Being Busy for an Empty Nester

Raising two healthy, intelligent, and successful children is quite the accomplishment in anybody’s book. Any parent knows that raising children is an enormous job. When Bobby and Clara both moved out of the house, it was hard to accept the fact that they were grown and didn’t need to be sheltered by their mother and father anymore.

But since then I have realized and embraced, that my children are grown, and my husband and I have “made it.” We raised two children that are incredible contributions in today’s society. I know they are going to do big things and I couldn’t be more proud of who they have become.

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Since Bobby and Clara left the house I have picked up many hobbies, a new job, and revived my pre-children life. My husband and I have be able to spend so much time together. We have been able to reconnect to our first love “honeymoon” stage and reignite our love for each other.

kicking-them-out-of-the-nestI have also begun practicing healthy lifestyle changes that have taken up a lot of my free time. I love seeing my body changing for the better. Healthy eating and exercising have made me feel like a new woman. The best part of my lifestyle change is that it helps control my menopausal symptoms…WHEW, ladies you know what I mean. I am so happy with my lifestyle change and feel rewarded every day.

Tai Chi has also been a very beneficial additive to my life. It has helped me ease into exercising and I have made quite a few of friends. Group fitness classes help motivate me and make me want to work to achieve my goals.

I also decided to make a career change that I couldn’t be happier about. I love working for a floral shop part time. Being a floral designer has opened so many doors and has given me countless learning opportunities. Being part time also allows me to have time to focus on my relationships and my life.

Being an empty nester, my husband and I had the pleasure to go on a trip of a lifetime to New York City. I have wanted to go since I was a little girl and spending a week in the big apple with the love of my life was everything I expected and more. The little adventures with my husband make my empty nest life so much more exciting.

The realization that our children’s journey is not going to stop after they have moved out has been the best thing that has happened to me. I am much more positive and can handle being an empty nester better. Our kids will always come back to the warmth of our home and every time they do they will be even more mature and make us proud parents. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!

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For all you newly empty nesters; know that it gets better. The first couple months are very difficult accepting the fact that your children are moved out and on their own, but know they will come back. Being an empty nester gives you the opportunity to rediscover yourself, take some time to reconnect, and make yourself an even better parent.

It can be difficult but it is definitely a rewarding experience watching your children become even more mature adults 😉

Until next time,

Nancy

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Menopause and Food

I feel like I haven’t talked about my menopausal life in a while, so here it goes.:)  I have been handling my symptoms much better since taking my health and well-being into my own hands.  Exercising and eating healthy has helped immensely, but I have been slipping off the healthy food choice train.  I really need to focus and start getting back into the swing of things.  My hot flashes don’t like when I eat poorly.
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I know from experience, you are what you eat when going through menopause.  I think my diet has been one of the biggest triggers for inducing symptoms.  I write down what I eat, when I eat it, and if I get any symptoms later I write it down too.  It has helped me determine what triggers different kinds of symptoms.  Continuing to learn and keeping track, I have been able to figure out what cause them and how to manage.
I stopped eating foods like chocolate, spicy food, coffee, and alcohol in the evening and my hot flashes and night sweats decreased, it was a mini miracle.  Since finding different foods cause different symptoms, I have been really focusing on keeping a food journal.

Since menopause I have noticed sugary foods tend to make me tired.  Sugary snacks cause blood glucose levels to rise and then sharply dip making you feel tired and drained.  By replacing sugary snacks, like candy bars, with fruits and nuts keep me awake and alert.

I used to suffer from insomnia very frequently because of hot flashes and night sweats.  When I eat natural carbohydrates like whole grain bread, I noticed it helps me fall asleep.  Eating large meals before bed also caused me to stay up all night.

Post 34-NancyBell (1)  Everyone gets moody once and a while, but I would notice myself getting quite the attitude because of my hormonal changes.  Eating omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, salmon, and mackerel helped stabilize my mood and attitudes.  Vegetables that are rich in B vitamins like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and beets also help stabilize my moods.
Eating more phytoestrogens in my diet helped me manage menopausal symptoms.  They increase estrogen and help keep hormones a little more in balance.  I eating more phytoestrogens through plant-based foods like soy, tofu, tempeh, miso, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, celery, rhubarb, and green beans.

