There are pivotal times in life when having a positive body image is harder than others – we have the awkward years of puberty, the demanding years of pregnancy/post-partum, and then…perimenopause and menopause. The good news is that as we age, we collect more tools for navigating these tricky times, so there’s no reason to retreat to your 14-year-old coping skills as you navigate what comes after 50.
The big trigger for navigating change and body positivity after age 50 is menopause; in fact, the average age for women to reach this milestone is 51. The years leading up to that time and following it are full of transition – biologically, mentally, and physically. When you pair that with the lifestyle changes and milestones that often accompany this age, for example, retirement or becoming an empty nester, it can be challenging to recognize yourself and embrace your new identity.
By combining strategies that support the mind, body, and spirit, you can navigate body positivity with more ease – let’s dive in!
Meditation & Gratitude
Meditation can be a game-changer for connecting you with your body, tuning into what it is telling you, and forging a healthier relationship with it. Think of carving out some time for a meditation practice as creating an appointment with yourself to cultivate compassion and awareness. The popular meditation app, Headspace, explains “We direct positive energy and goodwill first to ourselves, and then, as a ripple effect, to others, which helps us let go of unhappy feelings we may be experiencing.” Check out their video on cultivating self-compassion.
Taking the benefits of meditation a step further with a dedicated gratitude practice. This can look different each day, for example:
- Body Scan – before you hop out of bed in the AM, bring focused attention to each area of your body, starting at the tips of your toes and working your way up to the top of your head. As you move up the body, thank each part for what it’s done for you before you move on to the next.
- Mindful Movement – take a short walk with your AM coffee, notice how your muscles fire with the impact of each step, notice how your abs hold you upright, and how the sun feels on your skin. As you scan your body, thank it for its strength, and admire how it has carried you and recovered from so much over the years.
- Journal – write your body a short love note; this can be a list of its biggest accomplishments (having a baby, running a marathon, recovering from an illness) or a letter to a specific body part where you thank it in depth. The 5-Minute Journal provides a simple guided structure for this practice.
Dress to Impress (Yourself)
Dress for the body you have now, not the one you had or think you’ll have in a few months. It’s important to celebrate and honor our current shape and size – so audit your closet, clear out what no longer serves you, and invest in a few key pieces that make you feel great physically and mentally. You can build a capsule with versatile pieces, such as a great-fitting blazer that can elevate your collection of T-Shirts or a new pair of denim that carries you all week long.
Invest in a capsule collection of pieces that offer versatility for your lifestyle – activewear you feel strong in, a great blazer that elevates your T-Shirt collection, tailored jeans that support your body’s shape, and accessories that express your personality.
Less Force, More Flow
Lean into change with less resistance and more flow, and you just might be surprised by what you discover about yourself. Rather than gripping onto the “look” that defined you for the past decade, use this transition as an opportunity to try a different hairstyle, new makeup, or a fresh fragrance. Finding the fun in this period of reinvention brings you into harmony with your body and introduces you to new things you can love about her.
Educate & Empower
There are amazing resources out there to support learning to love your body at 50+.
- Acupuncture – acupuncture can be effective at helping you to manage the physical symptoms of menopause as well as to lower stress and regulate emotions to bring you back into your body with grace.
- Supplements – work with your Doctor to choose the right supplements for you; this can range from Rx hormonal therapies to discovering brands like Womaness, which has skincare, supplements, and sexual health products.
- Hypnotherapy – Evia is a 5-week evidence-based hypnotherapy program delivered through a mobile app.
As we age, our bodies begin to show evidence of our experiences here on Earth. While maintaining a healthy diet and daily movement are the cornerstones to a strong, healthy body, there are many ways we can improve our mental and emotional relationship to it. Celebrate your body for all it has done for you and speak to it like someone you love, life’s too short to be so hard on something that has hosted us through decades of earthly experiences.