Making the menopause work for you
We hear so much about what the menopause can be like from friends, family, and the media, and not all of the information that comes through is positive. We are moving into an age where we can talk more about what we think and feel, and discuss sensitive issues more frankly; we can, therefore, benefit from supporting each other through this next phase in our lives.
Menopause comes from Greek and means 'the end of monthly cycles'. As we are living longer nowadays, we generally go through the menopause just over halfway through our lives. I think it feels more like a 'new phase of life' rather than an ending.
10 top tips to make the menopause work for you
1. Eat organic
If we are looking to increase our healthy lifestyle, then eating organic whenever possible benefits our body, as we are putting many fewer toxins in. If you can't always get organic, it is worth Googling the 'clean 15'. These are veggies that you can get away with eating if they are not organic, as either fewer pesticides are used, their skins are thicker, or insects don't like them (particularly asparagus!).
2. Reduce alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar
As we enter the world of 'hot flushes', which I prefer to call 'power surges', it is worth having a go at reducing the amount of alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar you have in your diet. Try and see if it makes a difference in how you feel. Often after having a coffee or a glass of wine, we can feel the 'power surges' more intensely. There are some lovely herbal teas, non-alcoholic drinks (I like Three Spirit drinks), and coconut sugar which can be used as a helpful alternative.
3. Move it
We can feel fatigued and, ironically, the more exercise we do, the more energy we have. I started belly dancing 16 years ago and find that combining this with yoga, pilates, and walking is a really fun way to keep moving. Find the form that you like best and do at least 20 mins a day if you can - regular and often keeps you feeling more like yourself and helps combat the fatigue.
4. Cool it down
If we are finding hot flushes are having a negative impact then there are a range of cooling drinks that can be helpful. Have an experiment with finding your favourite. I find coconut water (in moderation) great, as it hydrates and also has a cooling effect. Don't forget to pack a cold drink for when you are out and about.
5. Layer up
One of the real benefits at this time of life can be the fact that you may need less central heating and fewer jumpers. If you wear layers, then you can adjust how you feel as the day goes on and enjoy wearing more strappy clothes which can look cool. Cotton and natural fabrics are a bonus if you are perspiring.
6. Treat yourself and have time to yourself
As our hormones change then so too can feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. This gives you a reason to be extra compassionate to yourself, so don't forget to give yourself some treats. A massage, a yoga session, or acupuncture, for example, can be really helpful to ensure you get some 'me time' and treat yourself. It is worth letting people around you know if you need some alone time.
7. Share it
It can be helpful to talk to others who have been or still are going through similar symptoms, and although we are all different, talking through your feelings can be a great relief. If we are going to have red cheeks or suddenly need to take off a layer, then it can be a good idea to share this with others. Using the phrase 'just having a power surge' around people we are comfortable with can be helpful! It is a normal phase of life after all.
8. Clean sleep
As hormones change, some women find that sleep patterns change. There is a wealth of information on clean sleep which can be helpful. This means that before we go to bed, we use some helpful habits to calm our body down in preparation for sleep. We can avoid caffeine, dim the lights, and focus on our breathing as a way to help get us in the zone for sleep. Turn off our mobile phone, try out some calming herbal tea, and think to ourselves 'relax'. If we wake in the night, rather than worrying about not getting back to sleep, try to do some mindfulness practise by letting thoughts come in and then letting them go again.
9. Communicate with a partner
As we go through body changes, it can mean that things feel different, and we can find erogenous zones are altered. We might need to use lubrication, and it can be a time of rediscovering what we want in the bedroom. It is really helpful to communicate with a partner if we are in a relationship, and take this opportunity to take more time for you both to enjoy yourselves!
10. Create a new you
My final tip is to see yourself as a wonderful individual. There are a wealth of benefits as we move into a new phase of our lives when we have a wealth of life experience behind us, and it is time to celebrate this!