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Depression in Menopause may be Your Ultimate Wake-Up Call to Shake up Your Life and Live Happily Ever After

Depression, as we all know, is a serious matter and can be life-threatening at it’s worst. This post is particularly geared towards women who have not experienced prior depression to any serious degree before, but are suddenly confronted with what seems like depression in menopause.

If you have a family history of depression, or have had a diagnosis of depression, and have been or are being treated for it, you need to use this post purely for insight! Some elements may still ring true for you, as you may find that the depression seems worse now in midlife.

Depression in menopause

Menopause and depression have common symptoms

If you’ve gone through menopause (or are still clutched in its greedy claws), you will be familiar with its many and varied symptoms. The hot flashes, night sweats, menopause belly, mood swings, disturbed sleep or insomnia, dry skin and hair, and dwindling interest in sex (to name but a few), are all too common and leave you feeling like you’ve lost the plot of your life!

On top of all that, you may have increased feelings of anxiety, you feel stressed out more often than not and are more irritable than usual.

Depression in menopause is often not easy to identify as the symptoms of depression and menopause are similar in many ways. These similar symptoms include sleep disturbances, irritability, lapse in concentration, fatigue, loss of confidence and feelings of anxiety. In this way, what you think are merely symptoms of menopause and something you just have to get through during this phase of your life, are actually symptoms of depression.

Research shows that women are in fact, often at increased risk of depression during midlife, and it is important to be able to tell the difference between depression and the “normal” symptoms of menopause.

Are you depressed, or is this “normal” menopause?

So, if the symptoms of menopause and depression are similar in many ways, how do you know if you are in fact depressed, or if you are experiencing symptoms of menopause which is not as serious?

Good question! There are however, some markers which would indicate that you are experiencing depression and not only symptoms of menopause.

Signs of midlife depression (or any depression, for that matter)

  • Low mood which is consistent and lasts daily for over two weeks
  • Feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness
  • Extreme fatigue and loss of energy where you find it difficult some days to get out of bed
  • Changes in your normal eating habits – mainly loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Disrupted sleep patterns which may include bad dreams or feelings of dread
  • Lack of purpose in life where you feel that there is no direction in your life
  • Either extreme irritability with those around you, or withdrawing from them
  • Feeling like all the good days of your life are over and there is nothing good left
  • Thoughts of suicide – feeling like it does not matter if you live or die
  • Others have noticed your personality changes and hopeless state of mind

If you recognize yourself here, get help!

While we may all experience a few of these symptoms from time to time, we’re talking about enduring many or most of these symptoms over a prolonged period of time, with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.

If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing several of the above symptoms, please, take action! No one should suffer like this! Arrange some counselling, either through a church (who often offer counselling services if you are strapped for cash), or through a licensed therapist who can help you navigate this challenge in your life.

At the very least, speak to a good and trusted friend or family member who can offer you support at this time. The worst thing you can do is to curl up into a little ball of hurt and not seek help!

You may need medication, at least for a while, and there is no shame in that. Other things which may help you to cope with depression is undertaking some life changes – start regular exercise, eat healthy, volunteer programs and look after your health.

Low self-esteem

Why do so many midlife women seem depressed? Does menopause cause depression?

There is no definite answer to this, but some research has indicated that women in midlife are at an increased risk of depression compared to women in other phases of life. A possible reason for this is a family history of depression, or prior personal episodes of depression. This is understandable as life transitions are always challenging to negotiate.

But what if you have never been depressed before, and there is no family history of depression? Where did this depression suddenly come from at this stage of your life?

Research suggests that the midlife phase of a woman’s life is one of the most challenging phases to be faced in her lifetime. The life stressors and role changes you will experience during midlife are significant, and the way that you negotiate this phase of your life willl have a profound impact on the quality of the rest of your life.

Life stressors in midlife women

Although every phase of life produces its own set of life stressors (life stressors are major life events which impact your life), the stressors in midlife women have significant impacts. You may experience these life stressors to varying degrees depending on your particular set of life circumstances during this life phase.

