Female Empowerment Friday #1

Today we are focusing on female empowerment as an alternate theme for our Friday discussions.

Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing of confidence.

Many of the barriers to women’s empowerment lie ingrained in cultural norms. Many women feel these pressures, while others have become accustomed to being treated inferior to men.

I think most of you who read this blog are over 50 or thereabouts. We’re now past middle age. Our bodies aren’t as strong and resilient. We’ve often had injuries which usually means that arthritis has subsequently followed.

So today we’re discussing how we have found ways to make our lives easier. It could be that these difficulties we face are due to age, time constraints, etc. Multi-tasking can only go so far.

No one is going to take care of our minds and our bodies better than we can ourselves.

I’m currently having to be easier on myself due to aging and injuries. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I just can’t do it all anymore.

I’m going to have to hire someone to help me do things that are too taxing on my body. Or they just flat won’t get done.

I feel pain more often than not.

Practicing Self-Love:

What I know I have to do is stop when my body screams for me to stop. I’ve always pushed through trying to get things done. But my body is telling me that I can no longer do that.

To make things easier, I now order heavier items like kitty litter online and it is brought to my door. This is my way of being kinder to myself.

My ankle gets irritated quickly if I climb up on a step stool, walk more than a block or carry anything over 10 pounds more than about 50 feet.

I tire more quickly. There was a time when I’d overdo one day and pay for it the next day. Now it takes longer for my body to rebound. So I’m looking at 3-4 days instead of one day.

Because of these limitations I’ve had to modify my former way of doing things. The days of throwing caution to the wind are over. My habitual lack of being cautious has come back and slapped me in the face.

This is the time in our lives when we’re more apt to look at downsizing so we have less home to handle. If your home is more than you need, you might look at this as a possible solution. Less home, less stuff. Less stuff, less work.

In what ways have you learned to be kinder to yourself?

49 Comments

  1. I take extra time to do yoga which helps stretch and strengthen my muscles. Then I am able to do more with less pain. But I save my strength for the things I have to do (visit my mother in nursing home) and want to do (gardening) and parcel out tasks that someone else can do, like clean my house. Then I have energy for the fun stuff: yard work, quilting and playing with my puppy!

  2. I’ve learned after my back surgery to accept the fact that I can’t carry heavy grocery bags anymore. I use cloth grocery bags and ask the packer at the store to keep them light. I carry in to the house a little at a time. I eat out more since I live alone and my daily contact with people often is only when I go to a restaurant. It’s a little expensive but I usually only eat once a day so it’s not too bad. I’ve accepted the fact that I need to use a walker. I don’t like it but it’s better than finding myself on the floor. I’m considering joining Silver Sneakers for help with exercise and balance. It’s another cost but also another way to care for ourselves. I want to try to keep what mobility I have. Loved reading every ones comments. Great topic, Brenda. Very helpful to know we’re not in this senior citizen thing alone.

  3. Well, Brenda, I think this is the first year I have actually taken seriously the fact that my house and yard are too much for me to keep up alone. My daughter living with me these past two years or so has made me realize that, although I do most of the housekeeping and a significant part of the cooking, I do find the things she does, like carrying laundry downstairs for me and putting the trash and recycles on the curb, helping me lift heavier items, etc., help me a lot. So I am feeling more and more okay about having that help.

    I spent over an hour yesterday outside raking and sweeping and cleaning up winter debris and some that should have been done last Fall. I didn’t think I really overdid but today my back told another story. Not in the extreme, but noticeably. So I didn’t do anything like that today and I tho’t, okay, this is going to be the operating mode for the Summer–one day on, one day off. I hope I can stick to it, but I’m really going to try and I’m sure the pain in my back will help!

