New research reveals that middle-aged Australians are struggling to get the most out of life, with three quarters (73%) aged 40-59 experiencing a decline in their 'mojo' in the last five years.
Defining mojo as 'overall vibrancy, energy and zest-for-life' the study, by Metamucil, uncovers the extent to which middle-agers are struggling to cope with life's pressures. Almost three quarters (71%) aged 40-59 say low mojo affects their overall happiness, whilst just under two thirds (59%) feel they're not getting the most out of life.
Within the 40-59 year old age group, "feeling sluggish" (78%) is the most common indicator of a lost mojo - yet surprisingly just one in seven (13%) see dietary changes, such as introducing more fibre, as a viable means of reclaiming their get-up-and-go.
The results reveal how the pressures of modern life are taking their toll on the country's 'sandwich generation'. Often coping with the double demands of a young family and aging parents, plus dealing with work pressures, those aged 40-59 identified the top three causes in their mojo decline as:
1. Stress (66%)
2. Lack of sleep (62%)
3. Tensions in their relationship (45%)
Perhaps more worryingly, this decline appears to be well-established, starting in the decade leading to middle-age. A quarter (25%) of Australians in their 30s admit to a 'significant' decline in their mojo levels in recent years2, suggesting the issue is more than just a passing phase.
Fiona Cosgrove, Wellness Coach, comments "Millennial pressures are well documented, but it's worrying to see how early on we experience life fatigue. Many would hope as they enter middle-age to feel more established and content, but it seems, for most the opposite is true."
Talking about the indicators that they have lost their mojo, most 40-59 year olds (57%) admit to feeling irritable all the time – a trend notably higher amongst women (61%) than men (53%). For most however the strongest tell-tale sign of a loss of mojo is feeling tired or sluggish (78%), leaving us with little energy to enjoy hobbies and down-time.
Despite this, few look to diet as a realistic means of reclaiming their mojo, turning instead to short-term solutions such as caffeine (20%). Typically this is because they feel they eat healthily enough (41%), but amongst those with a low mojo almost a third (29%) admit to not knowing what dietary changes to make and one in five (20%) say it's too much effort in the face of an already busy schedule.
Fiona Cosgrove continues "There are lots of factors that affect our zest for life – family, work, hobbies - but the study suggests many people don't realise the huge role our diet can play in our overall vibrancy too.
"For example, we found less than one in 10 (8%) would seek to include more fibre to help reclaim their get-up-and-go, but this can be a cause of low mojo and it's easy to adjust. Adding a fibre supplement to your diet such as Metamucil can help you feel lighter and more active in just two weeks."
Question: Where you surprised that almost three quarters of Aussies (73 per cent) aged 40-59 have experienced a decline in their zest for life over the last five years?
Fiona Cosgrove: Yes, it's worrying to see how early on we actually experience life fatigue. Many would hope as they enter middle-age to feel more established and content, but it seems, for most the opposite is true.
Question: Why do you believe one quarter of the respondents noticed a 'significant' drop in 'mojo' levels as early as their 30s?
Fiona Cosgrove: There are lots of contributing factors that affect our zest for life but coping with the double demands of a young family and elderly parents, relationship pressures, fatigue and stress seem to be the biggest struggles as we hit our 30s and 40s.
Question: How can we regain the zest for life?
Fiona Cosgrove: Wellness begins from within, which is why diet plays a huge role in rediscovering your mojo. Start by setting some achievable goals, like trying the Metamucil two week challenge, along with a combination of simple and easy lifestyle changes, from ensuring you get a balanced diet to managing stress both at work and in your home life. You'll be amazed at how these simple changes can help you regain some of that zest for life.
Question: How does a balanced diet play a role in our zest for life?
Fiona Cosgrove: Diet plays a huge role in our overall wellbeing, but is easy to neglect. For those feeling sluggish or lacking in energy, something as simple as increasing your fibre intake could help. I recommend a daily supplement like Metamucil because it's made from 100% natural psyllium which cleanses from within and can help you feel lighter and more active. It's something that has worked for me because it's easy to take every day, either by adding to water or juices and smoothies and it taste great too.
Question: What are your top tips for managing stress?
Fiona Cosgrove: As the survey showed, stress is a major cause of mojo loss. Stopping to think about why we are stressed is a first step in understanding how to manage these elements more effectively. To help learn how to relax, think about a time that you were most peaceful and aim to recreate that moment each day. Activities like deep breathing, yoga, time in nature or even just a casual stroll can help.
Question: How do you combat lack of sleep?
Fiona Cosgrove: A good night's sleep for me, starts hours before night-time. Regular exercise, good nutrition and avoiding long, stressful days at work all contribute to my restful sleep. My evening routine is also important. I turn off my computer by 6pm and avoid any blue light or stimulating brain activity. I love colouring in and reading! But again choose my reading material so it doesn't activate my brain too much. I need a dark room, air movement and of course a fabulous bed helps!
Question: When are you most at peace?
Fiona Cosgrove: Without doubt, when I am in nature. Also with my dogs, with my husband or with my sons!
Question: What's a typical day like, for you as a Wellness Coach?
Fiona Cosgrove: My days are far from typical as I run a lot of training programs so spend some time usually each fortnight traveling, then delivering a workshop. My normal routine if there is such a thing starts early – by 5am when I wake and either go for a group bike ride, solitary run or kayak. I exercise most days and prefer the morning as where I live it's hot! Breakfast and my coffee by 8am then by 9am I start work. I prefer to dress casually when working at home and break my day up into no more than 90 minute work flow sessions. If I have clients or meetings I also keep time on either side free for recovery or preparation. I try and stop work by 4pm and use the evenings to unwind. Bedtime is very early – in bed usually before 9pm. Boring but necessary.
Question: What are your five simple questions to address when wanting to reclaim our mojo?
Fiona Cosgrove: Where is your energy highest and lowest? What are you doing, who are you with? What other factors affect it?
Jotting these down in one place can help you spot clear differences between times when you are feeling high and low mojo.
How balanced do you feel your diet is and/or does your daily food intake include a sufficient amount of all nutrients?
Diet plays a huge role in our overall well-being, but is easy to neglect. For those feeling sluggish or lacking in energy, something as simple as increasing your fibre intake could help. I recommend a daily supplement like Metamucil because it's made from 100% natural psyllium which cleanses from within and can help you feel lighter and more active. Plus it's easy to take every day, either by adding to water or juices.
What would you consider to be your strengths? If you're not sure, ask your family and friends.
Usually we feel good when we're doing things we're good at. Identifying your strengths will give you a boost and help think about how to incorporate them into your life more.
How do you handle stress? Do you feel you are under unusual stress right now? Where is that stress coming from?
As the survey showed, stress is a major cause of mojo loss. Stopping to think about why we are stressed is a first step in learning how to manage these elements more effectively.
When are you at your most peaceful? What's going on then?
Imagining ourselves at our most peaceful can open the door to ways to incorporate this into our lifestyle more often. Spending ten minutes a day doing the things we feel at peace with can be a major boost.
Interview by Brooke Hunter