickle of urine escapes when you sneeze or cough too hard.  This has been a taboo subject for years, but goodness knows why.  Most of us experience it at some stage, whether we have given birth or not.

Depending on how it affects you, urinary incontinence can be just the teeniest trickle, to a couple of teaspoons, and how you deal with it can vary too.

TENA Lady have a range of products to protect you against leaks; from the lightest panty liner, to a more secure pair of knickers (called Pants Plus which are breathable, discreet and comfortable enough for everyday use) should you need the extra protection.  All TENA products offer triple protection from leaks, odour and moisture, helping you stay dry, secure and confident

I’m hoping that yoga and Pilates classes have strengthened my pelvic floor to the extent that I will never have a significant problem.  However, as one in three of women experience bladder weakness at some stage in their life, it’s good to know there is something you can do about it and there is absolutely no way it should stop you exercising – even dancing, running or aerobics shouldn’t be out of bounds.

I’m lucky that my yoga and Pilates teacher, Helen at Bodywork Pilates is 100% committed to teaching us the importance of working our pelvic floor.  We don’t just go through the motions in our classes – we learn how each move benefits the body.  Strength and stability is key to keeping yourself if tip top condition as you age, and this applies just as much to the muscles that hold you together internally as it does to the skeleton that keeps you upright.

I’m loving being 56.  My mantra in life is to keep learning, keep doing and be excited about new adventures.  I’m always planning my next trip!  Coming up in the next three months (apart from the HUGE moving house adventure) is a rail tour of Andalucia, a trip to see Swan Lake and seeing Queen with Adam Lambert in concert.

Happy days.

*this post is sponsored

 

 

 

 

 

Slimming World Progress

IMG_2008Another one and a half pounds off this week – making 12.5 in total.  Very close now to that one stone milestone and I’m determined to get it!

I’ve not been cooking much the last two weeks because of the moving house cleaning and painting frenzy that’s been going on, but I did manage to make the Slimming World crustless quiche (pictured).

So, with the house due to be on the market by Thursday, I have the ideal opportunity to get out and about again and burn some calories.

I’m getting that ‘back to school’ feeling which I think makes this time of year very special.  It’s a time for new beginnings, the start of Autumn/Winter fashion in the shops and an excuse to buy a new pencil case (or maybe a new house if we get an offer on ours).

Feeling positive about the next few months!

 

 

 

 

Slimming World Week Six

It’s been six weeks since I started at Slimming World and so far I have lost eight and a half pounds.  Not brilliant, but OK considering I had a holiday in Yorkshire where wine and cake was consumed!

The strategies that are working for me so far are:

  • Drinking on one day a week only
  • No snacking at all
  • No food between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • lots of exercise: swimming, cycling, running, walking, yoga
  • Having Old Jamaica sugar free ginger beer instead of alcohol
  • Eating more green veg than I ever thought possible

I could do better if:

  • I cut out the bread I am having for lunch as laziness has overtaken me when it comes to preparing soups, plus nothing feels like lunch except bread.
  • I made more SW recipes instead of just adapting my normal day to day menu plan
  • Stopped eating lunch out and made more of an effort to prepare food to take with me on the go.

I’m still learning what works, but have to say I’m finding it much easier to order a black coffee when I’m out and not look at cakes.  I do feel my social life is slightly impeded but I guess it’s all in a good cause and I want to be healthier and happier after all!

 

 

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Half a Stone Under My Belt

 

 

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Three weigh ins and I have lost seven and a half pounds.

Although I have not been hungry, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

My main issue is craving food which feels good – butter on my Jersey Royals or asparagus.  Butter on toast.  Honey in my yoghurt.  The added extras which make each meal a pleasure.

Oh and of course, no wine.  At all.  Not that difficult this week as we have not been out for dinner, but faced with a wine list in a nice restaurant next week I’m not sure I won’t cave.

Now, I can hear you saying ‘but you can have all these things on Slimming World if you count the syns’.  Yes, all well and good, but when just one glass of wine is maybe 10 syns and uses up all your daily allowance….well you get my drift.  As you can see in this picture, I’m on the mineral water and he’s on the Magners.

This last few weeks drinking has been limited to one night and having Bacardi and Diet Coke.