    So did I get off-topic there? How is cutting back and depending on others empowering ourselves? It’s all a part of self care and self acceptance. Acceptance of changes in our body as we age, but in ways that honor and love our bodies rather than berate and punish them. We deserve to treat ourselves–bodies, souls andminds with love and reverence no matter their state of health or disease. I believe that by doing this we free ourselves to explore areas of interest and talent that lead us onto paths of self-discovery and fulfillment. Does that make sense? For example, as I resist pushing myself so hard to accomplish physical tasks I gain more time to do less strenuous things that I’ve not had as much opportunity to exlore–like the crafting things and handwork I enjoy. I’m looking forward to that becoming a reality in the near future. Like this very month! But first I’m taking ten days off to take a trip to visit friends in Arizona. And who knows what I’ll encounter along the way that will teach me more about empowering myself?? I’m excited about this new perspective on my life.

    Take good care of you, Brenda.

  4. While my health is not perfect, I do not suffer from nearly chronic pain as you do, Brenda, for which I am very thankful. For awhile I was getting intermittent bouts of sciatica and it really crippled me – literally – it hurt so much that I was limping. A neighbor who had once had similar problems told me to start taking a teaspoon a day of plain old yellow mustard. I was skeptical at first, but now I have a breakfast sandwich every morning of half a slice of bread (cut in half), a couple slices of paper-thin sliced honey ham, a slice of low fat Swiss cheese folded in half, and a goodly teaspoon of yellow mustard. My sciatic has disappeared since shortly after I started this regime. I don’t wake up with a vague ache in my left hip any more, either. Coincidence? I gave myself permission to eat something “non-breakfasty” in the early mornings with my 1 cup of coffee per day. I am a firm believer in hiring people to do what I don’t think I can handle anymore. I am still managing my yard work and that makes me happy because I enjoy doing it, but eventually that may change. I downsized in 2014 when I knew I was getting close to an early retirement, and moved from a 2 story with a very large yard to a smaller single story ranch with a smaller yard. And for the first time ever, during this winter, I used a pay for service to order and have my groceries delivered to the house so I wouldn’t have to trudge the half mile in 20 below weather over icy sidewalks to get to the supermarket, and then trek back carrying 10 pounds of stuff in my 2 canvas bags. More than ever, though, retirement opened time for political activism in my home state, which since 2016 we are now taking back, one office at a time, powered by literally an army of boots on the ground women of all ages, colors and creeds. It is an incredible experience. The young women and even teenagers still in high school are especially inspiring to me.

    1. I think the turmeric in the mustard might be what is helping your pain. So glad it works for you. I’m also very impressed with your political activism. This is the first year ever that I donated to a political candidate, Stacey Abrams in Ga. No, she did not win much to Ga’s loss but this young woman is brilliant and a force for good to look forward to… she will do great work for America yet. Glad to hear of your activism. I’m sure you inspire many.

    2. Jan and Brenda, I started the mustard idea t-o-d-a-y! Turmeric supplements are *so expensive*…..this will fit the budget much better. Thank you so much!!

      I’ve really liked, since a child, eating yellow mustard by itself. I think the Lord was preparing me. 🙂

  5. Aging is certainly not for the faint hearted! I turned 59 a few days ago. I’m incredibly thankful that I don’t have many aches and pains, and that I stay quite healthy. Our grown son, who’s been staying with us since July 2016 is moving out this weekend. He’s had a tough few years, and I hope that’s all behind him now. I’ll miss him, but I’ll probably miss his two dogs more. They were a great comfort when I had to put my dog down almost 18 months ago. Lord, time does fly!

  6. I just went for a bone density test. I have osteopenia and have been doing lately so hope the results show an improvement. Strong bones are so important.

  7. Actually, I am still learning to slow down. I have always been able to take care of just about anything in my house. I do have arthritis and I think it is getting worse. Will see a doctor soon. I am 73. I no longer will climb a ladder. A fall is the last thing I need. However, I really like my home and enjoy the activity of caring for it.
    (At least I gave up the ladder.)