I know it sounds corny but the phrase; eat to live, don’t live to eat, makes so much more sense since menopause.  I used to live to eat, indulging myself in comfort foods and not concerning myself with the result.  Since menopause I have changed that mindset, eating to live.  I feel so much healthier and am handling my menopause symptoms much better.
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I truly believe that exercising and eating well help control annoying symptoms.  If you have any other suggestions or tricks you use to combat menopause symptoms, I would love to hear about it, please comment below!

Until next time,

Nancy

A New Direction- Floral Arrangements

Ever since I took the floral arrangement class a few months ago I have been making bouquets and center pieces left and right. Even some of my friends have begun asking me to make them for them and their friends’ homes and parties. I really enjoying designing and creating them, it is nice to channel my creativity in such a productive way.

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I recently was considering applying for part time florist and floral design jobs. I think it would be fun and I would be keeping myself busy. This morning I built up the courage to apply for a few florist jobs around town! It was really exciting, I felt so good about myself afterwards. I have grown so much in the past year; I don’t think I would have ever expected myself to be doing what I am today.

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I have learned so much from the class I am taking but, I think if I was in a setting where I was constantly being challenged, I would thrive and learn so much more! Learning is key in growing old; or at least that’s what I think. I notice my attitude become so much more positive and upbeat when I am learning or engaging in something knew.
Reading the summary of duties on the job posting made me nervous and excited about the possibilities. I would be designing arrangements, producing special orders, setting up at venues, and providing inspiration for seasonal presentations. I haven’t had a job that allowed that much creativity EVER! I think this would be an incredible opportunity.
From beginning my Tai Chi classes and participating in the Floral arranging classes my mind has been so much clearer. I am using learning to beat the empty nest syndrome…and menopause. 🙂

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Keep your fingers crossed, I really hope I get this position. I feel like it would be a great step in the right direction.

Until next time,
Nancy

Dealing with Night Sweats

My night sweats and hot flashes have been continually been getting better over the past month.  I think my hormones are being nice to me and trying to balance out a bit…I hope so. 🙂  There are many factors that cause and initiate night sweats for me; my environmental, psychological and behavioral situations can transform me into a fish at night.
Here are some tips that work for my symptoms
•    Wear loose clothing made of natural fibers to bed
•    Keep the bedroom cool and well-ventilated
•    Avoid spicy foods before bed
•    Maintain a regular schedule before bed
•    Avoid excessive caffeine…very difficult for a coffee-holic 🙂
•    Exercise regularly, not before bed

I also keep a personal journal of the frequency of my night sweats and hot flashes and what I think might have caused them.  This journal gives me an idea of how the night sweats and hot flashes were triggered and how to prevent it in the future.  I noticed spicy foods and light night snacks equaled a sweaty night for me.  Since realizing this I have been able to change my diet and have seen a difference.

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It’s not always about what you are doing but what you aren’t doing.  Since I began eating healthier and exercising I have also noticed a decrease in the intensity of them.  I really believe that exercising is good for the entire body, I feel such achievement after every work out.
Emotional and behavioral tendencies also can cause night sweats.  Here are a few that affect me-
•    High stress situations
•    Anxiety
•    Disturbing dreams- nobody enjoys a nightmare
I was shocked to find out 75% of menopausal women experience night sweats.  I am glad I am not alone.  Although my night sweats have been kinder to me lately, I love hearing about what other people do to control them. You never know when you need better techniques to deal with them.

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Please leave a comment on how you control your night sweats and hot flashes.

Keep Cool,
Nancy

These Symptoms are NORMAL??

