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“One of the most unfortunate weaknesses in the life cycle of our generation is our failure to honour age. As we mature past the obsessions of our earlier years and grapple with the meaning of our midlife, we face the karmic payback to our past overemphasis on the value of youth. We must rediscover and recast the meaning and importance of the mature, the elder, the wise one. Our fear of age will be cast out as we learn to respect its power.”

– Marianne Williamson

I am writing this blog about how to navigate midlife in a balanced and dignified way.

Many people ask me, ‘what do you mean by midlife?’
I want to clarify my understanding of it.
If you are in your early forties, whether you are still cycling or not, you are naturally entering this life cycle. Your experience, definitions, maturity and understanding matter, too, in terms of whether you feel you are at the threshold of midlife.

If you are in perimenopause, you are probably entering the door of midlife.
And what is perimenopause? There is confusion and various definitions!
Naturopathic doctor Laura Briden refers to all the years, usually from two to ten (and that varies for each individual) leading up to the final period. This time includes the one year after the last period.
On the other hand, some women may enter perimenopause in their thirties and may not identify themselves as midlife women.

And what is menopause?
Endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior describes menopause as
the life phase that begins one year after the last period. This period encompasses the last 30 or 40 years of our life. She does not use the term post-menopausal at all.

Others say menopause is only one day, occurring one year after the last bleed. And then they call post-menopause that time after that.

Lara Briden says that regardless of the term, even if there are troubling years leading to the final period and perhaps a couple of years after the last one, women can slowly settle into a more stable life phase.

I use the term midlife to describe generically, the second and most mature part of our life. Also, I use this term because I don’t necessarily want to focus on symptoms and ‘pathology’, even if we need to make space for that important conversation. In this letter, I also speak about physical and hormonal changes.
Let’s say that there is a time when people enter midlife, and then this cycle can have many chapters and journeys, as it is not linear; it moves in spirals and stretches out for thirty-forty years.

I am aware that there are nuances and language can be political too. For example, the expression midlife woman can sound quite derogative in Italian.

Some women have a very troubling midlife transition, while others, for example, have more effortless experiences.
Everyone is unique.

Generically speaking, entering midlife is a time of instability.
It is a liminal phase.
It can be scary.
The ground shakes.
Old identities and structures and dismantled.
There is physical, emotional and spiritual turmoil.

Navigating the beginning of midlife can be very challenging, but you can find ways to welcome this life cycle in a more dignified and empowered way.
Trust your gut and inner guidance to find your unique flavour in this journey!

I am also aware that many men read these weekly love letters. So, all this may be relevant to you so you can better understand and support your sisters, mothers, and partners. Moreover, men’s hormones change too, perhaps a bit later in life, while they enter ‘andropause’. They can also suffer from drops in testosterone, mood changes, depression and loss of libido.

So, how do you prepare for the second part of your life?
The years leading to it are crucial.

When you enter midlife, there is a recalibration of everything: how you exist in the world, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Your brain, hormonal and metabolic system change.

Taking care of your general overall health as much as possible is pivotal so that you can stabilise this transition.

Sometimes people’s well-being goes out of balance during this period, which can have long-term effects.
Therefore it is worth slowing down as it is an investment in your future.

I know it is challenging. People are all busy, and time can be a luxury for some. And we don’t live in a culture that supports natural rhythms, rest and restoration.

But if you make space for a pause, the rewards will come later in life, especially if you want to continue to be creative, offer your gifts to the world and have good years ahead and enough energy.

You may be experiencing some additional challenges.
Maybe you have ageing parents you are looking after or an energetic teenager, and you have little time to stick to a healthy routine.
Perhaps you are separating from your partner, changing your career or moving to another country. Or some of you may come to terms with not having children in this lifetime; others suffer from an empty nest.

And yet, it is crucial to remember that you are recalibrating your brain, metabolism, and hormones.

Please find the 1% change you can include and make space for more time for yourself.

You can remember a few extra straightforward things.
Spoiler alert! Read until the end, and you will find some good stuff about sex (we need more of that conversation, don’t we?)!!!

1) Reduce alcohol, sugar and junk food intake.

