How to boost your self confidence in midlife

How do you maintain a positive mindset in midlife and avoid the comparison trap and feel great about yourself? And what does self-care really mean for us busy women?

Katie speaks to life coach and Olympian Michelle Griffiths Robinson all about self belief and self confidence.

Listen to the full conversation in The Latte Lounge podcast episode above.

Tell us first a little bit about your own self confidence journey and how that got you to where you are today.

People's perception isn’t always what's going on inside.

I think it's really important for women to understand that there are things that you go through in your life that people don't see.

You don't see when someone is struggling, all you see is what they show you, so when you see that mum at the school gate who always has everything together, she may not feel quite so confident on the inside.

As a young girl, I was always confident. I grew up with three older brothers, so as the youngest and the only girl, I had to have a voice. I had to stand up for myself.

Unfortunately, through life, you meet different people and relationships, and circumstances can change you and almost dulled me down. 

How did I get my confidence back? By constantly working on myself and recognising my strengths. People see me in a lovely fitting dress, and yes, I've got a nice fit body, but it’s a pre-diabetic nightmare, and they don't see that.

I put on a nice dress, I don't have any stretch marks, and I've got saggy boobs, but I've got a brilliant bra.

So there are things people don't see. But I can genuinely tell you now I got here by working on me.

I am a confident female, I can walk into a room packed full of women, men, whoever it may be, and shine because I'm confident within my own skin now. 

friends

What causes a loss of confidence in midlife and does menopause play a part in that?

I get to work as a life coach and a mentor to a lot of women, and they come to me with low self esteem.

They come to me because they're overweight and not feeling on their A game. They have impostor syndrome, and I always ask them to go back to a time when they felt really good.

Why did they feel so good? If it’s because they were slimmer?

I ask, “does that change who you are? Your body shape? Or is that because you put on something and you feel better in it?” And we've got all of the answers within ourselves. 

I do get a lot of midlife women coming to me through lack of confidence. And, of course, we all know that menopause plays a massive part in reducing your confidence.

Equally, it can also be a time where actually, you're at the age where you feel more confident in who you are. 

How do we combat low self-esteem? We turn it around, and it sounds really fluffy and a bit ridiculous at times, but try positive affirmations. Look in the mirror and tell yourself the great things about you.

So “My name is Katie, and I run a brilliant business. I'm always communicating with other women, connecting other women, highlighting other women and showcasing other women.”

That's a quality, and when you sit and break it down like that rather than focus on whatever is lowering your self-esteem, you can see all of the positives.

RELATED: How to step fully into control (with confidence)

What tools are there to help you regain your confidence in midlife?

I often ask women to write down their values and beliefs because the great thing is when you've written things down, it starts allowing them to see things on paper and take ownership of themselves. 

I ask them to write down all the great things about themselves, the things their family would say about them or their work colleagues.

Whether it be that you’re always the first person to offer to support a friend or that you’re very organised, these are qualities and values and shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Write them down, and say them out loud. You have all of the answers, I just help you find the tools to extract them.

woman journalling

Is it about just accepting and loving where you are or trying to make changes?

It depends on them, to be honest. If you really want to lose weight, let's identify why you want to lose weight.

What's it for? Who's it for?

If it’s just for you, that you’d like to lose a couple of pounds, great, but let's get fitter rather than slimmer.

Let's set some targets and challenges, go for a 5k or walk with your friend up the hills.

You’ll be getting the result you want and feeling better afterwards. 

We know that the hair thinning, the weight loss and all those things do make a big difference to our confidence, but how many women do you know that aren't here to tell that story?

I would rather have my no-hair self, watch my kids grow up and give them something back so they can feel better about themselves when they're my age.

RELATED: Weight gain and menopause: world’s largest study reveals new findings

How can we find the motivation to exercise?

We all have mornings when we just want that extra half an hour in bed, and I've been there, this morning I didn’t want to get up.

However, today is my non-negotiable training day. I've scheduled my training today so that I know that I'm now training at six o'clock.

