Why is stress management even more important for women in their 40s?
Because a combination of life experiences, hormone shifts and typical habits make it likely that the stress bucket is overflowing – precipitating symptoms like
>> blood sugar issues
>> suppressed thyroid
>> sleeping problems
>> fat gain (specifically in the abdominal region or visceral fat)
>> impaired lean muscle gain
>> digestive problems
>> anxiety and depression
Check out some of the common themes I see in women over 40 – which make this group one of my favorites to coach! We can work on several stress management and resiliency building habits to make you feel better and more confident in your skin quickly.
you don't have solid stress management skills already
It’s possible that you’ve been socialized to think that alcohol is an appropriate way to deal with uncomfortable emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety.
It’s unwinding with wine after a long day (and every day is a long day). It’s drinking to “get through” an event or hang with certain people. It’s, “mommy juice”.
While drinking alcohol, or numbing out in some other way, might distract you temporarily from what you’re feeling, it’s not actually helping you process emotions – they will eventually surface and it can be overwhelming.
Instead, alleviating stress through healthy coping allows you to acknowledge and work through emotions in effective ways.
to support your adrenals
As you head towards perimenopause and menopause, production of certain hormones shifts from your ovaries to your adrenals.
This is a big deal because the adrenals already have a really big job secreting hormones of their own. So, when you pile on the production of more hormones, it’s a lot for the adrenals to handle.
The adrenals main job is making your stress hormone, cortisol. If you’re not great at managing stress, you’re probably already overworking your adrenals. Pair this with the extra work the adrenals take on during perimenopause in your 40s and you’re setting yourself up for hormones and metabolism issues like poor sleep, weight gain, digestive issues and more.
to maintain muscle mass
As you age, you lose lean muscle mass. This can have big impacts on your overall balance and flexibility, as well as just your general capability to remain independent. Losing muscle mass also means slower metabolism, which can lead you to believe the more extreme measures are necessary to maintain or lose weight.
In short, stress makes lean muscle maintenance and gain harder. Our stress hormone cortisol creates an environment for breaking down muscle more readily than building muscle.
It’s in your best interest to lower stress if your goals are to build and maintain muscle mass as you age.
you've been over using cardio
Exercise is a form of stress on the body, and if you are not overexercising, that stress is beneficial as it forces change and adaptations to occur which benefits your metabolism and hormones.
If you’re over 40, you might incorrectly assume that cardio is the best way to maintain or lose weight. And if some cardio is good, more cardio (or more intense cardio) must be better.
But at some point in your life, perhaps right now, you might find that cardio isn’t working to achieve the health goals you have for yourself. Typically this occurs when you are stressed by other areas of your life and exercise stress from cardio tips things out of balance and leads to metabolic and hormonal consequences.
you have young kids and aging parents at the same time
Are you in that sandwich generation where you have kids at home and are also starting to take responsibility for your aging parents? This is a unique life place that poses a lot of challenges.
I have many clients in this same boat and we work on reducing stressors from areas you can control while also building resiliency to handle things you can’t control. And, much of this happens to be implementing a lot of what we’ve covered in this post – reducing alcohol use, improving poor eating habits and reducing overexercise to make for a more resilient body and mind.
If any of the above resonated with you, then you might be a great fit for coaching with my team! Learn more about coaching services to see if we would be a good fit together at the link below.