  8. I also have to ask for help with opening jars and some pill bottles. I use kitchen shears that have a pliers like on the inside handles that help. I call my granddaughter and say I am getting on a ladder and if I don’t call within 30 minutes come and make sure I am OK. Had to cut back on some things that I used to do and go home and my cat and I take a nap. Old age is not for sissies.

  9. I am 68 and as a Retired RN I am very much aware that exercise is a big key in maintaining your health. I have belonged to a gym for about 15 years now. They also have a warm water pool. It’s so wonderful.to do water exercises. So I guess you could say that’s how I feel my empowerment.

  10. I’m like you. Yesterday I had to have a young man cut my grass , weed eat the garden, and trimmed my roses. It only took him 2 hours to do everything including stopping to drink a coke with me. He only charged me fifty dollars and told me he would put me on his list to just cut my yard for twenty dollars. I couldn’t do that for that money. I was using a push mower and it took me 4 hours just to cut it. He told me anything that I needed just give him a call. It did make me sad watching him when I should be doing it but after my heart attack I just can’t. The young man told me that he makes more cutting grass after he gets off his day job then what his day job pays. He was so sweet, he dug me up a little garden to plant my Bok choy, lettuce , and radishes in. Later I’ll have a little place to plant my tomatoes ,cucumbers and squash. God sends you the right people into your life just when you need them. Thank you Jesus.

  11. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of self-care. Most of us women go through life taking care of everyone else first (husbands or partners and kids) and ourselves last. But it also seemed like I had unlimited energy in those days. Now I take time to do all my yoga stretches, meditate, take walks, write in my journal, and take breaks and read…whatever it takes and whatever *I* feel like doing.

    1. I guess I’m in that camp. There is dust and cat hair everywhere. My new couch and chair are supposed to come Tuesday. So I’ll probably live with the dust and cat hair till Sunday or Monday. Doesn’t bother me like it used to.

  12. Having become disabled when I was 25, i kind of had this mindset that things were always going to be the same with my illnesses, until the Good Lord took me home. What i didn’t foresee happening was not only that my illnesses were progressive (read: they get worse!), but that I would pick up something else that continues to significantly impact my health. A few years ago, a friend gifted me a cane, because I was having trouble with wobbly legs. I don’t use it all the time … but when I was in a cycle where I needed to use an adaptive device, I realized i had now aged to the point where no one looked weirdly at me anymore for having that blue and white with the wheelchair laminated parking sticker on my dashboard always, and thanking God for places like Target, where they dedicate rows, beyond the legal requirement of a few spaces, for such parking. While that made me sad & weary, I soon realized how many people push themselves through to pretend their not disabled, and so instead I am grateful for the learned ability to live transparently!

    1. My doctor gave me a handicapped sticker a few years ago for my ankle. This way when I’m not in good shape I can park at the front. You don’t get hit so much in parking lots in the handicapped spaces!

  13. Hi Brenda, These are hard lessons and realizations to learn but, my guess is, all of us have to make accommodations in our lives whether we realize we are doing it or not. When we moved to Colorado from Minnesota, my husband and I were 52 years old and made the conscious decision to downsize. We have a one story house, easy in, easy out and fairly easy to maintain. That was 18 years ago and I have slowed down even more. I still want to garden but it is limited to my energy level. We, too, are ordering a lot on line which I’m finding great fun instead of getting involved in the traffic and shopping the traditional way. Since retiring, my priorities have changed and I now put housework almost last on the list. I would rather walk my dogs, we pick our granddaughters up at school, I love to sew, read, and we cook all our own food. The biggest obstacle I’ve had in my life is my stature. I’m 5’ tall and when I started graying and let it go, I became almost invisible. I’m an extreme introvert which doesn’t help. I was extremely successful in my teaching career which was a constant source of pride. I read in Deepak Chopra many years ago that animals don’t “think” about getting older, they just adapt naturally. There’s a great lesson there! Again, thank you so much for this Blog and for the very timely issues you put out for discussion. Have a wonderful week-end.