I've made myself a priority, and I’m holding myself to account. 

Write down the days that you're going to do something and make it a priority.

Ask your partner for support and allow them to hold you to account if you don’t want to go for that six o'clock walk because it's raining outside and there's washing on the floor.

You need someone to say, “go and do your walk”. Form good, solid habits.

RELATED: KATIE'S BLOG: Losing it! My midlife weight loss story

confident woman running

At The Midlife Festival, I spoke to a couple of midlife style gurus, a lovely lady called Gloria Smyth and Jacynth Bassett, and they were talking about how style plays a massive part in their confidence. I took a note from Gloria, which was to wear colour. Does wearing colour help you feel more confident?

Absolutely.

Bright, bold, empowering colours, make me feel good.

And we've spent enough time being invisible, now's our time to be visible.

Putting on that pop of colour on a rainy day makes you feel automatically better.

It's been proven that you feel better with more colour around you, so I just naturally gravitate towards colour. 

RELATED: Watch replays from the Midlife Festival

Makeup, hair and nails are also things that can make us look good. It doesn't matter what size we are.

Let’s get rid of this size thing. I'm a size 10/12, and I'm pre-diabetic.

I know women are size 14 and are fit and healthy. I tell my daughter I want her to be fit, cardio fit. I want her to be able to run for a bus. 

Don’t starve yourself or do dry January, let's start living a moderate lifestyle.

Three, four days a week doing some form of movement, it doesn't have to be weight training.

It could be getting out for a brisk walk up the hill with your dog or going out for a walk and a conversation with your friend because it helps your mental health.

You don’t have to train five days a week and cut everything out. 

I'm not saying I want to be average, there's nothing average about me. I want to be exceptional for Michelle.

But I want women to let go of this perfectionism and stop thinking that they've got to train five days a week or detox. 

friends meeting for coffee

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see women make when it comes to boosting self esteem and self confidence?

Number one would be not making time for themselves, not making themselves a priority.

Also that we are that sandwich generation where we've got our ageing parents, we've got ourselves and our midlife menopause or perimenopause, and we've got our children who we're trying to still guide, so sometimes it does become overwhelming. 

Reach out and let people know. Meet a friend for coffee and ask for support.

RELATED: 6 top tips for self care in midlife

How can we avoid comparing ourselves to others on social media? 

You have to remember, it’s not real.

We generally only share our best bits, we don't generally share the bits where we’re feeling quite tearful or emotional.

Sometimes we need a reality check, it's not all as it seems. 

If somebody's Instagram isn't adding value to your psyche or mental health, delete it and move on.

Be mindful of what you're looking at, are you just scrolling through because you're bored?

Is there something else you can be doing?

Is there a self care book you could be picking up instead?

woman in bath robe

What self care tips do you have for when you feel low? 

I rang my best friend this morning and had a really good chat and a cry on the phone. I then made myself a nice breakfast and had some time out. It’s good to offload.

Set boundaries, say no to things you don’t want to do and give yourself some space to think. 

Do something that makes you feel good, and spend some time in the bath or shower with some lovely products like a homemade spa.  

Self-care doesn't have to cost anything, a phone call, good nutrition, walking and chatting are all free. 

Can you share your top tips on self confidence and taking care of yourself for a change?

First and foremost, you've got to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help anybody else. 

Secondly, set boundaries so that you stay a little bit more in control.

Don't say yes to everything and burn out, know your limits and get some brilliant sleep.

Good sleep allows you to feel better, brighter and more confident to deal with everyday challenges.

Write that list of all the things that make you great, and then put it somewhere to read on those days where you're not feeling quite your sharp self.

Positive mental attitude: How to boost your self-confidence in midlife | Michelle Griffiths Robinson

In this episode, I'm going to be talking to life coach and Olympian Michelle Griffiths Robinson. I first interviewed Michelle for the midlife Festival in 2021, all about self belief and confidence. And honestly, it was such an inspiring conversation that I knew I just had to have her back for this podcast.

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