The onset of menopause

  • Significant physical changes impact this life event, the most noticeable being the loss of menstrual periods. While this may be a cause of celebration for many women, others may experience a sense of loss of no longer being able to bear children. They may feel in a sense that they have lost their femininity, or even that they have lost their sense of purpose (motherhood).
  • The various menopause symptoms also cause physical discomfort, much like younger women experiencing PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) with cramps, moodiness and backache. The menopausal woman has different aches and pains with their declining estrogen levels, even though they no longer experience period pains. They now have hot flashes, night sweats, loss of bone mineral density which can lead to osteoporosis, foot problems, thinning hair and general aches and pains.
  • Of course, different women will experience different symptoms at different intensities, much like younger women experience PMS and childbirth at different levels of intensity!

The “Empty Nest”

After nurturing their children for many years, having them live at home and caring for them daily, it is often difficult when children grow up and leave home. you may experience sadness and loneliness, particularly if you have no life partner living with you, or if you are in a bad marriage which often becomes more apparent once the children leave home. You could well end up feeling like your life purpose is over.

The death of your parents

If your parents live to a ripe old age, you may well be going through your midlife phase when they pass on. Even though you are independent and have raised your own family and may not have even lived close to them, most people feel a significant loss when their parents pass on.

The death of your spouse

  • You may face the loss of your spouse when you are going through midlife, especially if there have been health issues present.  This is a devastating life change for anyone, even more so if you have spent most of your life with that person.
  • Depending on your financial situation, and if there were any life insurance policies, you may then also face some financial difficulties. It may even be necessary for you to get a job even if you have not worked in years. This could prove difficult, depending on your skills and age, and this adds to your stress.

Divorce in midlife

  • Many people may stay in an unhealthy marriage and never resolve their issues as they feel that they are “staying together for the children”. Some couples remain married for years, only to divorce in midlife after the children leave home.
  • Often, midlife divorce turns out to be a great source of regret in later life. The “midlife crisis” period may lead you to feel that you will be happier without your spouse, or there may be a midlife fling with another individual on either side. You may just feel that you’re not happy right now, and that you deserve to live out your remaining years in happiness, feeling like the grass will be greener on the other side, away from your spouse.
  • Regardless of whether you initiate the divorce or are opposed to it, the lifestyle changes you will experience are enormous and may lead to regret later. This will be the subject of a future post.

Divorce in midlife

Change in your work life/retirement

You will retire during this phase of your life, depending on where you live and your country’s laws and expectations. If you have been employed all your life, perhaps have a high-level job, or you have put your whole life into your work, having to retire may leave you feeling unfulfilled, useless and depressed. You may be at loose ends with yourself, wondering how to fill up your days, especially if you are not involved with other hobbies, interests, clubs or charity/church work.

Role changes for midlife women

From young, childbearing womanhood to mature (non-childbearing) womanhood

  • Your time to be a young, childbearing mommy has passed. You’ve been there, done that, and worn out the t-shirt! You may miss those days, or you may be glad they’re over. No more pregnancy, childbirth, sleepless nights (from babies and small children anyway), teething, nappies, school lunch making, mom’s taxi or childcare responsibilities.
  • Depending on your state of mind, you may enjoy your new role free of childcare responsibilities, although, once a mother, always a mother! You are still there, ready to support and guide, but you no longer have the day-to-day “heavy lifting” duties of motherhood.
  • Some women grieve the loss of their childbearing (fertile) years, fearing that they are no longer attractive, they’ve lost their femininity, and that the world is geared up to young, attractive women, and that there is no place for them. Feeling too much like this is more likely to lead you to depression.

 Mother to grandmother

  • You may become a grandmother in midlife, although many women become grandmothers much earlier than that. Although you will always be a mother, you are now a grandmother to your baby’s babies which is a different role for you.
  • You can support your children through their parenting years (to the extent that they will allow), but the final responsibility for their children rests with them! They should be experiencing the sleepless nights, teething and anxieties related to parenting children just as you did with them.

Carer for your aging and ailing parents

  • You may now find yourself taking decisions on behalf of your elderly parents and caring for them as they once did for you. The roles are now reversed, and you may need to assist them with their physical needs just as they did for you all those years ago.
  • It is hard to watch your strong caregiver parent sometimes reduced to frailty and dependency due to illness or old age. They may need you to do embarrassing tasks for them like they did for you as a young child. such as taking them to the toilet, changing diapers and feeding them. This can be a very stressful time for both of you.

Caring for an entire family to caring only for you and your husband, or even living alone

  • As your children grow up, they tend to spend less time at home with you, even if they are still officially living at home. They make plans with friends, come home late or even sleep out, and generally do their own thing. And then they move out.
  • And you are no longer doing the things that you were doing for years. As their independence has grown and their lives have changed, so has yours whether you felt ready for it or not…
  • No more large and noisy family dinners around the table, everyone talking and laughing, where you could not get a word in edge-ways. Now it’s quiet, only the two of you (or you may be alone), and this can feel quite lonely.

You can see that the life stressors and role changes that women face in midlife are significant, and can easily lead to feeling depressed and overwhelmed! You may also have the sense that “life has passed you by” and that all the good stuff is over.

Women in midlife clearly have more than enough to be depressed about, but you don’t have to stay in that space now that you realize that you are not crazy, and you are not alone! The things of old have passed away, you need to look forward and if you are unhappy with your life at the moment, do something about it if you can.

Let this be the “shake-up” you need to transform your life. Assess your life, do some things for yourself that you could not do whilst raising a family. Be careful of making decisions in haste though, as you don’t want to live with regret.

Look at the next blog post for some practical ways to shake up your life!

Have you experienced (increased) depression in menopause? Has it led to growth for you, or is it an ongoing struggle?

 

Free Work at Home Opportunities

The dream of working from home

If working from home is something you’ve always dreamed of, you may have been wondering what to pick, and if you could really make money from it. You may be tired of the corporate grind, or you’re simply done with working for a boss!

Unreasonable boss
Demanding Boss

Maybe you have not worked outside your home for years, after raising children and running a home. For people over 50 years of age, this may be more likely than the younger generations. Expectations of women were different for those born in the 1960’s and earlier.  Staying at home to raise your children was more of a norm than it is today, and many women never returned to the workplace afterward. Those who did want to may have found it difficult to get decent employment after a long break.

Work from home jobs that are not scams

Perhaps you are wondering about the existence of work from home jobs that are not scams? We all know that there are plenty of those around! Sadly, many of us have fallen victim to these online charlatans and scammers. Outrageous claims of riches to be earned with little money, time or effort, in fact, anything that sounds too good to be true usually is!

Scam signs
Work from home jobs that are not scams

Truth be told, if you are keen to work from home there are a few options you can choose and avoid being scammed. Some may not be entirely free, but you can use many of your own resources and save money. You can set up a small business to run from your home. You are the boss, you can set your own times and use the skills you have gained and that you enjoy! Some ideas are:

Baking or cooking from home

If spending time in the kitchen appeals to you, and you have a fitted kitchen which can cope with larger volumes of productivity than simple family fare, this may be your dream work from home opportunity.

Home Baking
Baking at home for orders

Perhaps you are a baker of note and are renowned amongst your family and friends for your apple pie, brownies or tiramisu. You can share the deliciousness further afield in your community! Put out the word on community noticeboards, newspapers and social media groups. Let your existing fans spread the word. Many people are happy to pay for fresh, not commercially mass-produced confectionary.

You could specialize in catering for events, or even baking specialty cakes if you have the skill. Most people live fast-paced lives and do not have the skill or time to do this. You can offer various add-ons like delivery within a certain radius or decor elements like colored paper plates and paper napkins. This may be useful for an office event or children’s party.

Make money from your crafty skills

Perhaps you have skills or a passion for making crafty or handmade items? This could be from years of sewing dance or concert costumes, or from making all your home decor items which draw admiring comments from your friends. In a fast-paced world where many women have never learned to sew, knit or crochet, you can use these skills to put money in your pocket!