Alcohol is not friendly to the body while navigating the changes of midlife.
For example, researches show that the body doesn’t do well with it for sleep and hot flashes.

Sugar is addictive and may contribute to weight gain, poorer digestion, bloating, constipation and chronic digestive issues. It may affect your insulin levels and also impact your liver.
And liver function may be impacted by the decrease in estrogen.

As the liver also prioritises getting toxins out of your body, it is imperative to reduce as much as possible junk and processed food.
The good news is that the liver is also a very resilient organ capable of regeneration.

Please note this is not about triggering shame or guilt but an invitation to eat more healthy foods and take more responsibility for your overall well-being.

2) It is vital to move your body.

The metabolic change in your body may include a decrease in muscle mass.

And your body loves to move! I am sure you know that even when you don’t feel too well, if you walk, dance, or ride your bike, you will feel better afterwards and enjoy a waterfall of feel-good chemicals.
Exercise improves metabolism and can help reduce hot flashes and various challenging neurological aspects.

If you have not read it yet, you can check my articles about how dancing saved my life and the importance of embodied awareness.

3) It is essential to focus on sleep.

Sleep disturbances can be the number one problem, statistically, for many people in midlife. Maybe you were a good sleeper, and now suddenly, you start waking up at 3 am!

This aspect can be related to losing progesterone (a mood stabiliser) and estrogen (which regulates circadian rhythms).

Circadian rhythm is your body clock. It is essential for everything.
For example, morning light helps your brain remember that it is daytime.
Also, exercising early in the morning, going to bed at the same time and being in a dark room help the body improve its circadian rhythm.
(You can also read more below about supporting your nervous system).

You can try to have a hot bath at night: if you do it an hour before your sleep, it will lower your body temperature to drop later, promoting good sleep.

It is also important to create a pleasant sleeping environment, from having soft red light to reading poetry or making a list of gratitude to revisit your day. Entering consciously nighttime and having a little ritual may contribute to good sleep. Imagine that your bedroom is your sanctuary!

4) Support your nervous system.

Midlife is a time of spiritual emergence. Marion Woodman used an expression I love: ‘you are being ensouled’!
Your soul is fully landing in your body.
Midlife is a psycho-spiritual initiation.
If you have yet to read it, you can check my articles about midlife as a threshold and initiation and midlife and the fire of initiation.

Many women suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
Some others suffer from brain fog when estrogens drop.
During this recalibration process of midlfe, there may be a decrease in brain energy. This aspect may be related to sleep disturbances or mood changes. Moreover, poorer cognition may be related to the brain requiring more amino acids. For this reason, you will need to eat a more balanced diet. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can include simple protein sources (which are built of amino acids), such as quinoa, spirulina and hemp seeds.

Most women will see an improvement in brain function later in life. It is crucial to start implementing some tiny changes and self-care (remember, you can begin with small steps, and even a 1% improvement will make a difference!)

Naturopath practitioners agree that magnesium supports the brain and nervous system. It is a natural sleep aid that strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system and relaxes the muscles. You can enhance this intake by eating leafy greens.
It is essential to know that when stressed, the body eliminates magnesium.

Magnesium is a safe supplement unless someone has kidney disease.
Some forms of magnesium are more laxative than others.
Magnesium bis-glycinate is less laxative and quite bio-available.
Please chat with your trusted health practitioner about it, and you may discover other healing plants that can help you.

Downregulation at the end of the day also is critical.
Turn off your phone.
Don’t answer your emails.
Shelter from blue light in the evening to support melatonin and your sleep cycle (and circadian rhythm!).

You can include restoring practice to soothe the nervous system and avoid overstimulation or overexcitement. For instance, Ayurveda practitioners recommend alternative nostril breathing for fifteen minutes at the end of the day to calm down the adrenaline, which can also help with sleep.

And you can remember to journal, meditate, sing, and practice yoga if you need. Midlife is an opportunity to also tune in more deeply with your nervous system and learn what your body wants moment by moment. All you need to do is to pay attention.

5) Tap into your inner fire and creativity.

Many midlife women say they are in the most creative, expansive and productive phase. They can harvest life experience and maturity.
Life grows out of composted s**t!

