Real Talk: Midlife By Design

Ep. 29 | Midlife, the Perfect Time for New Beginnings with Melissa Joiner

February 22, 2022 Ericka, Curator of Zest / Melissa Joiner Episode 29
Real Talk: Midlife By Design
Ep. 29 | Midlife, the Perfect Time for New Beginnings with Melissa Joiner
Show Notes Transcript

Self-care. It seems to be a popular catchphrase these days, but what does it really mean? Midlife is an optimal time to begin putting self first again, yet it seems like such a foreign activity that can be riddled with guilt.

So what can you do to optimize both of these topics in your life, perhaps create an action plan to support your needs and your unique goals. Luckily today's guest can specifically support you in this process.

Melissa Joiner is a health coach and the founder of Mel Joy Lifestyle. The mission of our company is to empower women who are in their midlife to embrace their journey holistically by focusing on positive aging.

Mel Joy offers a self care workbook, planning and affirmation products, along with a bloom self care assessment to help women prioritize their vision of self care while supporting them and planning their overall health goals.

Stay connected with Melissa  and find out more about her work with the quick, access links below:



We're inspired to become the #1 Resource for Midlife Women. Go get access to articles, expert insights and more at  The Zestful Movement

Ericka (00:07):

Midlife, what does it mean to you? I believe that midlife is a place to recognize, reprioritize and redefine your purpose. It's a place of new beginnings, new personal growth, and new adventures. Midlife is a chance to release your outdated labels and begin designing your second life journey. How? With heart centered experts, tangible tools and a supportive community. Why? Because if not now, then when? Now, that's real talk. I'm Erika, your host and curator of Zest. Let's begin building your midlife by design together. If you're enjoying this content, lead a review on Apple podcast and share this podcast with someone you care about too, as it truly helps to keep the Zesty energy flowing, visit the, where you'll find more resources cultivated for your midlife journey.

Ericka (01:09):

Melissa Joiner is a health coach and the founder of Mel Joy Lifestyle. The mission of our company is to empower women who are in their midlife to embrace their journey holistically by focusing on positive aging. Mel Joy offers a self care workbook, planning and affirmation products, along with a bloom self care assessment to help women prioritize their vision of self care while supporting them and planning their overall health goals.

Ericka (01:41):

Self-care. It seems to be a popular catchphrase these days, but what does it really mean? Midlife is an optimal time to begin putting self first again, yet it seems like such a foreign activity that can be riddled with guilt. So what can you do to optimize both of these topics in your life, perhaps create an action plan to support your needs and your unique goals. Luckily today's guest can specifically support you in this process. Melissa, welcome to Midlife by Design.

Melissa (02:13):

Hi Ericka. How are you?

Ericka (02:16):

I'm doing really well.

Melissa (02:17):

And honestly, I am excited to have you on today. And the reason why I use "excited" is because I know for women specifically that it's so easy to take care of everyone around us. And then when we're faced with this, I'm even, I'm going to say "challenge," because it seems like that's the right word of the energy around it. When we're faced with the challenge of taking care of ourselves, it's like, we kind of forget how to nourish ourselves. And then all of this guilt kind of comes into it. And then we feel out of the loop again and we're still not taking care of self. So I want you to jump in a little bit and tell us how it is that you decided that this was going to be your mission to serve midlife women?

Ericka (02:58):

Yeah, definitely. Well, first I want to thank you for having me on it's such an honor and I just am really thrilled with your community and everything that you're doing to support women in our midlife journey. I think for me, it's the passion and the purpose behind my midlife journey and realizing that there's a void in the community online and out in our personal communities where there's not much talk about positive aging and women in their journey in midlife. So that has been the inspiration for me.

Melissa (03:43):

Well, I think that's a huge inspiration and yeah, isn't that true? It's almost like when you hit 50, you fall off the face of the earth that you're no longer needed, right? And when we do get the messages, it seems to be more of a message of like, how can you stay young? How can you stay vibrant? How you stay, but in ways that are not and aligned with middle life, right? It's more aligned with trying to reach back and looking like, well, what was I doing in my thirties? And what was I doing in my twenties? And the reality is those don't really fit the mold that we're in now. And so I think it's powerful to have these conversations, because it gives us midlife women, the permission just to be who we are in this moment without apology.

Melissa (04:25):

Yeah, definitely. One... I realized that I was in autopilot and turning 56 this year when I realized that last year, and then turning 56 this year, I was like, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. So I got to take a step back." And I realized that I was tired of that autopilot through life. And...

