New From Hello50 This Week?

  Internet Sensation Tammy Ortery is Enjoying the Ride
Internet Sensation Tammy Ortery is Enjoying the Ride

We have all fallen in love with the latest internet sensation,Tammy Ortery, who has gone viral with her vibrant dance videos and sparkling personality. You can not help but smile when watching her move to the groove of hip hop, Motown and pop favorites. Tammy, a Newport News, Virginia resident and High School Guidance Secretary, now has a huge presence on Tik Tok with over 200,000 FOLLOWERS and more than 25 MILLION VIEWS in just over three months. She also has thousands of followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We had the opportunity to speak with Tammy and ask her about her journey to global sensation. She explained, “my daughter and I danced in a video, and my daughter’s friend said your mom should go on Tik Tok.  A month later, it took off.”  Since those initial days, Tammy has received messages as far away as Canada, Germany, and Bangladesh. Tammy has appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Breakfast Television” out of Canada. Tammy told us that her husband and children are really proud of her and see this moment as just mom being mom. Tammy’s friends, family, and colleagues know that she loves to dance. “I have always been the first person on the dance floor, the social butterfly, and class clown.” When Tammy worked at her previous school, she was known around the building for bringing the energy to pep rallies, showing the young people how it’s done at school dances, and putting a smile on everyone’s face while busting moves during third period. She also shared that she has a passion for entertainment and that she is surprised that this all happened at this age in her life. “I am enjoying this time in my life. When it is your time, it’s your time. Enjoy the ride.” Tammy strives to maintain the genuineness of her dancing, and wants people to understand that when she posts her contagiously fun dance videos, it’s because she wants to dance. Tammy said “I haven’t changed as a person. I am still just Tammy being Tammy.” She doesn’t want it to be “put on” or contrived for followers. She explained that it is important for her to stay true to herself because dancing brings her joy and she loves being able to share that with others. “This experience has been so overwhelming but also really fun and exciting.” Tammy has captured the attention of Hollywood stars too. Janet Jackson shared one of Tammy’s videos on her instagram and singer, Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend, Cody Simpson recreated one of her dances. She has even signed two autographs! “I am a praying woman, and what is meant to be will happen.” Tammy told us that there are some more big things in the works so stay tuned to see where else this adventure takes her. Tammy, you look like you are having a blast and you are an inspiration to other women over 50 who are thinking about taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone. If you keep on dancing, we will keep on smiling...enjoy the ride!

Remembering the 4Th of July of Years Past: A Time of Innocence
Remembering the 4Th of July of Years Past: A Time of Innocence

Time of Innocence Growing up in a SMALL TOWN in NJ, the 4th of July was a huge celebration for families and friends just like it was in so many other small towns across the country. We could hardly wait for that day into the night, MID-SUMMER EXTRAVAGANZA which included a local beauty pageant, parade and fireworks display. However, what made the 4th so exciting was seeing friends we had not been with since school let out the month before. I remember at the time, feeling like it had been months since we had been together, but in actuality, no more than 3 or 4 weeks had passed since the end of the previous school year. The 4th of JULY SPECTACLE (how my 8 year old brain remembers the day), represents the innocence of those times and really calls out the difference between the lazy days of summer when my friends and I grew up compared to how my own children and friends' kids were raised. We were the “home when the street lights come on” generation. There were no play dates but rather, you went out in the morning and made it as far as your bike would take you (always with someone on the handle bars), as long as you were home by dinner. After we all ate, we then met back outside for night time competitions in the streets. Many parents in our age group have probably told our children that we played outside all day long..and that is no exaggeration. We explored in the woods, built forts and competed with one another. There were endless games of kickball, manhunt, kick the can, baseball and this went on day and night throughout the summer. Kids of all ages mingled because you needed the numbers for your teams. The next day, this started all over again. Sure, we all had that week's family vacation - oh, when your best friend from down the street (Dawn) was on her vacation, it was the longest week of the summer. Your friend was missed but the games of the day went on, just a man down for the week. Simpler Times There is something about the 4th of July that shines a light on the simplicity of that time period. Our neighborhood friends met up with schoolmates from other neighborhoods at the Berlin Parade and that was so exciting. We all bragged about what we had been doing over the summer. We attended this local 4th event every year when we were in grade school even into our early high school years so although the stories changed throughout the decade, the sentiment was the same. There of course were no social media updates to alert one another prior to the 4th as to what we had done or even how we already changed so seeing one another in person was just amazing. Parents were not driving us all over the place to see one another during the summer, there were no summer sporting tournaments, or camps, so literally, you entertained yourself with the kids outside your front door. We truly looked forward to this one, simple, day with the excitement that our children growing up would have looked forward to a Disney Cruise! It was just a different time! Reuniting with School Friends When we met up with these friends, we talked about getting together later in the summer and sometimes we did, more often we didn’t. For the most part, we went back to our daily games outside with our same old friends and looked forward to returning to school to see the whole crew again. Since becoming an adult and thinking back to the different life experiences my (now grown) kids had during the summer, I often reflect on my old town’s 4th of July event. Our children were a bit more indulged and certainly had so many more experiences during their summer break than I ever had - and no regrets for sharing those experiences with them. But, despite a more active summer as kids, I can’t help to wonder if my children missed out on appreciating such a simple pleasure like we did that one, thrilling day of the summer. As an adult watching fireworks, I am taken back in time - the smells of the crackling sparkles in the sky and the feeling of the warm air rushing over my body. However, for those 30 minutes as the sky illuminates, I am that 8 year old just so happy to see my school friends that I hadn’t seen in such a "long time." It wasn't extravagant but to us, on that one day of the year, it didn't get any better than that. What are your simple pleasure summer memories?

