The following article will was recently featured in the Daily Hampshire Gazette as part of their LIVE WELL magazine! You may read the whole article here or find it in your copy of the Gazette this Fall if you are local.
Maybe you’ve just read the article on dating in this issue of LIVE WELL, and you’re ready to try it again. Maybe you’re happily single or happy with your partner or spouse. Whatever your situation, if you’re like most women, the pressure of looking and feeling attractive has had an impact on you.
We are inundated with images reminding us of how we should look. Even when we were 25 — let alone at 50, 60, or 70 — most of us didn’t look like that. The reality of life is that we don’t always have control over many aspects of how we look.
But I have found that we can choose to do simple and easy things to feel more alive, energized and attractive. It starts by making a conscious decision to shift our focus to how we feel inside our body rather than on how we look.
Bodies are amazing! They support us, take us places, and give us opportunities to express ourselves. When I forget how much I appreciate my body and instead find myself judging how my thighs look with their tapestry of cellulite and broken veins, I know what to do. I turn my attention to the gift of being able to walk wherever I want, easily and without pain. I couldn’t do that without my thighs.
Sometimes small steps are all it takes to feel better about ourselves. Often it’s best to start in the comfort and security of our own private space where we can feel safe enough to let our inner selves sparkle.
When we get up, it’s delightful to really get into that first morning stretch and enjoy how good it feels as our muscles expand. Is another part of your body wanting a stretch too?
Go for it. Let a huge yawn fill your lungs, and embrace the smile that’s likely to result. Enjoy your shower or bath. Put on nice lotion. Feel the softness of your skin.
Staying home? What are you planning to wear around the house? Many of my stay-at-home comfy clothes are about as attractive as a hospital gown! Can you find something to wear that might feel more fun and silky to your skin? Going out? How about wearing something different and playful?
Sensing ourselves as we move is another way to more fully feel ourselves from the inside. Noticing our body’s sensations as we move increases the pleasure of movement, which inspires us to move more. Walking is a great way to give our body a chance to strut its stuff. Try listening to music as you walk and let your body respond to its rhythm. Feel the glide of your steps, the swing of your hips and shoulders, the fresh air in your lungs. Even a 10 minute walk is great.
There’s also dancing. Some folks wait for a special occasion — like a wedding — and then they have so much fun they wonder why they don’t dance more often. If you don’t like dancing in public, that’s OK. Dance around your home, by yourself, to music you know and love. Even better, put on something fun or sexy for the occasion.
If you can’t get up and dance, then sit and dance. Start slowly by moving the joints in your fingers, wrists and shoulders, and anything else you can. You may be surprised by how much your body can still move.
Each of these activities will remind you how wonderful your body is. It’s easy to forget as we get older because we notice the physical reminders of the difference between yesterday and today.
You have a choice. You can look at your body and focus on what you’ve lost, or you can enjoy the fact that even though it may be changing, your body can still move.
It isn’t about how much you can move either. It’s about energy, enjoyment and respect for your body. The only trick is that you have to make the first move, both literally and figuratively. When you do, once you start allowing yourself to feel that energy and vitality flowing through you on the inside, you will look and feel more attractive on the outside too.
Linda Tumbarello of Northampton is the author of “Cultivating Joy: A Guide for Women Over 50,” to be published this fall. Her website is lindatumbarello.com
FALL 2014 | LIVE WELL | Daily Hampshire Gazette
In this video I talk about my work and an upcoming workshop. See below for more info.
Movement is a key factor in maintaining vitality, flexibility, mobility, strength, mental functioning and a good quality of life. This is true throughout our lives and especially as we age. In addition, movement helps your body function well. It aids the circulation of blood, removal of toxins, promotes healing and deeper breathing, and so much more. Your body is built to move with many bones, joints and muscles ready to spring into action.
Movement and exercise that feels good, and respects your body is the best approach. I don’t subscribe to the “No pain – no gain” belief. It can lead to injuries. The “push yourself to do more boring exercises” method doesn’t work either. Instead transform your experience of exercise from boring to fun! Take one of my classes with specially designed enjoyable movements that consider the importance of preventing injuries, and special care as we age. If that’s not possible, ask yourself is there some way of moving that you like. Do you like to walk or dancing to music in your living room? I’ll be writing more about how to inspire yourself to move soon, so check out my blog soon.
Five Minute Helpers are quick, easy, fun and effective tools to relieve stress and tension, relax, shift and lift your energy and mood, stop un-helpful thinking, and generally re-balance your body and mind.
Use them everyday, and especially during stressful times.
This helper is called “Blow Out – Let it go.” Use it when you feel: tense, anxious, stressed, tired, out of sorts, having upsetting feelings and thoughts, or tightness in your jaw and neck, or anywhere else, unable to think clearly, and to interrupt the cycle of tension and holding your breath, that leads to more tension.
And you want to feel:
relaxed, balanced, energized, and clear headed.
How to do it:
- As you exhale blow out as much air as you can.
- Imagine sending out feelings of fear, anger, tiredness, or whatever else you’d like to expel, with your exhale.
- Add a sigh or a sound as you exhale.
- To encourage the release of jaw and neck tension, open your mouth, yawn as you inhale, or sigh as you exhale
- Repeat blow out as much as you need.
- After you expel all the air that you want to, allow yourself to breathe naturally. Imagine that this deep inhalation fills you with calmness. Enjoy this peaceful moment.
The 5 minute helpers work best when you have fun -so enjoy!
Benefits / Why It Works
Since you are breathing every moment of your life, you have plenty of opportunities to try blow out. Breathing involves letting out or exhaling stale air, and receiving life sustaining oxygen through inhaling. When we are upset or afraid, we often hold our breath and tighten our muscles; that interferes with having enough oxygen to relax and to think clearly. When you blow out the air, it interrupts the cycle of holding your breath, and provides a passage to send out “stale” or unhelpful thoughts and feelings from your body and mind.
Remember: As you keep using them it becomes easier to incorporate them into your daily life.