For women, life after 40 can be an uncertain maze of emotional peaks and valleys – riddled with the physical changes that threaten the most toned of bodies and long-held notions of fabulosity. But an increasing number of high-powered women are refusing to be defined or deterred by 40, recognizing that their fierce factor is far from over, but rather, evolving. These incredible women are embracing their wow power, their natural sex appeal and their unstoppable gift of glam. Follow their blueprint to channel your inner diva and add a few layers of phenomenal to your 40’s.
1. Prioritize YOU
“It starts with being a little selfish,” says Tania Lawson, a 45-year-old married mother of two and Chicago advertising executive. “I have to steal time to treat me, to pamper me. If I don’t take it, it simply won’t be there,” she adds. With a work schedule that includes travel at least three times per month, she had to make herself a priority. “If there’s no time for me, I won’t be there physically or emotionally to take care of my family. We take on so much of solving other people’s problems as women, and as mothers; we must replenish.”
2. Let Go of What Others Think
Within our innate desire to nurture, comes a desire to please, and to be accepted. But that inclination can be more trouble than it’s worth. “I care less about other people’s opinions of me,” says, Meghan Plough, a 44-year old editorial manager. “I used to be very sensitive to the things that others said about me, but not anymore,” she adds. “I had to learn that I have no control over what people think and if I can’t control it, I don’t need to worry about it. The only opinions that matter are my own and those I respect.”
3. Reach for the Top
For some, the 40’s is a chance to reinvent themselves, to expand into new territory or explore a new path. “I’d finished my bachelor’s in nursing but decided to go back for my master’s degree,” says Yolanda Ferguson who returned to school, enrolled in night classes, and is now a Dean of Nursing at a Chicago nursing school. “I’d worked long enough to know what I wanted and I knew what it took to get there. I was ready.” Likewise, Alicia Dunlap had taken exercise classes for about a year but hadn’t considered becoming an instructor. “But people kept telling me I should try it. They thought I was good.” Two years later, she is an exercise instructor at four fitness clubs in Chicago. “If I hadn’t tried it, I wouldn’t have realized how good I was.”
4. Positive People
“I like to be around positive people, with ideas and energy like myself,” says LaNeisha Johnson, a San Diego mother of four boys. “My family keeps me laughing, they’re a joy,” she says. “They help me maintain my peace of mind because they know me and accept me. I can completely be myself and that’s a great source of comfort and positivity. At this point, I don’t invite anyone or anything to bring me down. Only positive people are welcome.”
5. Move Your Body
“Loss of lean body mass starts in the 30s and 40s, up to 1 percent per year if women are inactive” according to Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, a professor in the department of nutrition and metabolism at The University of Texas Medical Branch, in an article in Today’s Dietician. For women over 40, doctors recommend adding at least 25g to 30g of protein at each meal to promote muscle-protein synthesis. Cardiovascular activity builds endurance and promotes healthier blood flow, while strength training builds lean body mass
Together, these five steps to fabulousity are a guaranteed recipe to greater fulfillment, joy and the #BlackGirlMagic that continues to reign. Take the time to evaluate your priorities and see how you can get the most phenomenal you of your 40’s and beyond.