Becoming Your Parent's Parent
Becoming Your Parent's Parent

By Michele Mauro Small When I was growing up, I wasn’t warned that eventually I may actually be in a position to trade places with my parents. What? Yes, it’s true! Suddenly, I’m the caregiver, the one in charge! How can this be? The person who guided me through life’s trials and tribulations is now the person needing me to return the favor. Not only is it heartbreaking, but it feels so unnatural. What if I make the wrong decision? What if, God forbid, my parent gets angry! I found myself in this position long before I was ready for it. Now, I’m the person setting the
rules, trips to the doctor, taking medicine, taking a bath and then (OMG) giving the bath! There is nothing to prepare you for this! But somehow, you manage to do what is needed. You find yourself in an awkward position. One that unfortunately, is sometimes not embraced by you or your parent. Neither want YOU to be in charge. You try all kinds of methods to take care of things. You simply sit down and talk with your parent. You explain that you want to make things easier for them. You’re simply trying to help them. Suddenly, you hear in a very direct statement, “I don’t need your help. There’s nothing wrong with me.” You don’t want to make them feel frustrated or make them feel feeble in any way, but at the same time, they’re just not the same person you knew and grew up with and the time has come that they need assistance. Forget about explaining why you’d like to have someone come in and stay with them during the day to help them with chores and meals. They act like you’ve lost your mind. Not only are you insulting them, but you have the nerve to actually infer they need a babysitter. How many of us would love to have someone come in and help with chores and meals? They see it as an invasion of their privacy and, worse yet, you’re doubting their competency. Imagine how you would feel if this was happening to you. This can be a no win situation, yet somehow you will manage to get through it. I’m sure someone has written some type of How-To book on this and I wish I had read it before I was launched into this position. All I can say is you need to remind yourself over and over, “You’re doing this because you love them and want the best for them."You want to take care of them, like they did you.” You will feel guilty and at times frustrated. You are not alone in this! I found that so many of my friends are in the same position and I relied on them for support and help. Remind yourself that your parents may not want the help, but they need you! It’s a job that often causes tense moments, tears and yes, anger. Stepping up to the plate and taking care of them will give you peace of mind in the long run. You will be able to sleep knowing they’re safe and much better off with your help. I pray for you and your parents. I pray for strength, guidance for the right decisions, patience, and above all, faith in yourself. You’ve got this! They raised you right. You’re just returning the favor. Michele Mauro Small Lives in Frederick, Md and this is her heart felt story of moving in to care for her elderly mother.

Girls Night Out To Date Night:  Keep the Connection Going
Girls Night Out To Date Night: Keep the Connection Going