Ericka (04:50):

I love that.

Melissa (04:51):

Yeah. And, and turning 56, I realized that, "Oh my gosh, I want to reset and figure out what is bringing me joy, what makes me happy?" And so that has been the journey that I've been on this year.

Ericka (05:09):

So I'm going to ask you, Melissa. So what was it specifically that you noticed? So you were like 56. "Oh my gosh," that was your epiphany moment. But what were the things that you were doing that weren't bringing you joy and how did you decide that you know what I can do something different. How did you break out of that?

Melissa (05:26):

I think I realized I was in a space of complacency. Like I said, I was on autopilot doing the same thing day in and day out and just really realizing that there was so much more that I wanted to experience. And I recognized my passion that I had inside that kind of was, I don't know the word maybe stifled.

Ericka (05:57):


Melissa (05:57):

Or I was just keeping down, but it was brewing. It was always brewing, but I never just let my passion, explode out to consider what it is that I wanted. And with my passion, became sort of a purpose as well. So that passion and purpose, and that was the defining moment for me, realizing that I've got a lot of passion and purpose on some of the things that bring me joy. And when I realized that it centered around my midlife journey, that's where I really became focused on creating a positive space for me and sharing.

Ericka (06:47):

I love that. And when you have purpose and passion, like pretty much you can't go wrong right? That's like a good mix of energy to have right there. So would you say that was also the moment when you started to create your business, Mel joy?

Melissa (07:02):

Yes. Yeah, definitely. And I always knew, I love the business world, creating business and really a lot of strategic thoughts behind business building and things. And I always knew I would be in some sort of business back even early in my thirties. I knew this, but I didn't quite know what it would be. And when I really started exploring it, it was focusing around self-care and I was being more intentional about my self-care last year. And then this year, and I wanted to spread positive awareness and messaging around self care. And then I started to realize that here I am, 56 years old, full of so much passion, purpose, feeling vibrant, looking forward to my next chapter. And I realized that there's other women like me. Why don't I hear enough about this? Why in my community, when I walk out my front door, I don't see messaging. I don't see or hear conversations, and so that spurred Mel Joy Lifestyle, which originally was going to be focused on global self-care for everyone. But when I realized that there's a void in the space for women entering or in midlife, which is 40 and above, I wanted to make Mel Joy Lifestyle, that would be the mission to support women entering and in midlife with positive aging messaging in conversation.

Ericka (08:53):

I mean, and that's powerful. And I honestly believe that we cannot hear that enough. So I mean, coming into 48 this year, I think you start kind of, me, I'm speaking of myself, I'm starting to realize that "Yes, you actually are aging, right?" The gray hairs coming in, I'm allowing it to do so. The wrinkles are seeping in from all the years of maybe yelling and smiling at my children, those little lines those repetitive lines are coming in. And also speaking of children, my there's a real reality that they are growing up and going into their own lives. And so I think it's very valuable that women like you are filling that void because the messages that are out there are not necessarily for us, and when they are there, they're not really in empowering who we are and where we're going.

Ericka (09:37):

So I'm grateful for you having the courage to do that. And also I think, powerfully doing it at your age, that says a lot. So you mentioned that when you were creating your businesses or your business, you were coming into some challenges. So can you give us just an idea of what one challenge was and you kept moving forward through that? Because I think also sometimes in midlife, it's easy to be like, "Ooh, that looks kind of hard or, oh, I'm not sure if I can do that." And so we kind of lean back into that. How is it that you leaned into your challenge and continue to move forward to serve your clients?

Melissa (10:14):

Yeah, that's a great question. And I think for me I had a period of where I wasn't happy and just that autopilot theme. You have this regimented routine that you do day in and day out and because it just is, and I realized like, wait a minute, it doesn't have to be that way. And I can infuse all the things that bring me joy and happiness and figure out what that is into my life and, and make it a daily habit and, and stop having the regimented routine dictate my 24 hours in a day. And so I became more intentional about infusing more things that brought me joy and happiness within the things that you have to do, like work your nine to five, if you're caring for your children or loved ones, those things that you are required to do. But making the space for the things that bring you joy and happiness, that became a priority.

Ericka (11:41):

That totally makes sense. And so for the women that are listening to us today, how would you recommend that they stay true to what they may feel like as their out of reach goal? And why is it so important, now that you're kind of on the other side of it, if you will, why is it so important that they join you on that side?

Melissa (11:58):

Yeah, definitely. I think for me, what I did was quiet my mind. I took steps to really relax, breathe, and asked myself, what do I want? And that was, really a turning point for me. What do I want? And a lot of times, and I keep going back to that word "autopilot."