  14. Three years ago I made the biggest change among many by subscribing to a grocery delivery service, Peapod from the Stop & Shop chain. It’s been a godsend. I order $300 worth of groceries and it costs me $6.65 for delivery. I order everything I can from them, water, soda birdseed laundry liquid, bleach, in addition to foodstuff – off the shelf medicine, even a cookie pan once – you name it. In 3 years I have had to complain only once about a roasting chicken which was not fresh. The credited me for the chicken and my next order included a free chicken. All else has been top quality. Shopping was a chore but coming home, carrying it in multiple times from the car was torture. They come at a set time (2 hr window) and put everything in the kitchen divided into frozen items, refrigerator items and other stuff. I do tip the deliverer an amount that matches what he/she has to carry.

  15. Air conditioning. When I was young we didn’t have an air conditioner in our home because it was too expensive. During hot Texas summers we would have to open the windows and use oscillating fans. When I was pregnant and living in the tropics we lived in a home that only had a window unit in our bedroom. My husband didn’t want to use it because the utility rates were so expensive there. Now I am almost 60. We live in an apartment with wonderful air conditioning. Ideally, the temperature should be kept at a moderate temperature, but at night I turn it down quite low because of my hot flashes and night sweats. What a luxury. I sleep like a baby. When my son & husband complained about the cold I gave them an extra blanket. After years of enduring hot, sweltering nights I don’t feel guilty about giving myself the gift of a good night’s sleep.

  16. Hello Brenda, I am so glad you have opened up your fridays to discussion. I have had lots of health issues since I was born. In school I was always dehydrated. My 5th grade teacher told me in front of the class that I passed out to get attention. If I could find him today, I would show him my medical records and that the symptoms I had were real. At ten years old that is one moment that is always eats at me. Another is that in high school, I applied to take drafting or mechanical drawing all through jr. high and high school. I was denied each time simply because I was a girl. They took younger boys in ahead of me. That’s just the way it was.
    Now I am older and my body is riddled with the scars from 17 surgeries, my bones are crumbling and my veins are shot from all of the chemicals and drugs required to keep me alive. The latest is a large DVT blood clot that extended from my groin to my ankle. Now I just don’t have the breath to do a lot. I try to do a little of my chores each day. I was lucky to find a neighbor high school girl that was saving for college and she would come in and help me clean once a week. I told her upfront that she would be doing the hard work and I would work beside her doing the easier work. She was wonderful and such a big help. But now she is off to college and I can’t find anyone else. Most have a minimum number of hours or they spend their time taking smoke breaks or texting. I am also trying to find local help for my Mom who has dementia. It’s nearly impossible. The companies that provide that send a different person each time and that doesn’t work for her. She needs steady and familiar help. Even getting her yard mowed requires a company. There are no kids that need work anymore, not even during the summer. When I was a kid, we all had summer jobs helping our neighbors. Has anyone else been able to find a school age kid to help out?

    1. You brought up a good point, Jackie Collins! When we got snow this past winter, i got frightened … you see, I have a do-nothing landlord, so it is up to us to shovel our vehicles out. in the past my friends son lem lived right around the corner and was such a wonderfully active young man that he would literally spend 3 hours shoveling out my SVU !!! But now he is away in college – good for him! he’s going to be an engineer. But not so good for me, as i know absolutely no other kid that i could even so much as ask. around here, if they don’t have their heads buried in their phones, they’re on meth, and i just don’t want to be around that (two things I never had to deal with, with lem). i was just grateful our snow wasn’t the burying type this year, but it did cause me alot of anxiety watching it fall, knowing i couldn’t just text this kid and watch him come around the corner!

    2. You might try your local service organizations to find someone who can volunteer to do things. Maybe start with United Way and they could help point you in the right direction. You may not find kids but adult volunteers.