Who is ready for another menopausal post? I promise I won’t go on a rant about it for that long! 🙂 After I had the hot flash that melted some of the polar ice caps, I decided it was time to go to the doctor to see what was going on and what I can do to help these unceasing symptoms.  I just got back from the gynecologist and my symptoms are normal…NORMAL! I was sure I had some new strain of menopause causing my body to turn into a volcano.

menopause-girl-on-fireI guess I am going through perimenopause, the transition in to menopause, it sure seems like I’m traveling through Mars and not menopause.  She said that during this stage my hormones levels are on a rollercoaster going up and down; I’m glad they are having fun because I definitely am not.  Some symptoms can last for months or even YEARS! I hope that mine are on the rollercoaster right out the door.  On a positive note, I guess it’s positive, my doctor said my symptoms can be managed by some minor lifestyle changes.

The doctor recommended light physical activity and eating healthy food to help make the symptoms begin to subside.  I sure hope that these little changes help the hot flashes and night sweats, I’m tired of being so sweaty I sparkle.  I am going to have to find ways to incorporate activity and healthy eating into everyday life, it shouldn’t be that difficult….right?

I consider myself a fairly healthy woman.  I don’t eat that bad and I try walking as much as I can.  I guess I am going to have to up my healthy eating and activity level.  I think I’m going to try to going on walks more often during the week and taking the stairs whenever I can.  Committing to taking the stairs is pretty scary, there are stairs everywhere!  I really need to stay focused on the goal and hope that working on maintaining a healthy lifestyle my symptoms will become easier to deal with.  Everyone take a moment and send some positive thoughts my way! 🙂

So now that I know these annoying symptoms are normal and a lot of women have the same unpleasant symptoms; I’m going to have to really buckle down and focus on my health and physical activity.  It is going to be difficult, so any suggestions or motivation are greatly appreciated!

Until next time,

Nancy

From Shoulder Pads to Fabulous

I have never been one to follow fashion trends, I always shop for the best deals and steals.

Because of that, my wardrobe isn’t exactly up to date…at all. I certainly have no idea what is “in” anymore. After my menopausal rant, I decided if my body wants to constantly be hot I need start dressing like a hot mature woman.

My closet hasn’t exactly changed since the 90’s. Every mother knows, especially if you have a daughter, when you go shopping it always ends up about them; five bags for them and one for you, if you’re lucky. Now that I actually have time for myself, it is time to spice up my style. I’m over my funeral home of a closet, everything I own is black. Even my family comments about my morbid hues of clothing. My go to outfit for work is a big boxy blazer, with the 90’s favorite shoulder pads, classic trousers, and a blouse. And guess what color it is…BLACK! I desperately need a pop of color to look alive.

My anniversary with the hubby is coming up, so it is the perfect excuse to go shopping for something new. I am so fashion-illiterate I had to do a quick search on how to dress 50 and fabulous. “Don’t be afraid of colors, dress for your body type, chic patterns are your friend, let go of baggy clothes that weigh you down…” flooded the search results. Well, I guess if I am going to find clothes that look good I’m going to have to try new things, bring it on! I am ready for a little change.

After I built up my courage to go to the mall, it was so freeing walking in knowing the day was all mine. Where do I start? I have always loved Talbots and Ann Taylor but have always been afraid to try things on in the store. I have this fear when I try things on nothing will fit or I will think it looks good but it actually looks terrible. Very irrational, I know.

But, today was my day, I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try things on. I constantly found myself gravitating towards the black shirts and pants…NO MORE BLACK! I had to forcefully avoid falling back into my funeral home clothes habit.

After I had an arm full of clothes I went into the dreaded dressing room. Shockingly, I loved it, the store attendant reminded me of Clara when she would help me pick out clothes, she was so sweet. The attendant was helpful getting new sizes and gave me great fashion advice for a woman my age. And the best part was we somehow got on the topic of menopause and hot flashes, she had some advice on what fabrics to wear to wick away the sweat and stay cool. Finally, someone who understands my struggles. 

I ended up with the PERFECT dress for our anniversary dinner, and it wasn’t black! A round of applause for me! I also ended up getting four more outfits that fit my personality and the style I didn’t even know I had. I guess I forgot what it feels like to go shopping and get new clothes. I feel like a whole new person; rejuvenated and sophisticated.  

I will definitely be back to the mall very soon!

Here is the website picture of the dress I got for my anniversary dinner! I love IT!

dress I got for my  anniversary dinner

Until next time,

Nancy