Health: Makeover your soul as you reach a life milestone

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It’s not just as a young person that your life changes. Abi Jackson reports.

Turning 50, becoming a grandparent, getting divorced – all significant milestones often occurring during mid and later life.

According to a recent survey, such events can inspire an image overhaul.

More than half of women questioned in research commissioned by Kaleidoscope said a major life event had triggered them to treat themselves to a makeover, with 86 per cent saying their confidence was boosted as a result.

“Often, when women reach a significant milestone in their lives, we like to spend some time on ourselves – having a new hairstyle, buying new clothes, going for a new look,” says Cheryl Rickman, author of The Flourish Handbook.

“It’s part of the whole process of achieving that milestone – rewarding ourselves, or deciding to step out of our comfort zone and do something a little different. Doing so is a confidence-booster, and we tend to feel better if we’ve shown ourselves some self-love.”

Milestones are significant because they represent transition. Even seemingly small – or very positive events, like your child getting married, reaching retirement or the arrival of the first grandchild – can make us feel overwhelmed as our brains update. Expressing this through physical changes becomes part of that updating process.

“Midlife is a time of reinvention and therefore transition, which doesn’t happen overnight,” says award-winning life coach Jenny Garrett, author of Rocking Your Role.

“To transition, you must let go of things – a job title, a marriage, a way of thinking, and experiment with new habits. Changing your hairstyle, clothing, your address, is a signal to yourself and the rest of the world that things are different.”

Makeovers also allow us to step out of our usual ‘uniforms’.

“To step out of the uniform of mum, employee or wife is liberating,” adds Garrett. “It undoes habits, creates new paths. We’ve all seen those women who don’t care what others think, they have a purple streak in their hair or bright red heels – we immediately think they must be interesting and are attracted to them. That’s the power of a midlife reinvention.

“If you’re a mother, you may be experiencing empty nest syndrome.

“You will still be a mother, but it’s a perfect time to rekindle hobbies and interests or embark on new ones.

“Midlife is also a time to step back and review your life so far and think ‘what next?’ Recapture hopes and dreams and set bold new aspirations for yourself.”

Allowing yourself time for hobbies can be instrumental in moving forwards, especially if you take up activities that enable you to reflect on what’s most important in life.

“As well as a new look, more women are also studying yoga or meditation. We often feel the same as we did when we were in our twenties, so turning 40 can be a bit of a shock,” says Rickman.

“But women seem to be embracing that now and making the best of themselves, both internally and externally, stepping forward into the next decades with confidence and gratitude.”

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