    3. Jackie Collins—If your mom has dementia, why is she living in a house alone? That doesn’t sound potentially boding well. Also, most communities have Next Door, where you can easily get neighbor recommendations for yard work, snow removal, etc. And it is set up so that you only get info for your specific arra/neighborhood. Another source would be your county’s Council on Aging/Senior Services.

  17. Your comment about heavy boxes of cat litter hit home with me. When I go to the store to purchase cat litter, I ask someone to help me put it in my basket and also to help put it in the car. Once I get home, I put it on a little dolly that I purchased at a garage sale for $3. I use this little dolly for hauling a lot of things, like bottled water, paint cans, moving plants, and even buckets of water. Its not a big dolly, just a small one that I keep outside my back door. Every spring I call my riding lawnmower repair man to come get my lawnmower to change the oil. This year, I did not do that. I googled how to do it, went to the garage, and did it myself. That what I call FEMALE EMPOWERMENT! I felt so good about myself.

  18. A fall ending in a dislocated shoulder pointed to my needing a lot of help to recover from that. i went to live with my daughter so she could give me the care i needed. i was renting a 2 bedroom house in a quiet neighborhood at a reasonable cost, lovely neighbors and 5 miles from major shopping area. my daughters suggested i downsize my furniture and move in a small cottage on my daughters property. i hated to give up my independence but my recovery was long and left me without complete ROM in that shoulder. It took a while to sell what i no longer needed and rented a POD for storage of my household goods until the cottage was ready to move into. I lived in my daughter’s house with her family of growing boys. I am content here and have grown to love the convenience built into this place. The peace of mind I have knowing that help is just across the yard from me, if I need it. Her mother in law also lives on this property in a mobile home. We are both so grateful to be here.

    We all order groceries from Walmart and pick them up at the same time. We save gas and time by doing this. My spinal stenosis prevents me from walking any distance or standing still very long. I try to walk in larger stores with grocery carts for exercise and something to hang onto. In the bigger stores I walk as much as I can then sit down and my daughter goes thru the check out for me. I know that move it or lose it works so I walk outside for short distances with my walker most everyday. God bless daughters.

  19. Boy, I hear that!! I work so hard on my days off that I almost NEED to go to the office for 5 days in order to let my body rest! I would love to be able to hire someone to help out, to come in and do some of the spring cleanup but it’s not in the budget, so I’ll power on. I need the exercise anyway!!

  20. I finally had to have someone else shovel my snow this past winter and am looking for someone to cut my grass. I just cannot do it anymore! It is a hardship financially but I have no choice. I also won’t be planting many flowers this summer. Therefore I am planning to give up my house even though it is small, so that I can move to an apartment. I have slowly been going through my stuff and trying to keep mostly just needed items. I look forward to having less worries with keeping up a house. I don’t have a lot of energy due to having copd but I am making progress!

  21. I have always been the nurturer in my family and tried to take care of my siblings, parents, husband, step-kids/grandkids and in-laws but as I age I find that I am trying to take on less and less of caring for others and taking better care of me. If I don’t have the energy to take care of my I certainly can’t care for everyone else. I am trying to eat less dairy, and more healthy and to cute down on sugar, which is a big challenge for me as I love to bake. I am cutting out a lot of social media simply because the barrage of stuff doesn’t suit my lifestyle.

    I also make sure to do yoga 5 days a week and do my best to get 10,000 steps a day.

    Have a great day Brenda, Charlie and Ivy.

    1. You have a very healthy attitude. Everyone kept telling me I needed to be on Instagram. But it’s just one more thing to deal with. So I never did.

  22. “Self talk” is one of my concerns.
    I talk to myself more than with others Keeping thoughts true, positive, and considerate makes a brighter world.

    1. I talk to myself in stores. Just murmuring. I don’t know when I started doing that. This may not be the self talk you’re speaking about of course! I will look at an item and find myself saying, oh wow, that’s just too much for that. Like that.

