One by one my friends were turning 40 and I noticed that no one was too thrilled about it. In fact, they dreaded the milestone, feeling depressed and suddenly developing a new habit of saying, "I'm just too old to…" The worst was hearing the negative self-talk. As I approached 40, I decided that would not be me.
But as the birthday approached, I realized I wasn't in the happiest of places myself. I had a busy career, two grown kids and a successful marriage, but I still felt "off."
I spent months racking my brain and feeling bad about seeming ungrateful for what most consider a great life. Then I realized: There was too much output happening and not enough input. I was giving everything of myself to those around me but I wasn't taking care of myself. I'd been exhausted for so long, and now I was actually tired of being tired.
Hitting rock bottom in my mental health definitely wasn't a good feeling, but the bright side is that it inspired me to do something, to take action, to celebrate myself.
Here are a few tips to help you celebrate YOU:
1. Take yourself out of a box.
You're more than your job description, your weight, your age and your marital status. I find too many women judging themselves based on where they think they should be at this point in their lives.
Yes, you can actively set goals for what you want in life, but stop putting pressure on yourself. Turning 40 made me look to myself outside of my titles and reconnect with who I am as a person.
2. It's OK to take care of yourself.
It took me 10 years to figure out I hate scrambled eggs. I had ordered it with breakfast because I was used to it, my family liked it, and so I would order it so we could share. Sound familiar? One day I had a mental break and yelled, "I hate scrambled eggs!" Yes, it was crazy, but doing something that I didn't really want to do, no matter how small, over and over again, made me feel crazy.
As women we are always giving, many times at the cost of our wants or needs. Rethink why you do the things that you do. It can be something as small as ordering eggs or bigger things like repeatedly saying, "Yes" when you really want to say, "No." Everyday doesn't have to feel like a sacrifice. Guess what? No one cared about the scrambled eggs.
3. Think up when you apply makeup.
Around 40 is really when gravity begins to take effect on your makeup routine. Angle your eyeliner at the end of your eyes to create lift. Following the natural line of your eyes can actually exaggerate sagging. Fill in sparse brows to create the illusion of fullness and apply from above the tail to lift falling ends. Apply blush at the apples of cheeks instead of along the cheekbone to create a fresh youthful look.
Makeup should be used to empower yourself to take on your day. Small changes in your makeup routine can quickly reverse the appearance of gravity's effects on your face, making you look and consequently feel younger!
4. Get active for your mental and physical health.
How you want to age is your decision and it's never too late to start. One of the greatest things I did for myself was get active and my biggest inspiration continues to be women who are older and faster than me. Exercising elevates mood, creates clarity in thought and absolutely gives you more energy. But most importantly understand the more you do, the more you can do.
The less you do the less you can do. You'll be surprised what your body and you are capable of if you try. It's all in the training: walk to jog, jog to run, run to sprint. Compete only against yourself and get better and faster each year.
5. Feed your body.
I hate dieting. When I restrict what I eat it, it seems to be another reminder of what I can't have that I enjoy. Dieting often means something is being taken away.
Yes, you might lose weight for a time and then eventually you're back to square one. Instead, think of food as something you can give to your body. Feed yourself omegas from fish and nuts to keep your skin looking amazing. Dark leafy greens and berries for their antioxidants to help your body heal. Fruit for good carbohydrates to keep your energy up. You'll leave yourself less room for the junk when you fill yourself with food high in nutrition.
You'll find that you look and feel better, but most importantly you'll be taking care of your body and help it run optimally into your twilight years and it will thank you later.
For more tips on looking and feeling your best at every age, check out Taylor's latest book Beauty Rewind.