I would suspect most of us had never heard of "social distancing" prior to the recent onset of Covid-19. By now, we are all too familiar with the terminology and many of us, unhappily so. Some people may not be phased by taking a human contact break yet others who thrive on people to people contact find this particularly challenging. One way that I stay connected is through a couple different text chains with girlfriend groups. It's amusing to hear about our quarantine home habits from hygiene to eating, home projects to sleeping, and a whole lot more. What I have discovered is that for the most part, we are not wearing bras, we wonder out loud at what time of the day is it appropriate to start drinking, and we think about how our marriages have survived 25 plus years of kids, mortgages, in-laws and careers but with all of this quarantining, (is that a word?) but can they survive the coronavirus? In one of our text chains, our more motivated girlfriend, Dawn, pops back in every couple hours after marathon organizational sessions and is amazed at how many text messages have been exchanged while she is busy cleaning. She jokingly texts, "What are you people doing?" then rattles off a laundry list of accomplishments. No judging allowed during the coronavirus. One thing is certain--these text chains sharing funny quotes, family updates and humorous videos offer much needed levity in an otherwise stressful situation. If you are looking to stay connected, here are some ways to keep your weekend plans exciting while you are social distancing. 1) Throw a dinner party: Send out the menu and recipes to your friends or family (keep it simple). Use either Skype, group FaceTime or Zoom to enjoy the cooking experience together and when it is time to eat, keep the wine and conversation flowing using one of these many video conferencing tools. Whether you are in the same neighborhood or miles away, it will feel like you are sitting next to one another dining together. 2) Make it a movie night: This is the Covid-19 version of Netflix and chill. Decide on a movie with your friends, pop some popcorn and hit start at the same time. Make sure you open a message thread in case anyone is a "movie talker" and must comment on the film in real time. When the movie is over, share your thoughts through your text thread. Another option is to download Netflix Party and invite your friends to watch the same show or movie at the same time. You can text right in the margins of the screen if you're watching on your laptop! 3) Work out together: We don't all have a Peloton but we can easily get on the same work out regimen by using one of the many work out apps. Whether you use the Nike Training Club, Yoga Studio or Silver Sneakers Go, you and your work out buddy can keep your bodies simultaneously moving in the same direction. 4) Romantic dinner for 2: This has less to do with utilizing technology and more to do with keeping you and your partner or spouse connected while coping with the stress in the household. My friend Carolyn's boyfriend, Rick, told her to get dressed up and meet him in the backyard. He had prepared a candlelit dinner for two. Carolyn said "It was a nice surprise for Rick to think about this and it was nice just to get dressed up. It was also good to decompress from all of this craziness." Use technology to stay connected with your friends and family to find some "normalcy" in your day. While we need to stay informed, we also benefit from breaking up the day by sharing our thoughts and laughter with people we love.

Volunteering in Times of Crisis
Volunteering in Times of Crisis

By Nancy Wiley Women keep the earth spinning, the kids moving forward, and the world at peace, when given the chance. Truisms under the best of circumstances, they are even more so in times of crisis. Just look at the Rosie Riveters of World War II, the women micro farmers of Africa, and the single mothers in the US. Check out those who lead some of the most influential organizations right in your own community. If there is a volunteer getting things done, it’s more often than not a woman, one in her 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. We have skills, knowledge, and either more time or better time-management skills than we had during our younger years. In periods of crisis, people are often looking for a way to connect and help. Although it is easy to become lost in our own fears and anxieties, one of the best ways to deal with those fears is to reach out and help others, those in the community who most need us. There may be some things we are not able to help with due to social distancing, our age and any health issues we might deal with, but opportunities still exist to make an impact. Here are a few: 1. Students and their parents are in particular need of support right now as parents work to juggle working from home without daycare while also making sure their kids are on track academically. You can have a direct impact on a student by becoming a virtual mentor. You can become part of the Mentor Bank at College Bound or apply to become an online tutor at I Could Be. 2. If you happen to have grandchildren or friends with younger children, offer to check in with the kids via Zoom, Skype or Facebook Messenger and help them with their studies, answering questions, helping with reading, whatever they need. 3. Teachers are educating themselves on how to provide online learning for children who often don’t have the supplies they need at home. If you know a teacher, reach out and ask if there is something they need that you (and your community) might be able to provide. 4. If you’re under 60 and healthy and you have a passion for kids, look to your local school system. Most districts have meal and academic packet pickups, and many of them are relying on volunteers to help staff them. 5. The staff in senior living homes is working longer hours with less support, often caring for adults with dementia who don’t understand what’s going on. Offer to have a meal catered for the staff. Something as simple as Chick-fil-A or pizza at shift change would be greatly appreciated. 6. If you sew, join a local mask-making group or offer to be the fabric cutter if sewing isn’t your thing. You can find local groups on Facebook. 7. Local shelters, homeless families, crisis centers and food banks are all seeing a steep rise in need. Reach out to these places, find out their specific needs, and offer to collect and deliver donations from your neighbors through Nextdoor or your local Facebook group. There are so many ways you can get involved, improve the current situation in your own communities and stay sane. Reach out. Volunteer. Make a donation. That’s what we do, and that is what will get us all through this together. Nancy Wiley leads a small non-profit affiliated with Baltimore City Public Schools. When not working, she can be found cycling through the woods of western Maryland, writing at www.nancywileywriter.com or simply enjoying life with her husband, friends and three young adult children!