  23. While still employed full time, my energies are not as abundant as they one were. I am one of the “Over 60 Gang”. My solution is to downsize. Did you know there is more than one type of downsizing? Yes, there is. Having encountered some health problems, I have had to adjust my life. At the end of the week I am exhausted. Therefore I am cutting back on some of the volunteer work I do. You mentioned self-love and that is important. We need not be pressured to be everything to everyone.
    I do so enjoy your blog. Take care of yourself.

  24. I like this today Brenda. I will be turning 61 in April. I have found since I turned 60 last year that I am not able to fly through things like I use too. I too have issues with my knee and arthritis pains here and there. I can really feel it when I over extend myself and I never use to be like that. So I have found I need to be kinder and more accepting that I am not as young as I use too. 60 is by no means old but aging shows up quicker with our bodies than our minds!!!
    Have a great Friday and wonderful weekend.
    Kris

  25. I don’t know if this is quite on point, but I used to live in a regular apartment complex which had people of all ages residing there. Mostly all my neighbors worked as they were much younger than I.
    I had a beautiful apartment, but I was very lonely as I was living in a new town, and did not have any friends, just my daughter and her husband. They were busy with their own lives and I could not depend on them for my social life. I do not attend church, and I do not spend time in bars or casinos, so I spent my time buying second hand furniture and refinishing it, and by sewing and reading.
    Then I received a hefty rent increase notice. I was not willing to pay such a large increase when I did not even have a washer or dryer inside my unit and was hauling my laundry to another building in the complex.
    My kids had tried to tell me to either join a senior center or to move to a senior property, but I resisted because I felt young at heart and thought I would not like that. But I ended up finding an apartment in a high rise building which was a senior property.
    OMG! At first I had a difficult time adjusting as the apartment was extremely small compared to my previous one, and it required me to sell many lovely pieces of furniture, but it had a washer and dryer and the rent included utilities.
    Shortly after moving in, one of the other residents took me under her wing and made me a part of the community. We play bingo on Tuesday nights, and canasta on Friday and Saturdays, and have a movie night on Sunday. We go to happy hour at least once a month and eat for 1/2 price at a local Mexican restaurant, and we celebrate everyone’s birthday with cards and dessert. We are always doing something fun, and we pop into each other’s apartments and visit over coffee or tea.
    This was the best decision I have made for many years. My expenses are much lower here, and I am no longer lonely, and I have a full life. I have met many friends here, and some I have become closer to than others, but I have learned to appreciate many different kinds of personalities and to accept we are all simply human and have faults. We are like one big family here and when my grandson and mother died, they were loving and caring and trying to be of help.
    I guess my point to all this is that sometimes we are lucky enough to help ourselves into a better, more satisfying life by accepting that we are older now, and maybe we cannot renovate, paint or do yard work anymore, but we can enjoy a new chapter of our life and it can still be a full and satisfying one.

  26. My tip is nothing new, but I felt deep appreciation for it yesterday after a long slog through the mall. Except for groceries and pet food and cleaning supplies, I order everything online. I can’t imagine the pre-internet difficulty of trips to multiple stores for clothes and gifts with my arthritic knee. You’ve tempted me to look into online pet supply ordering, too. Those 50 lb bags of Iams dog food at Sam’s Club are tempting for the price, but a killer to wrangle into the cart, into the car, out of the car, and into the closet (so cat-head-size holes don’t mysteriously appear nibbled into them, as often happens to any unsecured bags!)

    1. Chewys saves me. And they have fantastic customer service. Whenever I’ve received dented cans of food, I simply call them and they will ask me how many in the box was dented. I tell them and they put that amount back in my bank account.

      1. I just heard a nice story about Chewys .com. My friend’s dog passed away and she had just ordered about $70.00 of food from Chewys. She donated the food to a shelter and someone told her that Chewys would refund her money. She sent them a note and they immediately gave her a full credit and a nice note of sympathy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *