Mid-life and all it’s responsibilities: self, partner, kids, parents, community, school, work, etc.
The need and pressure to deal with it all can feel like it’s constantly dragging us down.
Hormonal shifts: angry, tired, maybe depressed, maybe anxious, hotter than F, can’t sleep, etc.
OMG, how do we even deal with this on top of all the other stuff???
The Sex Surge®: the intensity, the desire, the need, the constant source of fantasy, balancing…
It’s fun! But sometimes it’s also exhausting.
Dealing with one of these phases is a lot.
If you’ve got two or more, it can feel like your energy is constantly being sucked right out of you.
Case in point: last week I spent a hot, muggy Monday at a ‘forest adventure’ place with my kids. We went through obstacle courses 20 feet up and zip-lined our way down to the ground. It was fun, but it was also the first day of my period (which is now shifting in all kinds of ways) aaaaaand I was partially dehydrated.
In some ways, I sorta felt like a badass, but that’s just because our culture likes to praise people who run themselves ragged. I had fun but I also felt like someone ran me over.
Tuesday I drove 1.5 hours each way to a much-needed doctor’s appointment. The drive and the appointment pulled 4 hours out of my day. Then the usual errands and kid-wrangling. And then I went to a concert in the Big City, which also required much driving. It was also period day 2. [We went to see Erasure, if you know them. It was fabulous!]
By Wednesday morning I was toast.
Now, to a certain extent, I chose all this. I see a far away doctor because she helps me in a way others can’t. I had already scheduled the zip-line adventure and the concert- but I could have opted out. (And if I had, I would have wasted a lot of money and missed some cool stuff.) There’s a lot of life we could say we choose, but we really don’t. Like, yes, we could ‘choose’ to opt out of our jobs, but then we’d have no income (and for many Americans, no insurance) and no way to take care of ourselves. A good chunk of life is ‘chosen’ but also not really. We have responsibilities and they sometimes leave us energetically withered.
So, on Wednesday morning, feeling like I had spent an entire week’s worth of energy in two days, I took my own medicine. I literally said to myself, “what would I do if I was coaching someone on this?”
I knew things had to get done. So I did them. But I did them on the ‘low’ energy setting. I went slower. I shoved things off to another day. I refused to listen to the cranky voices in my head that were telling me how many ways I wasn’t measuring up today. If life is a highway, I was doing 20 mph and throwing those voices out the window like used gum. Every time a cranky voice piped up, I gave it the Dr. Evil treatment:
And I made it through the day. Got done what was absolutely necessary. Went to bed really early. Low and Slow helped me make it work on a whacked out week.
Here’s what Going Low and Slow looks like in the areas we talk about here:
Mid-Life Low and Slow:
- Dinner out and/or in front of the TV, even if you feel guilty (let it gooooo…)
- Asking someone else to make decisions for kids, parents, or others we are responsible for
- Laying your head on your desk at work for five minutes. [I swear, this could start a revolution. Like, seriously, what if we all laid our heads on our desks for five minutes and everyone saw us and started to do it, too? I think it would be awesome.]
- Letting someone else imperfectly do the dishes, clean up, or fold clothes while we sat down or
went for a walk
- Putting off something until tomorrow and/or crossing something off the list that has never, and will never, get done; refusing to do someone else’s work
- Ignoring the voices that say mean things
Hormones Low and Slow:
- Buy and use a hot water bottle or one of those things you can warm in the microwave (great for the lower back)
- Keeping an extra towel, food, period supplies, and chocolate in your desk drawer
- A special place to safely scream
- Keeping a favorite book by the bed for when we can’t sleep
- A calming cup of lemon, red raspberry, or chamomile tea (can also be iced!)
- A favorite healthy meal (pack or take yourself out!)
- Ignoring the voices that say mean things
The Sex Surge Low and Slow:
- Really focusing on one thing at a time
- Taking a walk and noticing everything around you instead of what’s happening inside you
- The simple act of remembering you are more than your Surge thoughts and feelings
- Stretching your body during a short break
- Thinking of something funny; having a good belly laugh
- Ignoring the mean voices that say mean things
When there’s no energy left in you and there’s still a lotta days left in the week, I recommend taking it low and slow. Do just enough. Go slowly. Take more deep breaths. Tell the patriarchal voices in your head to shush. Honor and accept where you are at in this moment and be authentic to that. We all have bad days, bad weeks. But we can still reach for self-kindness and self-forgiveness if we let go of those judgmental voices and take it one step at a time.