Drinking carbonated drinks containing sweetener goes against everything I’ve been led to believe about health.  I very rarely touch them and for most of my adult life, Diet Coke has been like the antichrist.  However, in the spirit of the plan, I tried it (and enjoyed it).  Not sure I will continue long term though because I just know it’s unhealthy.  On the flipside of course, being overweight is unhealthy too.  I figure I’ll just keep the diet drinks to a minimum and I should be OK.

I’m making it a mission to do at least 10,000 steps five days a week and cycling on the other two. I don’t have a Fitbit so I’m using the app on my phone to track it.  Once a week I’m swimming too and of course have my weekly yoga class.

Next week’s challenge is a birthday trip to Yorkshire, staying in a cottage next door to a pub.  Red alert!  I’m taking some basics with me, but not sure how the old willpower is going to cope when faced with the inevitable cream tea!

 

 

 

Feel Good Challenge with Highland Spring

Highland Spring is on a mission to encourage healthy hydration. Because when you’re 100% hydrated, you’re much more likely to be on top of your game – mentally, physically and emotionally.  I was asked if I’d like to take part in the feel good challenge and of course, I said yes!

For me, as a heart attack survivor, it is vital that I stay properly hydrated not only because it reduces the number of premature atrial contractions that I get, but it keeps my energy levels up.  I’ve learned this from experience and if my heart is playing me up, the first question I ask myself is: have I drunk enough water today?  If not, I top up immediately.

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Green tea, herbal tea and good old PG all count towards the two litres I drink a day, but  most important of all, is plain water, just as nature intended.  I know some people don’t like to drink unadulterated water, but luckily I enjoy it: iced, lukewarm, sparking or still – any will do.

During my spa break last month there was huge emphasis on hydration: we were encouraged  to drink water and herbal teas – there were jugs of water provided, topped up with fruit or cucumber: delicious.

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Research shows that 66% of Brits don’t feel they always drink enough water on a daily basis so Highland Spring have provided some top tips on how to keep hydrated and feel good.

Did you know?

•         Drinking water can make you happier: brain scans show that when you’re properly hydrated the parts of your brain associated with anger, fear and alertness are de-activated.

•         Lots of us visit the doctors for fatigue each year, when actually the problem could be due to dehydration. Keeping hydrated can help give you the energy you need!

•         When you’re hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. It’s much easier for your body to pump blood through the blood vessels to muscles

•         Staying hydrated before and during exercise helps avoid cramp. Hydration levels are affected by how long and how hard you are exercising, so if you are sweating or in a warm environment you might need to drink more than usual

For my personal challenge, I decided to have water with me on the go at all times.   Not difficult as it’s easy to slip a small bottle of water into your handbag, or fill up a re-usable water bottle for the gym.  I’ve also been taking a small bottle in my pocket for my weekly country walk.

Do you think you could find a way to add some extra water into your life?

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It’s All Good!

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Saw my consultant this morning and it’s great news!  No evidence of dissection in the head or neck, or of  TIA.  So after weeks of worrying myself sick, I can get back to normal.

I know not everything is fixed as my heart is not right, but this is such a huge deal for me that I feel like I can make a new start.

One thing stuck on my mind through all this.  Janet Street Porter was on TV and was saying ‘If I don’t like doing something, I stop doing it immediately’.  I thought to myself, blimmin’ heck, she’s right.  If I’m not finding joy in something and I don’t have to do it any more then just stop!

This has led me to ditch a number of things that were just not working for me any more and now I have the all clear, then I am going to focus on what I really enjoy.

The things bringing me joy at the moment are blogging, travel, gardening and being creative with crafts.  So for now, that’s where I’m putting my focus.  I’m planning to go back to badminton, Pilates and yoga too.

One good thing to come out of all this is that I’ve significantly increased the amount of walking I’ve been doing because it was the only exercise I was allowed to do.   I’m loving getting down the country lanes and will build on this.

I’ve also reviewed my diet and in a bid to be as healthy as possible, have made a few more positive tweaks, so again, this is something I can build on.  You may have noticed I’d stopped whingeing about being fat – that’s because I had bigger things to worry about – so I should try and keep that mind set that food is fuel and also medicine.

So, onwards and upwards!  Where’s that travel brochure……..