If you are skilled at sewing and have a good quality sewing machine, you can sew prom dresses, offer to sew costumes for a dance studio or do alterations for costumes which don’t fit.

If you enjoy a hobby such as jewelry-making and you have the required tools, you can make and sell items further afield than just your friends and family. You can make to order jewelry items for weddings or proms.

Beaded jewelry
Making money with crafts – jewelry making

You can try your hand at almost anything that you are passionate about and have some skill in.

Business-related skills

If you have finely-tuned business skills, can type up a storm and have great English language (or your home language) skills, you can offer your services as a Virtual Assistant and work from your own home office if you have the equipment. Many opportunities exist for this online. You can try Fiverr or Upwork amongst others. Rates vary widely, but the more skills you can offer the better the pay.

My reservation with using these online platforms is that you may struggle to get work competing against people from all over the world who offer their services at unrealistically low prices. At Fiverr, you create a profile and offer your services, and then it can be a long wait before anyone contacts you ( that was my experience but it may be different for you). With Upwork, you create a profile and then bid on advertised jobs on the platform in the hopes of winning the bid. Just be careful of using too many credits (they give you free credits to bid for jobs in their free option), as if you bid on too many jobs you qualify for but you don’t happen to win (through no fault of your own), they will suspend your account immediately and that’s the end of that!

Making money from freelance writing

If writing is your passion (as it is mine!), and you have great English skills and can turn a phrase or two, you may have an opportunity to make money from it. The only thing you need here is a good laptop, your notepad for ideas, your imagination, and your great writing skills!

writing by hand
Freelance writing

You can offer your services on Fiverr and Upwork again in freelance writing categories, but they are not my favorites as mentioned already. Although I made money, the amount of output you produce in time and effort far outweighs the rewards. Again, your experience may be different from mine. Perhaps you’ll be more successful than me at writing bid proposals 🙂

My favorite platform at the moment for selling my writing is Constant Content. This platform is disliked by many as they take a hefty 35% commission for any of your work sold on their platform! That being so, I like them for the following reasons:

They are a trusted resource for many website owners and online businesses. This is because Constant Content only accepts work of good quality, and they have strict guidelines. You have to submit a writing sample with your online application on a subject of their choice, and it has to be approved before you are accepted.

You are thus not competing with people who have poor English skills (English is their second or third language), and so you can charge better rates than the content mills like Upwork and Fiverr. (Most of my articles have sold at around $100 for around 870 to 1000 words. In the content mills, you have to charge much lower to be competitive and the buyers seem more concerned with cheap rather than quality! There is no quality control).

If you are new to writing and do not yet have an audience to sell your work to, Constant Content is a good option. When you submit an article, it undergoes a review by an editor before it is accepted. If it is unacceptable, they give you some suggestions for improvements and you can resubmit once done.

You set the amount you want to charge for your article (they give you some guidelines and ranges which is helpful), and you can factor in the Constant Content commission.

You also get to choose the topics you want to write about, they do not dictate this to you. You can write about anything that you are knowledgeable or passionate about! This is a huge boon to me, and I love writing about what I want to write about!

Once you are established and have a client base, you may decide that the commission is too steep and give it a miss, but it is a good start to launch your writing career. It is great to get an email saying “Your article has been sold!”

Blogging to make money from the internet

This may be something you’ve heard a lot about. Blogging is a popular choice for many who want to make money online. You may have avoided this option up to now because you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you feel that you won’t know what to blog about? Simply anything that you are interested in or know a little about can become food for your blog!

blogging
Your own blog

You can share your experiences and insights with the world…if you have a wonderfully neat and tidy home, you may be able to start a blog on organizing your home. If you own sixteen cats and love everything cat-related, you can blog on cats! If you have 8 amazing grandchildren and are an expert granny, you could blog about being a grandmother and what it means to you! Once you have a blog up and running, there are several ways to earn money from it.

How to make a free website

However, before you can blog, you need to have your own website. That is a daunting prospect to those of us who were born before the age of technology! You may feel that you have absolutely no idea where to begin and be a little afraid to begin.

