1 IT'S ABOUT THE SIMPLE THINGS
I’m happy when I’m laughing with my kids, have a tidy, clean house (I’m a little bit of a neat freak!) with a full fridge of all the foods I like, and people I love around my dining table.
2 DIETING DOESN'T WORK
I became interested in nutrition as a teenager. My mum and I tried every diet. Thankfully, I came out of that phase and realised that simply eating well with mostly whole foods is the way to go. That changed my relationship with food, and my body, to a far more positive one.
3 HAVING DOWNTIME IS ESSENTIAL
I work for myself and now I’m in my late 40s, I never feel guilty about spending time with my family or friends instead of working, or taking a walk in the middle of the afternoon. Often my best thinking comes when I’m walking or when I’m chatting with others in a social setting.
4 AIM TO BE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT
At university, my PhD supervisor, Dr Jennie Brand-Miller, said to me when I was getting married, ‘Always be financially independent.’ It was the best advice. My experience of ending up a single mum struggling to make ends meet was a real kick up the bum, trying to make my business work and be financially responsible for myself. My relationship today (with my second husband) is on a much more equal footing as a result.
5 FAMILY COMES FIRST
I will always put my friends and family before work or anything else going on in life.
6 MAKE EXERCISE A HABIT
As a kid, I wasn’t sporty, but in the ’80s I discovered aerobics and rocked a pair of legwarmers and a thong leotard. It started a fitness habit for me and now I feel awful if I don’t exercise.
7 UNWIND BY WALKING
I walk most days for at least an hour at pace, and I do an average three gym classes a week, incorporating strength and cardio training. If I’m wound up with stress or anger, or I’m upset, I unwind by walking.
8 SWITCH OFF FROM TECHNOLOGY REGULARLY
I’ve been known to turn my phone off for the day and spend it on the sofa with a good book. In winter, I love to have a bubble bath and read.
9 KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES
My biggest weakness is probably procrastination. I remember my mum calling one day and when I told her I was cleaning my skirting boards, she asked, ‘What work deadline are you supposed to be meeting?’ She was so on the money!
10 GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
It’s good to put yourself out of your comfort zone – doing so makes it easier to face everyday challenges. For a few years, I tackled a big physical challenge every year: I climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked the Kokoda Trail, and completed a Half Ironman. They needn’t all be physical though. Challenges keep life interesting and ensure you keep growing.
Dr Joanna McMillan was a featured expert in Prevention's podcast Thriving In Menopause. Click here to listen.