How many of us get to middle adulthood and find our hormones wreaking havoc? A lot of us, right. If we define middle adulthood as the perimenopause years – with 45 being the average age when symptoms kick in – then a survival kit is needed for the low moods and anxiety that many of us face.
We’ve asked some of our favourite women to share the things that get them through? What is in their midlife survival kit?
For beauty and tweakments guru Alice Hart-Davis, it’s a mix of wellbeing essentials and tech, including a whiz-bang at-home light therapy kit that we now have on our ‘if only’ wishlist.
LULULEMON ALIGN SHR 28” YOGA PANTS, £88
I do a fair bit of exercise, and soon found that since the start of lockdown, there has been very little reason to wear anything other than leggings. I have a fair-sized collection, but these are the ones I end up wearing on repeat.
They’re long in the leg and extra high in the waist, feel comfortingly snug and yet don’t dig in. They have enough stretch to allow for the most elaborate yoga contortions without constantly sliding down and needing to be hoiked back up. And they don’t go see-through when you do squats. I bought these with my eyes squeezed shut against the cost, but in terms of cost-per-wear, they’ve been totally worth it.
The Dermalux Flex MD, £1,914
This is the mother of all home-use, skin-boosting LED light therapy devices. I was lent it at the start of lockdown and it was a welcome escape from reality to retreat under its glowing canopy for 20 minutes most days.
LED light therapy can help the skin in various ways: red light stimulates the growth of new collagen and elastin, and improves hydration; near-infrared light goes deeper, is anti-inflammatory and can reduce joint pain, and blue light denatures acne bacteria so is great for spotty skin.
It’s a medical device, too, with lights of the precision, intensity and quality of those used in cosmetic medical clinics. Skin-imaging done once the clinics reopened in July showed it had reduced wrinkling, pigmentation and redness, and knocked nine years off my ‘skin age’ in just three months. Yes, I’m addicted.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle, £13.94
I hadn’t heard of Doyle until a friend recommended this, saying, ‘You HAVE to read this…’.
It’s utterly compelling, from the first sentence (“Four years ago, married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman,”) via its scorchingly honest soul-searching, to her extraordinary, mind-expanding ideas on how women need to free themselves from the boxes into which society has encouraged us to pack ourselves.
As Adele famously said after reading it, ‘If you’re ready, this book will shake your brain and make your soul scream’. Just try it.
Connock London Kukui Oil Rich Body Cream, £42
My puritan instincts recoil at the indulgence of using an expensive body cream on a regular basis, but this one is so fabulous I’d make an exception. Besides, this year, I’ve found that we need to seize onto whatever shreds of comfort work for us.
It has a lovely, velvety texture, feels nourishing on the skin and it smells warm and intriguing. It’s the kind of fragrance that, back in the day when we could greet people with a kiss, would make them say, ‘Wow, you smell amazing.’ I think it’s the kukui oil.
Bose noise-cancelling headphones, £349.95
These were a recent gift and they’re beyond fabulous, particularly when there are several of you trying to work/ play/ cook/ get along nicely in the same living space (my three adult children came home for each lockdown).
On the noise-cancelling side these are great for providing a sound-sanctuary to concentrate on work or to meditate, and for hands-free phone calls and Zoom calls. They’re also crystal clear for doing podcasts, and when listening to music, the sound quality is insanely good, which is a total joy.