Laptop for blogging
A blogger needs a good laptop

You may also feel that it is too expensive. Apart from a decent laptop, you will need a good hosting platform and a training course to teach you how to develop an online business. I have great news for you! You can have not one, but two totally free websites to begin developing your blogs. Not just any websites either, they are WordPress websites of the best quality! In addition, you get free lessons on how to begin developing your sites, and there is step-by-step support from the developers and the large community of users. I get such satisfaction from the community of experts and feel like I learn something new every day, and learning new things is another passion of mine!

This is the very same platform I got started on, as a total “dummy” in terms of website development with NO technical skills at all! This website is one that I’ve built from a clueless position, and I’ve had the time of my life doing it!

website building
How to make a free website

Benefits of having your own website

If your aim is to make money online, or even with your own small business like mentioned above, each one of those options needs and will benefit greatly from a website! 

You can advertise your passionate interest in baking on your very own site and offer free recipes and tips to your potential customers, sell your crafts online, even to overseas markets (how exciting!), or advertise your business or freelance writing skills online to potential customers.

If you’re interested in building your own WordPress website from a trusted platform for free (even 2 of them), you have nothing to lose by giving it a try! I’m confident that you will be as intrigued and love it as much as I do:)

There are options to work from home if you are willing to put in time and effort. Nothing good comes for free! You can start part-time in some of them (building your own site is particularly conducive to this), and earn some extra cash to supplement your day job if you have one, with a view to scaling up and perhaps going full-time as the need arises.

You CAN use your interests and experience to earn some extra cash. Start today!

 

How Do You Get Osteoporosis and How To Thrive Despite It

Skeleton bones
Osteoporosis – brittle bones

Osteoporosis is a word that sounds quite scary, and you may remember hearing the word when you were much younger, usually in connection with little old ladies falling and breaking their hips (or what you thought of as old at the time!). How do you get Osteoporosis? To answer this, it is helpful to know what it is first.

What is Osteoporosis when it’s at home?

Simply put, Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass without the replenishment of it. In young people, your body naturally builds new bone, but as we age, our bodies slow down the production of bone mass, and bone loss starts to occur. This loss of bone density leads to a condition called Osteoporosis which causes brittle bones and increased risks of fractures. Continue reading “How Do You Get Osteoporosis and How To Thrive Despite It”

What is Phlegmatic: The Calm and Friendly Negotiator of World Peace

Knowing what is Phlegmatic as it relates to a personality type will lead you to one word above all. This person will always be described as a NICE person by the other personality types. How do you know what type of personality you have? You can try this free online test to get your basic temperament type, and then read the resources on this blog for greater detail.

The overview of the 4 personality type model is explained here in a less intellectual and easy to understand way! This post puts the spotlight on the Phlegmatic personality traits. Find links for the other personality types at the end of this post.

Relaxed Phlegmatic
Relaxed Phlegmatic Personality

Continue reading “What is Phlegmatic: The Calm and Friendly Negotiator of World Peace”

What is Melancholy: Creative Genius with a Sensitive Soul

Lonely Melancholy
Melancholy Personality enjoys solitude

What exactly does melancholy mean? It may be a word you’ve heard many times before, especially if you read a lot – and it describes one of the four major temperament types dating back to the time of Hippocrates (460-370 BC).

Knowing the 4 temperament types and their major traits will help you understand them (and yourself) better. This will lead to better relationships and getting the outcomes you want. Try this 5 minute online personality test to find out what type you are!

This post explores the Melancholy temperament in more detail. you will find links to the other 3 types at the end of the post.

Introvert or Extrovert?

Melancholy people are one of the two INTROVERT personalities in the 4 temperament theory of personality. If you are an extrovert, you will not be predominantly a Melancholy, but you may be blended with the extrovert Choleric personality, or less likely, the extrovert Sanguine personality. Continue reading “What is Melancholy: Creative Genius with a Sensitive Soul”

What is Choleric: The Dynamic Competitor & Righter of Wrongs

Choleric winner
Cholerics win

The term “choleric” is very descriptive in terms of a distinctive personality type, and knowing what is choleric behavior and traits will help you in your relationships with this strong temperament type.