Help! Salons Are Closed and My Hair is Turning More Gray by the Minute
Help! Salons Are Closed and My Hair is Turning More Gray by the Minute

So many memes, so many gray hairs. By now, we have all seen the witty rhetoric online: “Everyone will know your real hair color within 3 weeks.” How many times can you camouflage your gray by flipping layers from one side to another before it bursts through? Some of us wonder if this is the time to transition to a brilliant gray all over. Others ponder how to battle the daily change in color hues from the trenches of our bathroom. Amidst salon closings due to COVID-19, many wonder whether it is worth the risk to fight the good fight despite lack the expertise. We asked experts in Maryland, New Jersey and Ohio and they all agree: Leave the coloring to the professionals. Here is why: 1) Women often color their hair at home to save money or to save time. If you make a mistake, the color fix tends to be more costly and much more time consuming when you make it back to the salon. 2) Box color is unpredictable and although you might “get lucky”, it is not consistent. 3) You can actually damage the integrity of your hair if you do not use the proper coloring process. Hair stylists use higher quality products. Stylists have the expertise to apply bleach and highlights which can ruin hair when box color is previously used. 4) Blondes need to be especially careful. Hair color does not “lift” color. As a result, when
applying box color, it is difficult to blend the band of color as the hair grows. 5) Formulas are created based on each client’s individual levels and tone. It is not a “one size fits all” like you find with box color. One hair stylist provided advice if you MUST color your hair at home: 1) Stick to the same brand and same color. She shared that women often experiment with
different colors or buy whatever is on sale. She tells us it is best to stick with the same exact
brand and color so when you return to the salon, your stylist won’t have to “lift” multiple layers of varying colors. 2) Use a good, sulfate-free shampoo and cut your hair regularly. Here are some recommendations from novice stylists: 1) Candy from Westerville, OH has colored her own hair when she has not had time to get into her salon. She has had luck with Feria by L’Oréal because it brings out the natural highlights. She cautions, however, that if improperly used, you can end up with a less than desired tone. One time she turned her hair orange and her hair stylist was not pleased with her. It took 2 months for her stylist to fix her mistake. 2) Sheryl from Fairfax, VA says that she has colored her own hair for years. She has had more
success with E Salon and Madison Reed than other products. Sheryl recommends if coloring
highlighted hair, use a cap to pull through hair or brush color on small strands of hair. Another option is a temporary root spray or powder that will get you through the day or night until your next shampoo. You can even brush on eye shadow if you find a match. This works particularly well if you are a brunette – grab your brown eye shadow and brush away. If you are in a pinch, it really works! When you get on that video conference rocking a nice blouse on top and sweats on the bottom, ask yourself, is my hair ready for primetime? If you plan on coloring your own hair, consider some of the risks that can impact hair beyond our time at home due to COVID-19. Before you break out the coloring process, give a spray, powder or even eye shadow a try. Perhaps ladies, here is another thought - just let it go! You will be back to your salon in no time.

Fashion Tips for Women Over 50: Be True To Yourself and Stay Stylish
Fashion Tips for Women Over 50: Be True To Yourself and Stay Stylish

By Cindy Lovas Personal Stylist Have you ever said to yourself, “How did I get here? Wow! I am over 50 years old?!” Forget aging gracefully ladies. The older we get, the better we actually look. Really, it’s true if we know how to dress for our body types. As our maturing bodies begin to change, what worked in our 30’s and 40’s may not work as well in our 50’s and 60’s.  No one is saying not to wear the super-high stilettos, lace camisoles, skin-tight sweaters and mini-skirts if that is your style. However, there are other fashion options to consider as we get older! Here are 8 TOP fashion tips for women over 50. In future articles, we will dig deeper into each tip to help you look stylish and confident as we age. 1. Be YOU: Own your style with confidence. What makes you feel wonderful when you wear it? Are you a floral romantic, tailored classic, boho or minimalist kinda girl? Embrace your shape and embrace whatever style speaks to you. 2. Promote your assets cover your liabilities: We all have them! The areas we like and the ones “not so much.” Identify which areas you want to show off. Have a lovely neck? Then wear V-neck or round-necked tops. Want to disguise your hips? Then wear A-line tops. There are so many imaginative ways to “trick the eye” to visually create new body lines. 3. Learn to LOVE Shapewear: It is all about draping your body well. Clothes should skim over your curves, not be a second-skin. Wearing a spandex camisole under blouses, sweaters or tees can make a huge difference skimming over the “menopause middle” creating a lovely silhouette. 4. Update Makeup and Hair Style: Gone are the days of bright or dark red lipstick that show fine lip lines. Update your look with a softer pink tone. Trends have moved away from heavy eyeliner, noticeable lip liner and bands of glittery eyeshadow. Rather, select one eye-shadow tone and eye-line only the upper lid adding a softer look, taking years off our appearance. Update your hairstyle with long bangs, a side part or highlights to promote a softness to your appearance. 5. Accessories are a MUST: Eyes are attracted to shiny objects first and if most of our shine is above our waist, the eye quickly scans up the body creating a longer line, visually making us look taller and thinner. Necklaces, earrings (dime size or larger), scarves, arm parties (bracelets) are a great “go-to” option. Top wardrobe consultants guide their clients to spend 2/3 of their wardrobe budget on accessories. 6. Sassy Eyewear: For many of us, it is that time in our lives where we many need to wear readers and glasses or feel contact lenses are just a hassle. To stay hip and chic, let go of the eyeglass chain and the nondescript cheapies. This doesn’t mean you need to spend large sums of money on designer glasses. Find fun, artsy, edgy even sexy frames that have unobstructed views of your beautiful eyes. You can look like you have style and are smart. 7. Find that Perfect Pair of Jeans: Ditch the elastic waistbands, mom jeans, jeans that bag or jeans that are too short. You also might want to avoid over-embellished jeans. Dark denim is like the “little black dress” as the must-have staple in every stylish women’s wardrobe. Current styles can slenderize tummies, lift up backsides and visually elongate our legs. Did you know those 55 to 65 years old are the fastest-growing group of denim buyers? With more flattering fits and sophisticated details, jeans now work for almost any occasion.