Ericka (12:23):


Melissa (12:23):

But that was my life for so many years. And it was so ingrained in me, daily autopilot. And when I realized what it was that I wanted, that became my focus on something as small as 30 minutes to go outside and take a walk, 15 minutes to make my favorite cup of tea and just sit down and do nothing, you know?

Ericka (12:56):

And isn't that something? And why is it so hard for us to do nothing? But coming back to autopilot, I love that you keep mentioning that because one of my favorite books is by Antonio Neves and it's called "Stop Living On Autopilot." And when I was perusing the book, that stood out to me so strongly, just that title. And so it made me pick it up, because I needed to know how could I break out of my routines, because routines, yes, they're so, so important. But when our routines aren't sparking energy or new life or new interests, maybe it is time to do something a little bit different. And I also love that you say "15 minutes to make your cup of tea." I resonate with that a bit, because I was the Keurig lady. I eat that cup of coffee, first thing in the morning, 30 seconds flat.

Ericka (13:41):

And now I have transitioned into grinding my own beans and steeping those beans. And it's this real ritualistic thing, but what I've come to enjoy, and let me know if it's the same for you, is that taking the time to make a special cup of your choice of beverage? For me, it's coffee. It makes it a little more special. It makes it a little more ritualistic. And it reminds me that I don't need to be urgent in every moment. And it's okay to take some time to indulge and something that I enjoy and I can enjoy it alone. Was that something that you kind of feel when you're steeping your tea?

Melissa (14:17):

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And I think with me and my health coaching routine, that I've just really realized the benefit of tuning into my intuition about what I need for my best self.

Ericka (14:41):


Melissa (14:41):

And taking those 15 minutes and really being intentional, are small acts that can really just be wonderful for our day. ...with me over these last three months, three, four months.

Ericka (15:06):

Yeah. I absolutely love that. And would you say to the listeners that say, "I don't have time, I don't have 15 minutes to steep some tea." What would you say to them to encourage them to give it a try?

Melissa (15:18):

I would say, and this is something that I in the beginning struggled with, but it's a continual reminder that my self care matters, whatever those moments are that bring me peace and ground me are important. Whatever comes to mind for your self-care.

Ericka (15:41):


Melissa (15:41):

They're important and affirm that self, affirm that to yourself daily. And until it becomes a mindset and you're grounded and rooted in it.

Ericka (15:54):


Melissa (15:55):

And I didn't always do that, but it is, I'm grounded in it now.

Ericka (16:00):


Melissa (16:00):

And there's no going back because I see the positive.

Ericka (16:04):

Oh, I like it. I like, she's like, "I'm not turning this around."

Melissa (16:07):


Ericka (16:07):

It's true, isn't it< though? And I love that you say that, that it's a practice, that it has to be affirmed and that it's normal to reject the notion that "I don't have 10 minutes for that." But the reality is that we actually do. And when we're willing to do that, yeah. You don't want to give it up. So I haven't given up, I think it's been over a year for me now of like grinding my own beans and steeping my own beans and frothing my own milk, and just really enjoying that moment in the morning for me, because it's just for me. And I do like that. It just reminds us, we have time and that we're worthy of that time, and that we can indulge for ourselves. So I absolutely, I love I'm not going back either, Melissa.

Melissa (16:47):


Ericka (16:50):

So you have to tell us a little bit more. I want you to do two things please kind of delve into Mel Joy. What can someone expect from that with you? And I'm going to go ahead and make it a twofold question. So maybe you fold it in there as well is what are three of your favorite uncommon self-care routines that you'd like to share with us?

Melissa (17:10):

Yeah. So Mel Joy lifestyle is my baby. It's my heart and soul right now with my journey, and spreading positive messaging around women entering or in their midlife. And I really want women to focus on the fact that aging gracefully is a beautiful thing, and there's beauty beyond age. And I use the word "bloom" a lot. And I just think when we realize that we have so much to give out into the world, and to define what our next chapters are, we're blooming and it's sort of like a renaissance into our midlife. And there's so much that we as women in midlife can do. And I think having conversations around it, resources, workshops, workbooks. So I have a lot of different things that are going on within the website information from like minded women who are in their midlife journey that are sharing their inspiration on my blog that's within the website. And hearing a little bit about their journey and their perception of midlife, and sharing some nuggets out into the universe.

