Women, My Climacteric around Well-being

Theme: Woman, where are you?: identity amid culture, family, career, community, etc.

by Farzana Chand

Hello! My name is Farzana.
Like many British South Asian Muslim women, we experience life challenges and rewards as we go through different stages in our life cycle. When you reach my age, heading into your fifties, I’ve come to stage of contemplation. Taking a break from worldly responsibilities to reflect upon the deeper meaning of my life.
And no wonder it’s taken so long! I have been employed in the field of domestic abuse for 2 decades and at the same time raised three children who are nearly ready to flee the nest, which means that I have only recently managed to find the time to attend Zumba and go for walks with my friends- something I’ve been waiting to do for 20 years!

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Google tells me the 5 ways to measure well-being is to
“Connect, Give, Learn, Take notice; Be Active.”
The Oxford definition tells me “it’s the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.”

So my reflection today, to all us amazing women, is about contemplation and the importance of well-being. Something, whatever stage of life you are at, I think we should all do more of, whilst we make our own mark!
During my younger years in life, I have been overworked and sometimes miserable. Sometimes overworked and sometimes unwell. Other times I have overworked and not connected with people that always mattered to me.

Now that I am older my best advice to all you amazing younger women is to get sleep. Without sleep I couldn’t address all them overwhelming issues in my life.
I do sleep better now. But during them dark days, honestly I wish I had slept more. I wish I’d told my partner to take turns with childcare so I could sleep more.
I look back and wonder if I had swallowed my pride and asked for help from people who cared about me, would things have been different? My sleep should have been the most important thing in my life. When you are tired, no matter what, do not let anybody reason with you!

On well-being, I’ll say, drink lots of water, get them vitamin levels tested, and actually look really hard at the results yourself.

With children, trust me anything goes, as long as there is love, stability and happiness around them they’ll be fine. You dont always have to stick to the rules. Again, I look back and often think if my children wanted to flake out in front of the tv instead of me forcing them to learn the periodic bloody table and chemistry equation then I should have just, umm, let them flake out, but..with me, of course! 😊
And I should not have felt guilty about my moods. I’m not a robot and I’m not superwoman.
Children need to see a variety of moods so they can build resilience and deal with their own moods. Sometimes, having a human reaction is good for everyone, but I learnt you have to get over it quickly!
Also, this is really good advice; you don’t need to feel guilty about not ironing their clothes! (It’s ok, nobody notices anyway.)

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At work, I try not do anything that fills me with despair any more or feel guilty about leaving on time. I even stopped feeing guilty about doing something and it’s not been my best. But, at least I did it in the time I had reasonably available to do it in.
You shouldn’t have to feel guilty about making mistakes, possibly because you were required to do the above, but also because, hey, you are human too. Do look out for them learning and personal development opportunities and tell your manager about this. 

Get on it!

Another well-being tip; get lots of fresh air and don’t feel guilty about having a short natter with all your work mates at some point in your working week. A good olde catch up with your work besties is good for the soul too! Communicate with your work besties in a straightforward way – say what you mean. 

Ask for what you need!

When you are sick, have time off; your body needs rest and is telling you its own story. Your work is not that important that they need you at all hours. Honestly it’s all business as usual; with, or without you. (Except for flossing- this is not all or nothing!)

With family and friends, see them more and often as you can. And feel really good about this. Manage the ones that don’t make you feel good about yourself. (I just find resourceful ways of avoiding them! Trust me, it saves a lot of heartache with family dynamics.)

Finally, we all know this; life is tiring so don’t feel bad about taking me-time. Embrace it!
Take a hot shower whenever you want. Let that high ponytail loose, take off them high heels and wear shoes that are comfortable in the first place.
Generally just eat and take time out to enjoy it.
And after all that, here’s a quick fix, sort out that scarf and sock drawer that’s been on your mind for a while! 

(Trust me, this will also give you time to spend in silence – highly important.)

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So, from likle olde me, my more youthful women friends, my final words of contemplation is to think about what gives your life real meaning and do plenty more of it and “Live Life Abundantly” x

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