To find out what your personality type is, you can use this 5 minute online test. Detailed information on all 4 types will be found in this blog – Choleric attributes in this post, and there are links for the other 3 types at the bottom of this post.

Introvert or Extrovert?

Choleric individuals are EXTROVERTS, the same as Sanguine people. The main difference between these two temperaments is that Cholerics don’t talk quite as much as Sanguines, although they are by no means quiet. They ALWAYS speak with a purpose, not just for the sake of talking. Continue reading “What is Choleric: The Dynamic Competitor & Righter of Wrongs”

What is Sanguine: The Entertaining Life and Soul of the Party

Fun Sanguines
Sanguine Fun-loving personality

Sanguine – the Fun personalityAs a Sanguine personality, one of the 4 temperament types, you will be very interested to know what makes you and others tick!  What is Sanguine and what is not Sanguine can be determined by this simple online test. The test takes about 5 minutes, and when you return here, this post will give you greater insight into traits of the exciting Sanguine personality.

If you are one of the other types, you will find links at the bottom of this post for detailed information on your type.

Are you an Extrovert or an Introvert?

Sanguine’s are always EXTROVERT. If you are not an extrovert personality, your primary temperament will not be Sanguine. This is the most outgoing of all 4 personality types! Continue reading “What is Sanguine: The Entertaining Life and Soul of the Party”

Your Choice of Dignified or Daring this Summer with the Best Swimsuits for Older Women!

Will those who love swimsuit shopping please stand up?

Anyone over 18 years old, I mean:) Aha…thought so! Not many of you!

Bikini and beach items
Swimsuit and summer items

Summer is arriving (in the Northern Hemisphere at least), and that means days of lazy sunshine, blue skies and summer holidays! It also means that swimsuit season is upon us, and finding the best swimsuits for women over 50, or indeed for a woman of any age, is a daunting prospect.

The mere thought of searching through racks of swimsuits in the stores, looking at minuscule pieces of fabric without shape or form, having no idea of what it will look like on a normal human body (and not a fairy!), and struggling to find a style and size you like, can be  a less than pleasant experience… Continue reading “Your Choice of Dignified or Daring this Summer with the Best Swimsuits for Older Women!”

The Midlife Crisis in Women: The Search for Meaning in Your Life

Midlife crisis. What exactly is it? And doesn’t it only happen to men? Men who start losing weight, dressing fancy and chasing younger women on their new Harley Davidson that the family budget can’t afford? Sadly, this is a misconception, and women can, and do, experience what is known as the “midlife crisis”. It is merely a transition from young adulthood to midlife.

It may or may not end up being an actual crisis (depending on the decisions you end up making and your ability or inability to cope with life), but it certainly leads to deep soul-searching for both men and women. The search for meaning in your life, when you compare where you are at midlife to where you expected to be.

Men experience a drop in testosterone which may lead to a calming down effect and a softening of emotions, but it may also cause them to fear aging, losing attractiveness to the opposite sex (hence the Harley), a fear of not having attained the goals they set for themselves, and a fear of illness and death. 

Continue reading “The Midlife Crisis in Women: The Search for Meaning in Your Life”

The Traits of Baby Boomers : Differences between Early Boomers and Generation Jones

Always thought that you were a Baby Boomer? Well maybe, maybe not…

Baby Boomers are those people born between 1946 and 1964, according to the original classification. The term ” Baby Boomer” is self-explanatory and refers to a huge increase in births post World War II when the economic upturn led to increased. optimism for the future.  So the population and the economy were both “booming”.

The Boomers born in the latter half (1955-1965) are also known as Generation Jones or Generation II Boomers. They are the people currently between the ages of 53 and 62 years old in 2017.

The split in the original Boomer group was first mentioned as “Generation Jones” by author Jonathan Pontell, and the term implies a sense of expectation to “keep up with the Joneses” (the early Boomers), with respect to the opportunities and prosperity they experienced following WWII. Continue reading “The Traits of Baby Boomers : Differences between Early Boomers and Generation Jones”