Melissa (18:49):

So that's one of the missions of the Mel Joy Lifestyle is to bring in women who are walking the journey as well. And it's not just my story. It's allowing other women in their journey to have a platform to speak on what they're doing and how they feel. So I'm really excited about opening up, we had our first post back in July and we'll be putting out another one this month. So each month will be a different theme that I'm excited for. And really Mel Joy Lifestyle is about allowing women to shift their mindset, to ensure that they're thriving. And our main goal is to make sure that we're empowering, educating and inspiring women to give theirselves grace and focus on their overall wellbeing so they thrive.

Ericka (19:47):

I love that. So it sounds, I'm hearing community resource and mindset changing. Yeah?

Melissa (19:54):

Yeah. Yes.

Ericka (19:54):

Yeah, fantastic. And it's so important. And the thing is, it's easy to think. Well, I am a full grown adult. I've raised kids, I've had careers, I've been through marriage, all the things, right? Whatever makes us check an adult. I have a home, I have a vehicle, whatever those things are, right? But the thing is is that if we're here on this planet and we're still breathing and we want to have a full life experience, we do need to assess those things. We do need to check back in. We need to check in on our mindset. We need to be inspired by other people that are doing things that maybe are out of our wheelhouse with something we want to experience for ourselves. And I think community is huge, because that's how it supports the process of those things we want to do, experience evolve, expand into. So it sounds like Mel Joy Lifestyle is a wonderful place for people to land. But before I let you go, Melissa, I have to hear it, I have to hear what are three of your favorite uncommon... And if you only have one that's fine too, but something that's uncommon, self-care routine that you would like to share with our listeners?

Melissa (21:02):

I'm trying to think. Uncommon. I think the two that I think of off the top of my head is to stop, breathe and reset. That's one. And the second one is, enjoy my favorite dessert.

Ericka (21:25):

Oh, I'm going to join me on that one. Yay. I love that. And I do think it's important that you bring it up, because that is uncommon. I think so often there's so many people that don't realize they're not even breathing, right? We just keep charging forward and keep doing the things and keep checking the boxes. So I love that you mentioned pausing breathing and kind of reassessing where you're at. Because that sounds so, so simple, but I honestly believe that's very, very uncommon. So thank you for sharing that with us and dessert. That's always welcome when you're talking to me. So that is always welcome. So I love both of those things. Thanks for sharing that. So Melissa, please tell our listeners a little bit more about how they can find out about your community, your services, and connect with you. What's what's a good place for them to go?

Melissa (22:12):

Yeah, definitely. So I'm on Instagram at Mel Joy underscore Lifestyle, and my website is And I just recently started a private a group on Facebook...

Ericka (22:30):


Melissa (22:30):

...for women entering or in midlife. So that's 40 and over and it's called "Bloom, Beauty Beyond Age."

Ericka (22:40):

Oh, I love that. That's wonderful. And I do love that you use the term "bloom" because it does represent growth on growing into something beautiful more often than not. And just to clarify, joy is with an "I" correct? Is it J-O-I?

Melissa (22:52):

Yes. M-E-L-J-O-I lifestyle.

Ericka (22:56):

Okay, perfect. And as we wrap our wonderful conversation today, thank you for sharing all the wonderful things, but I have to ask you before you go, Melissa, how is it that you define zest in your life?

Melissa (23:10):

Oh wow. That's a great question. I think for me is having joy. Joy is a big word for me right now, having joy in my journey of aging, loving me, loving the skin I'm in valuing my voice and my presence and just crossing some things off my bucket list that has been growing over the years that I didn't really take time to focus on. So that's a big zestful moment for me as well.

Ericka (23:45):

I love that. And it sounds like all of it sounds like blooming.

Melissa (23:49):


Ericka (23:51):

I absolutely love that. Well, thank you Melissa. I think you're a real inspiration to start a business at 56, to put yourself in a place where you're connecting and serving women. I think that's fabulous. So thank you for sharing your story today. Thank you for sharing the reminder of stopping to breathe and to reassess where we're at before we move forward. And thank you for just being yourself. It was a joy talking to you.

Melissa (24:15):

Thank you, Ericka. I appreciate the time.

Ericka (24:26):

I appreciate you holding space for these conversations to help you rediscover the essence of who you're capable of becoming, so you can choose to live your life authentically without apology. Want transcripts for this podcast, visit, where you'll also find more resources cultivated to guide you and reprioritizing and redefining yourself for your designed second life journey on The Zestful Movement blog. You can also become part of community, by joining our weekly Essence of Zest newsletter during your visit to this site. Until next time, please do keep it zesty.