Women can bring so much richness to our society and create change.
Our culture does not recognise the role of the crone or elder, yet so many people are boldly and radically reclaiming it!

So, let me ask you:
What’s your unique form to express your creativity?
How can you tend your inner fire?
How can you alchemise your struggles?

You can cultivate a garden, write poetry, join a tango class, and channel your fire uniquely.

Writing these weekly love letters helps me feel my creative juice and gives me comfort and solace in challenging moments.
And yet, sometimes I feel some volcanic energy inside me, and that something wants to take shape and emerge, but I don’t know yet what it is. I can only feel it. This creative force wants my attention. I know I need to be patient. Trusting that a greater life’s intelligence is moving through me is also essential.

I invite you to water your seeds while still buried in the darkness of the soil!

Moreover, many people find that reconnecting to their anger in a non-judgmental and playful way (i.e., dancing to the wild rhythms of drums, practising a martial art, writing without censorship, making animal sounds, or tearing a non-valuable object vigorously) is an essential step in reclaiming that inner fire.

As I grew up being a nice and obedient girl, nowadays, connecting to anger’s fire is also a tool to liberate myself from that depression that stemmed from repressing this part of my life force.

Exploring your inner fire consciously in an alchemical way is also crucial to avoid being burned by it, especially when things may feel out of control.
Channel it, sister!

Last but not least, if you are dealing with hot flashes, you can also imagine that fire burning all that needs to be transmuted!

6) Create your support network and find your anchors.

Whatever you are experiencing, finding ways to reach out when you feel lonely or anxious is vital.
We all live in a very individualistic culture with a terrible loss of community and solidarity. This tragic aspect is also related to the disconnection from the living elemental forces around us and the other-than-human world.

How can you identify the people, objects, where and when that enhance your sense of connection?
How can you create your support team?

If you can afford it, you could include a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a herbalist, a coach, or a trusted friend in your support network.

You could also agree with somebody to check in daily, on a quick phone call or by message, to share a few words. I do it regularly when I am feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes it helps to say,’ hey, I am not doing too well today’, and have somebody on the other side listening without judgment or needing to fix anything. It makes me feel less alone.
I also know that sometimes I get lost in my stuff, so I remind myself to do the same for my friends and tell them that I am thinking of them and love them. Sometimes we can bring ease to our suffering when we show up for others.

If you are struggling and there is a part of you still carrying a lot of wounds from the past, it is not easy to snap out of a frozen feeling.
I know it may be challenging to reach out if you are overwhelmed or experiencing high anxiety. And yet, I invite you to step back and make a conscious choice to tap into what feels alive, even if it is only a tiny 1%.

Find an anchor that can soothe or comfort you, even if small.
See if you can include even just a 1% more comfort, ease and support.

And I invite you to check which part of you is frozen or unable to function fully.
Which part of you feels lonely or believes there is no support for you?
Ask her what she needs right now.
How can you come back into connection with yourself and the environment around you?

Can you call a friend?
Can you put some music on?
Can you go out for a walk?
Can you look at a tree or something beautiful?
Can you read an inspiring book or quote?
Can you help somebody else?
Can you have a hot bath?

If there is no immediate help or support and if you are feeling in despair, you can the emergency line of the Samaritans.
You don’t have to suffer alone.

7) Explore a new relationship with your body and sexuality.

At midlife, women may also face a change in their sexuality and loss of libido due to decreased testosterone and estrogen.

Some others may experience vaginal dryness and benefit from lubrication to avoid pain during sex.

Commonly, the clitoris and nerves around it may shrink, affecting the capacity to have pleasure. But let’s not forget that the clitoris is divinely designed by nature for pleasure!

Other physical changes may occur.
The tissue of the vulva may become thinner, it can tear, and it becomes easier to get an infection, and penetration can become painful or uncomfortable.
The urethra can protrude more, and that also can lead to urinary infections.
All this mustn’t be a secret, and we must talk about it!

Things are shifting hugely in the body, and many people feel lonely in this phase. Moreover, all these topics may sound embarrassing for some women; therefore, we must reclaim and normalise them! In this way, we can have more control over our health and be more at ease with ourself and in our intimate relationships with others.