8. Step into Sexy and Sensible Shoes: There is no need to wear shoes that kill your feet.  Select footwear options that promote both comfort and style! Don’t make purchasing decisions on looks alone. According to podiatrists, women over 50 should wear a full size larger shoe than you wore in your 20’s. You can still wear heels but opt for smaller kitten or stacked heels. Wedges, platforms and D’Orsay’s are styles that also work great as fashionable alternatives.  Leave the gym sneakers for the gym. Purchase stylish sneakers for daytime errands or lounging. There you have it! Which one of these fashion tips will you try first? Keep checking back with Hello50 to explore each of these 8 tips on how to look stylish and feel confident as we travel this road together. Cindy Lovas is a Personal Stylist and Hello50 contributor from Westerville, Oh.

How Do We Manage the Emotional Changes that Come With 
Aging?
How Do We Manage the Emotional Changes that Come With
Aging?

Is turning 50 really a pivotal time in a woman’s life? Anecdotally, the answer to that is yes! Hello 50 emerged based on the assumption that aging has not only a physical impact but there are real emotional changes that accompany milestone birthdays. Why are we so impacted emotionally and what can we do to counteract negative emotions associated with aging? 1) We feel we lost our purpose: Many women have focused much of their adult years on nurturing their family. Their children are grown and in some cases they are divorced. They find themselves ill-prepared to redirect that care-taking energy. 2) Young people rule: We see CEO’s and entrepreneurs young enough to be our children and grandchildren. This can make some women feel inadequate or that they have little to offer. We grew up in a time period when our elders were wise. Given societal changes and the onslaught of technology, nowadays, young people seem to be the “all knowing.” 3) Our perspective is not valued: Unfortunately, some women as we age feel minimized, albeit real or imagined. I have heard my mother-in-law say many times “I am just the old lady in the room and no one cares what I have to say.” 4) We struggle with body image issues: Call it society or marketing but many women feel their self-worth is connected to their appearance. If they no longer dazzle a room when they walk through the door, their self-worth is severely impacted. The good news is if we confront these challenges and flip the switch on our mindset, we could actually open the doors to endless opportunities. Cecilia Dintino, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Host of the podcast Twisting the Plot, offers suggestions that we can implement today: 1) Re-write the script of our lives. Instead of being caught up in who we always were, realize it is not too late to become who we now want to be. 2) Connect with young people. Read their books, listen to their music and understand their politics. The more we understand diverse perspectives, the more we can influence as well as learn and grow. 3) Rather than allowing our voice to be minimized, take action to be heard. We have life knowledge and experiences that provide real benefits to others. Speak up by telling stories, writing a blog or sharing your wisdom. 4) Celebrate who we are inside and out. Take care of ourselves emotionally and physically but invest energy in our future potential and not harping on our wrinkles. We all can recognize the challenges associated with emotional changes as we age but the time is now to focus on what we can do, not what we see in the rear view mirror.

Hello50:  What Now?
Hello50: What Now?

