Nothing can throw a woman off kilter more quickly than a birthday signifying a new decade. In your teens and 20s, your life is a magnificent smorgasbord of tasting and testing, exploration and discovery, trial and error.
Then suddenly – the clock ticks over – you enter your 30s, and you’re forced to choose a direction instead of simply meandering. If you haven’t already, you begin to claim your own path, and start building your legacy in life.
Everyone is different of course, and many of these tips and observations may not apply, but for the purposes of this blog, I can interject personal experiences with general hypotheses, and hopefully help reveal some perspective.
1. Fitness and Nutrition: I was a mother of four in my thirties, and I quickly realised that life was not all about me anymore. Many women in their thirties start a family around this time, and life can get very hectic very fast. Your body changes and because of hormonal activity and the ageing process itself, you may notice a shift in your weight. Eating healthy meals, shedding extra baby kilos and sticking to any kind of exercise routine becomes secondary to getting enough sleep! The general formula never changes. Calories in versus calories out maybe an over simplification, but it makes sense to balance the food you eat with regular movement. I have always struggled with the formal ‘exercise’ part, so I prefer to use the word movement. Long daily walks pushing the kids in strollers, bouncing on trampolines and generally chasing them around was how I moved. You could:
• Play with the kids, or join an aerobics class, take up Yoga or Pilates (many classes have crèches if you need them)
• Stock the fridge with as much fresh food as possible and avoid buying high calorie snack foods, no matter how tempted you are.
• Take multivitamins to make sure you are topped up with the nutrients you need
2. Healthy Bones: Once you reach your thirties, you start to lose more bone mass than you produce, and the risk of osteoporosis increases. You might notice that your posture has sagged a little after years of sitting at office desks, not to mention bearing children and then constantly carrying them around. Yoga and Pilates can help to focus on your abdominal core and maintain posture, as well as elongating your muscles to help support your joints. Weight bearing exercises can keep your bones healthy, as does a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and folic acid. There is much clinical evidence to prove that taking Resveratrol can help maintain healthy bones.
3. Taking Care of Your Skin: Now that you’re in your thirties, time begins to reveal itself in the form of slight wrinkles, especially around your eyes and mouth. This is when the process of collagen and elastin breakdown begins. These elements are the ‘building blocks’ of our skin, so you need to start the prevention process now. It’s crucial to keep your skin hydrated with top quality skincare products. Exfoliate regularly to clear away dead skin cells. Use products containing antioxidants which fight free radicals like pollution, and the sun’s rays – and always use a good sunscreen. Get used to the changes you’ll begin to see in the mirror and embrace them. After all, there will always be someone older who wishes they were your age.
4. Have Regular Medical Checks: If you are thinking of starting a family, it’s important to establish the state of your health from the start, so book in for a complete physical. Obviously during pregnancy your body changes and your lifestyle may need some adjustments and forfeits to accommodate the imminent arrival. After giving birth, your body can be like a stranger, having gone through some enormous changes. But whether you are thinking of having children or not, you need to maintain your health by:
• Having pap smears as often as your doctor recommends
• Getting your breasts checked
• Monitoring your blood pressure, particularly if there is a family history of problems
• Having your skin checked for moles and lesions
• Deciding whether to continue with your current contraception methods
5. Remember Who You Are: For some women, their 30’s brings purpose and direction, but for many others, they can feel ‘a loss of self’. This can be due to lots of different stresses and constraints, including a busy career, motherhood, marriage or partnership, concerns about getting older, financial worries and many more. This is all completely normal, but it’s very important to remember to love yourself. No matter what else is going on in your life, you should never lose sight of the fact that first and foremost, you are a significant individual whose dreams, aspirations and feelings mean something. You were you before you became an employee, wife, mother or carer. You still have needs and wants, and ignoring these can later lead to feelings of resentment, bitterness and restlessness, and even the breakdown of relationships. As with all things, balance is key. Life is a juggling act in your 30’s but make sure that one of the balls in the air is yours.
• Write. Keep a regular journal expressing your feelings. Reflect, record or just vent
• Meditate. It frees your mind and opens you up to your true thoughts
• Take time out. Whether it’s moments or hours, make them, unnegotiably yours alone
• Question. Find your own belief system, and live by it – even if it goes against what others think.
Above all, enjoy your 30’s. I can vouch for the fact that they pass so quickly!