This awareness around physical and hormonal changes may lead you to explore new things; what worked or stimulated you before may not work now.
It is a new level of discovery and connection to your body.

Furthermore, since our society offers stereotypical images of beauty and youth and how a body needs to look, many women in midlife may struggle with body image. Let’s not listen to industries that want to sell us products!

Can you recognise the beauty and miracle of your living body besides its size and shape?
Can you hold your body as sacred?
Can you love and accept your rounded belly, wrinkles and white hair?

And let me ask you:
How do you want to redefine sexuality and intimacy?

There is a lot of focus on genitals and penetration and heterosexual focus, which is such a narrow view. And our culture promotes loveless cheap sex.

Sex and intimacy can be anything that leads you to satisfaction, connection and pleasure.
And being intimate with someone also means being vulnerable, being naked at the soul level, revealing wounds, growing beyond masks, removing armours and finding ways to heal together.

Women increasingly understand the importance of letting go of outcomes, expectations, goals and perhaps even orgasms in sexuality.

There is a risk of women refraining from sex if it does not look like in those old days when hormones were rampant.

You could explore what it means to feel pleasure in your whole body, from head to toes!

It is also relevant to differentiate pleasure from orgasm.
Some people may fear that if they don’t have an orgasm, that does not count, and they may become frustrated and upset. Describing something as pleasure may take the pressure off and lift things a bit. There is no need to perform anything. And taking off these labels may help you experience things you have not experienced.

I am on this journey to deepen my connection to my partner beyond limiting habits and beliefs! There is so much to unlearn!

Remember: your mind is your biggest sexual organ!

There is nothing wrong with you if you feel your desire is not as before. It is essential to release shame and guilt because those are libido killers.
Don’t beat yourself up.
And If that is the case, you can even decide to schedule sex with your partner!

Historically, words and labels describe women who either enjoy sex or don’t (from whore to frigid!) I invite you to embark on a journey to discover what you want, what you like and what works for you.
You can do simple things to explore your relationship with your body in this life cycle. For example, re-ignite a loving and pleasurable connection with your body to get to yourself at the deepest level. That will improve intimacy with a partner if you have one. You may start with loving your breasts. You can use coconut or almond oil to massage them. This way, you can also connect to your heart and feminine essence. Breathe. Allow life force and energy to move through you. This way, you can also connect to your heart and feminine essence.

If that matters to you, you can make love for the next forty years and have great sex and true intimacy. You can become an artist in your bedroom.
It starts with a conversation with yourself, other women, and your partner. It begins with the willingness to explore challenging topics and be with the discomfort.

Midlife is the time to have sex and intimacy on your terms, how much you want it, how often and what pleasures you beyond societal expectations, taboos and rules (especially regarding an ageing woman’s body!).

Last but not least, around this theme of sexuality, it is crucial to mention that some old trauma may resurface, as this typically happens in midlife. So, that may be related to sexual abuse. An incredible number of women suffered some form of abuse that they don’t know how to define, which may affect their sexuality and other areas of their life. If this is happening to you, this could be a moment to look for the support of a therapist.


So, my dear friend! This list and invitations above are not exhaustive. Feel free to get in touch to share your ideas, what is working for you or if you want to hear more about other topics. I am always happy to hear from my readers.

I also want to acknowledge that many midlife women struggle deeply with mental health. There is a terrible increase in suicide rates and depression. Often the conversations about midlife or menopause are quite heteronormative or don’t include the suffering of women, for example living with ADHD, different able bodies or in marginalised situations.
Especially those who are vulnerable and have little support or income may find it terribly challenging to navigate this life cycle. We can hopefully create at least more inclusive and culturally sensitive conversations.
We can hopefully contribute to removing stigma and taboos by talking about mental health.
I wish there were simple answers to how we can find collectively and systemically ways to eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having better access to care and support.
I long for more intimate and meaningful conversations around midlife.
I don’t have a solution here or quick fixes.
And I would like your thoughts and your take on this.

If you are lucky enough to slow down and take good care of yourself, I celebrate and honour you.
Thank you for the radical courage you have to do it!
Thank you for reclaiming the connection to your body and the wisdom of this life transition!
Thank you for being here today and taking the time to read this letter.