Anyone who has seen Legally Blonde will remember Professor Callahan’s statement, “Do you think she woke up one day and said,‘I think I will go to law school today’?”. Elle Woods' motivation for attending Harvard Law School was inspired by the loss of a boyfriend and a quest to win him back. Like Elle, my unlikely path to “I think I will start a business today”, was also rooted in loss. In early 2019, my dear mother passed away after a difficult battle with bone cancer. Her diagnosis and subsequent leg amputation led her to moving in with my husband and me so we could care for her until her death. With her sense of humor in tact, armed and often quite dangerous on her scooter, our family watched my mother persevere through her illness with grace and elegance. She demonstrated enormous courage by making the most out of the last two years of life with loved ones. She immersed herself in books, watched movies and ate fabulous foods. Most importantly, she enjoyed her family and friends until her passing. After my 81 year old mom passed, I began reflecting on my life. Dr. Cecilia Dintino, Psychotherapist and co-host of the podcast, Twisting the Plot, shares that women over 50 will often take inventory of their lives and focus on what they did wrong rather than their strengths. Just as Dr. Dintino explains, I found myself focusing on my missed opportunities rather than celebrating my successes. Dr. Dintino recommends that we should learn from our past but “twist the plot” and consider our endless opportunities for the future. Our story does not end at any age. Take this moment to continue defining our path going forward. As women, many of us spent much of our adult years prioritizing the needs of our family and as we set future goals, we could and should strive to establish our own narrative. This time last year, my mom had passed, my twin girls were grown and out of the house and I no longer had the same passion in my career. I asked the question I have since discovered many women ponder at this critical point in life which is “what now”? My friend April had similar feelings as we forged our wonderful friendship then business partnership. We decided to venture into the unknown by building a supportive community of other curious, kind, and strong women over 50, over 60 and beyond to support one another as we navigate through these glorious years. April and I hope you join us on this journey. We invite your feedback as we add new content every week about a whole host of topics impacting women over 50. Please continue to read our articles or even contribute your own, watch our videos, and visit us on Facebook and Instagram. Hello50 is all about embracing our motto, It’s My Time, whatever that means to you. Like Elle, the loss of love was my motivation to fuel a new life chapter. Thinking about Dr. Dintino’s advice, now is the time to look forward to the endless possibilities that lie ahead by continuing to write our own plot twists.

What Doctors May Not Tell You about Menopause
What Doctors May Not Tell You about Menopause

By: Hello50 Contributor Menopause is a natural process that occurs as women age. For most women, at some point between ages 40 and 50, they will begin to experience menopause symptoms. These changes happen as the ovaries begin to produce lower levels of estrogen. Many symptoms of menopause are well-known. Hot flashes, mood swings and vaginal dryness are common experiences for women during this phase of their lives. Since menopause is not something that can be reversed, treatment focuses on handling the symptoms. Doctors may prescribe treatments as simple as lifestyle changes. In more extreme cases, they may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to provide menopause relief. While a doctor can help with the symptoms, there are some aspects of menopause that may not come up in an office visit. Menopause Takes Time Officially, women reach menopause when they have not had a period for 12 months. However, the perimenopause phase can begin several years before that milestone. As estrogen levels drop over time, women will experience irregular periods. They may miss a month here and there. They may have a few months of regular periods and a few months off. This is also the time when women may start experiencing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. After the onset of menopause, the symptoms tend to ease, but this can also take a few years. It is important to recognize that this is a natural process that will take time. Some women find that increasing their intake of plant estrogens, also known as phytoestrogens, can provide some menopause relief. Soy products such as soy milk and tofu contain these compounds. Menopause Takes an Emotional Toll The onset of menopause begins at a time that is often filled with emotional stressors. Around age 50, women may be dealing with the care of aging parents and children heading off to college. The unpredictable nature of menopause symptoms adds to that stress, disrupting plans and changing patterns. These factors can increase the changes in mood that are part of the process. While most people are familiar with menopausal mood swings, not everyone realizes how extreme they can be. Women may have episodes where they feel emotionally out of control with bouts of unexpected sobbing or sudden bursts of irritation and anger. For some women, long-term changes in mood require medical help such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. Menopausal women might take up mindfulness exercises such as meditation, deep-breathing techniques or yoga. Learning how to calm things down can be helpful in dealing with mood swings. While mindful practices may not stop mood swings, they can help keep them from going to the extremes of anxiety and depression. Menopause Can Affect the Way You Think The mental impact of menopause can be more than emotional. Women talk about frustrating episodes with a lack of mental sharpness. In some cases, this feels like a general mental fog. In others, women report specific issues with short-term memory loss, problems with word recall and decreased levels of motivation and concentration. These symptoms of menopause can increase anxiety as they can even mirror the symptoms of early-onset dementia. Relief from Symptoms Is Not a One Size Fits All In addition to sleep and regular exercise, using supplements, ginkgo biloba, omega-3 fish oil, CBD oils or essential oils may help combat menopausal symptoms. Other women have success with more traditional approaches such as using Hormone Replacement Treatment. Each woman must find what works for her when it comes to addressing the symptoms associated with menopause. Talk with your doctor and other health experts to decide which approach is best suited for you.  Finally, we want to hear from you. We will explore traditional and more alternative methods for combatting menopausal symptoms in future content. What has worked for you? Reach out to info@hello50.com and share which remedies have been most helpful.

