After the age of 50, younger people and media marketing would have you think your best days are behind you. However, women in all professions, positions and occupations are proving that isn’t the case. With wisdom and experience on our side, we’re able to achieve success in all areas of life by taking advantage of privileges our younger selves might not have had, such as greater independence and a solid sense of self.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t struggles to be faced. Women over 50 still experience challenges that can impact their mental health. Whether you're dealing with the ups and downs of menopause, coping with life transitions, or feeling anxious and depressed, it's important to take steps to safeguard your mental wellness so you can feel your best at any age.
Read below to learn about mental health after menopause and what you can do to reduce stress, improve your mood and live up to your potential.
Society stigmatizes aging and the symptoms that women deal with before, during and after menopause. There’s also some deep-rooted imagery of women becoming irrelevant after “the change” that can leave them feeling marginalized. This, combined with very real biological factors that occur within the body, can contribute to a number of mental health concerns that become more common in women over time.
Menopause brings with it a number of hormonal changes that can impact your mood. However, mental health problems in women over 50 might be masked by these symptoms. Studies show that life stressors, menopause and other factors can increase the risk of anxiety or depression, so don’t overlook persistent feelings of sadness or worry. Getting help can reduce your symptoms and help you improve your overall mental wellness.
Sleep problems like insomnia are more common in women than men, especially as we age. In fact, as many as 60% of women report sleep disturbances after menopause. Experts think this is related to hormones, aging and changes that occur within the brain.
Since insomnia is linked to poor mental and physical health, it’s important to make good quality sleep a priority. The National Sleep Foundation recommends taking steps like reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, avoiding spicy food and keeping your bedroom cool at night to catch some better z’s, but therapy and medication can also help you change your sleep habits and develop strategies for falling asleep easier.
Often, we forget that transitioning into late adulthood is a continuing journey that can be both exciting and strenuous. It’s a time fraught with change, where many women over 50 are juggling an established career, shifting priorities, unexpected life events and other responsibilities all at once. It can get stressful, but talking about these challenges with a friend, family member or mental health professional can help you cope better. Additionally, dedicating time to self-care activities can reduce your stress levels and help you maintain a positive mindset.
Loss of confidence throughout menopause can occur due to reduced hormone levels, but it may also be influenced by the stigma of getting older, the physical changes associated with aging and significant life events. Therapy and improved self-care can help you determine what’s behind this sudden shift and how you can address it, whether that means changing your outlook or trying something new. You might surprise yourself!
Just because you’ve reached a certain age doesn’t mean you have to put up with common health problems. It also doesn’t mean that there’s no path left to forge. Think about this: at the age of 50 or over, and you know what you like and what you don't. You have developed tolerance and patience, your problem-solving skills are well-honed, and your communication skills are stellar. When you leverage this experience and take care of your mental wellness, anything is possible. Let's look at some older women who are out there killing the game, proving that you can too.
Greta Pontarelli: Greta Pontarelli started her pole fitness journey at the age of 59 as an avenue to stay active and avoid generational osteoporosis. Since then, she has earned twenty medals and twelve world championships. Greta is also a five-time Pole Sports Master Class Champion. "My goal is to inspire people not to let age or any limitation keep them from following their dreams," says Pontarelli.
Ellen Latham: Ellen Latham is the founder of Orangetheory Fitness, a workout that’s gained a large following and earned over $1 billion in franchise-wide sales. Her rise to the top began after being fired from her job as a physiologist at a high-end wellness spa. She faced uncertainty in that moment but decided to find her own path forward, which started with taking on private clients and teaching pilates out of her home. It took time, but her business grew and she founded Orangetheory Fitness years later at the age of 53. It wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t believed in herself. “You have to believe in your potential,” she says. “Sometimes women feel very small, not big, and when you believe in yourself, you become big.”
Ernestine Shepherd: Ernestine "Ernie" Shepherd is the world's oldest bodybuilding champion at the age of eighty. Ernestine began her fitness journey at the age of fifty-six when she decided that she no longer liked the way she looked in a bathing suit. Since beginning her bodybuilding journey, Ernestine has won several championships. She encourages older people to do what they love by saying, "Age is a number; it is never too late to be great."
Greta Pontarelli, Ellen Latham, and Ernestine Shepherd are just three examples to show you that anything is possible at any age. They are living proof that our best days might yet be ahead of us, despite the challenges that come with menopause and getting older. Many women over 50 are starting businesses, racing in triathlons, and competing in fitness contests — we firmly believe that by taking charge of your mental wellness, you can too.
Aging in a society that emphasizes youth can be difficult. The stigma of getting older and the mental health challenges that accompany it can make you feel boxed in, while the symptoms of menopause can make it difficult to feel your best. If you’re having a hard time maintaining your mental wellness or accepting the aging process, SokyaHealth is here. Our professional and caring staff can help you deal with anxiety, depression, insomnia and other issues that are new or different than what you've experienced before. We can also help you navigate big life changes and live up to your full potential as a woman over 50. You don't have to do it alone — call us at 866-932-4791 to get started today.