How to Bounce Back From Empty Nest Syndrome
How to Bounce Back From Empty Nest Syndrome

When I was choosing the topic I wanted to share, I chose mental health and I would like to focus on Empty Nest Syndrome which has had a big impact on my life.  The past few years have been difficult ones for me.  I am a creature of habit and don’t like change very much.  
First, a little about me.  I’m 59 years old.  I am the mother of one son and have been married for 35 years.  I live in the mountains outside of Frederick, MD in a log cabin on a 5-acre wooded lot that is my sanctuary.  I love reading, music and spending time on my porch watching the hummingbirds, songbirds, deer, bears, raccoons and any other critters that
happen to grace me with their presence.  I would rather be alone than in a large crowd but enjoy spending time with close friends having dinner and maybe splurging on a movie (if there is a good one showing).  The days of loud, crowded outings no longer appeal to me. I find myself to be the meat in the generation sandwich; guiding my son and his family,
while also helping my parents to continue to live independently as they age. I have a 2 hour commute to work 4 days a week. This is in addition to keeping my now Empty Nest tidy and functioning. I’m not sure there were ever better words to describe a condition than “Empty Nest Syndrome.”  A few years ago, my son and his wife moved to Pennsylvania and now have a brand-new baby, my first grandchild. It’s a 3 ½ hour drive from my home.They both have good jobs, a beautiful home and are prospering. What more could a “good” mom ask for?  This was not my first experience with an empty nest.  When my son moved to California after he graduated from college, promising he would be back, I holed up in my house for an entire weekend, listened to Jason Mraz’s “93 Million Miles” about a hundred times, cleaned my house from stem to stern and cried and cried.  It helped. I’m a big fan of the shower
cry.  You know, when no one can hear you and you can let the water wash over you so your eyes don’t look as puffy or red. I believe crying can be as healthy as laughing.  Stuffing it down or pretending it isn’t there will only force it to manifest in some other way.  When I complain about how far away my family is, friends and family offer comfort by
saying “but at least it’s not California.” And, you know what?  They’re right!  But, as a mom and now grandmother, 3 ½ hours seems as far away as California; it’s not, but it feels like it.  It pains me that I can’t drop off dinner, that I can’t babysit my new granddaughter when needed, I can’t invite them over for an impromptu meal. When I say pain, it is a
physical pain in my body.  But I know it’s a reality that I must accept, knowing I can’t do a shower cry every single day! It has taken me years to find ways to deal with the loneliness that comes with this new reality and I most certainly haven’t perfected it.  To copy a section from Oprah’s magazine “What I Know for Sure”, I know for sure that it’s solely up to me what I make of my new reality.  It’s all about my choices.  I can make the choice to sit and wallow in my loneliness or I can accept it and make the best of it.  But, it’s not easy.  I want to offer some suggestions that have helped me. When your nest becomes empty, I would like to suggest going back to your past.  Since your brain still feels young even if your body doesn’t, find the joys that you had before life got busy and hectic.  It will be different for everyone.  But I think everyone has something – something they loved to do.  Get it out – dust it off.  Set your expectations low – just get
started.  See where it goes.  And if it goes nowhere – try something else.  Or, if you can’t find something from your past – choose something you always wanted to do. When I was raising my family, I didn’t have the time or money to indulge in my hobbies.  I always loved to cross stitch, but never had the time when I was sitting at baseball games, soccer games, school events and working full time.  I have now picked up my cross stitching again.  It’s not as easy because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but I invested in magnifiers and bright lights and found a comfortable place in my house that I can set up all that I need to enjoy my craft again – I LOVE IT!!!!  Now, I don’t focus on hurrying up to finish a project.  I take my time and just enjoy the feeling of creativity.  Sunday has become putting dinner in the crock pot, getting into some comfortable clothes and settling into my newly functional space for a leisurely afternoon of cross stitching and catching up on the TV shows I can’t stay awake to watch during the week.  Oh, and by the way, that new little granddaughter that is so far away?  Sunday afternoon is a FaceTime session where Coco (that’s me) reads her a story. I also used to draw, but never had the time when I was a full-time mother.  Now, I have invested in new art supplies and I am rediscovering a talent I never had much time to pursue.  I hadn’t picked up any pastels or drawing pencils in over 40 years, but it came back to me very quickly.  I’ll never make a living out of it – but every time I do something creative, my
technique is a bit better and there is no pressure – it’s just what I get out of it.  This is the time I put on some good music and get lost in music and art for hours. I have also discovered 2 wonderful tools utilizing my electronic devices; podcasts and meditation. Since society pretty much dictates that we have these devices – I think they should be put to better use than toxic social media and being exposed to all the negativity and ugliness that has become the norm.  If you haven’t ventured into the world of podcasts, you absolutely don’t know what you’re missing.  There are unlimited choices and the best part – most are FREE!  I have turned that 2-hour commute where I am a captive in my car into an opportunity to learn and laugh. I am a fan of long format talk shows, true crime series and discussions about history. I started doing free 10 minute guided meditations found on YouTube after my morning coffee.  They offer a chance to just be still and breathe and start my day in a positive, relaxed frame of mind.  Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no right or wrong way to meditate.  It’s just about clearing your mind and allowing your body to completely relax and it gets more beneficial the more you practice it.  A word of advice, if you seek out the guided meditations on YouTube, don’t settle on the first ones you listen to – some of the narrator’s voices are like nails on chalkboard to me – I had to spend some time finding voices that were pleasing to me.  I spent about an hour one night with my headphones on while my husband was watching TV finding the ones I liked and saving them to my YouTube library. Take the time to seek out good ones before you want to use them so you don’t waste valuable time on a session that doesn’t benefit you. Instead of eating lunch at my desk, I put a sun shield up in my car, recline my seat and spend my lunchtime reading.  I set an alarm on my phone so I’m not watching the clock.  Thirty minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but for me it’s
enough of a break and gives me that uninterrupted time indulging my love of reading and if I’m lucky I squeeze in a 10 minute power nap. Women over 50: Don’t allow yourselves to grow old prematurely.  While our bodies may not be what they used to be, our brains are as active and inquisitive as ever.  You no longer need to feel the pressure of putting a 3-course meal on the table every night or always keeping your house clean and sparkly (unless that’s what your joy is). My Sunday crock pot
dinners provide leftovers for the better part of the week. I find if I spend a little bit of time before or after work with some light cleaning I no longer have to spend my entire weekend behind the vacuum cleaner with a dust cloth in my pocket. I also encourage professional therapy, if you think it will help. I recently discovered that my health insurance provides 5 FREE counseling sessions so I’m going to take advantage of the benefit and I can do them over the phone. Just to clear out some of the mental cobwebs. Here are a few more suggestions:
1. Write letters to friends and family who live far away which is so much nicer than an email or text. I look for
pretty, blank note cards to use. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing a handwritten card in the mail instead of junk mail
and bills?
2. Go for a walk or just sit outside. Indulge all your senses with nature.
3. Plan a cup of coffee, dinner or visit with a friend you haven’t had time to see.
4. Make a phone call to an elderly friend or relative who doesn’t use computers.
5. If you have grandchildren, invest in a “grandmother’s journal” to write down everything you want them to know about you and your life. There are many choices on Amazon. I would like to leave you with one more word of advice: “Kindness, it doesn’t cost a damn thing, sprinkle it everywhere.” Being kind to everyone and having compassion for those in need or less fortunate will benefit you as much as it benefits them…..and it’s FREE! Thank you for allowing me to give you a small glimpse into my life!  I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you.  Best of luck in finding peace and joy in your empty nest! Carol from Frederick, MD

Love, Equality and Justice: Our Commitment to the Hello50 Community
Love, Equality and Justice: Our Commitment to the Hello50 Community

About a year ago, April and I began developing our website, Hello50, as a platform for women as we age into our 50’s, 60’s and older. As we stated in our inaugural article, Hello50: What Now, the idea we had was to build a community for other curious, kind, and strong women over 50, 60 and beyond. Our goal is to SUPPORT one another as we navigate through these amazing years. After many months of preparation, we launched in March of 2020. Prior to the launch, we asked women to complete a survey and share which topics were of interest to them. Women from all over the country told us they were interested in fashion, beauty, relationships, health and well-being, elder care and many more great topics. Our website is already chock full of content covering these areas of interest and many of which, written by experts in those respective fields. We made the decision that if Hello50 were to embrace all women, we would not provide political content or engage in political discussions as that would be divisive rather than INCLUSIVE. Given the events of the past few months, we want to be clear where we stand as a website dedicated to supporting and empowering women over 50.  Although we are an apolitical platform that provides VALUE to our age group by discussing a variety of topics, we are not tone deaf to what is happening in our country, nor are we void of political opinions as individuals.  As far as what our platform represents, Hello50 takes a hard stance AGAINST racism, FOR human rights, AGAINST hate and FOR equality. To that end, we have outlined our commitment to the Hello50 community. Ultimately, we believe we can best serve the Hello50 community by: providing a safe and supportive environment; identifying what we share in common and call out where we must find agreement. We want to be open with our community as we recognize this is a such a difficult time for many of you.  We will continue to support you and we are always here to listen. What we should all agree upon: NO ONE should be discriminated against because of their race, religion, national origin, age or sexual orientation. Love, respect, JUSTICE and equality are basic human rights that everyone deserves. If you sit down and talk, regardless of where you live and what you believe, you will discover we want the same things out of life. Happiness, safety, security and opportunity for ourselves and our families are goals shared by all women over 50. You learn more from listening than talking. It is important to keep conversation OPEN AND RESPECTFUL to find a way forward with one another. We will continue to provide content based on topics that impact women as we age. We will also promote values that align with human rights, embraces our diverse community, and respects and loves for one another. Let’s work together as a unified, aging population by being part of the solution, not the problem. If we are committed to finding common ground, supporting equality and promoting respect for each other, we then can lead others by example.