Menopause can bring quite a few challenges our way! Having gone through it (although I still get some hot flushes and sleepless nights sometimes) I have found that some things have helped. One thing I know for sure is that stress has a major impact on this time of our lives and can definitely increase any symptoms we might have.
If possible, it's a good time to really make self care a priority. Our self esteem can sometimes take a bit of a hit around the menopause, causing us to feel a bit insecure and to lose the confidence we might once have had, so when we make the time to include some self care in our day, we're actually sending a message to our brain that we care about ourselves, which in turn helps us to feel more positive.
There are definitely things that have helped me a lot and these are just some of them:
1. Aromatherapy would have to be my No. 1 thing and one of the reasons is that it's self care at it's best. We can add an essential oil to a diffuser, take a beautifully relaxing bath or (one of my favourites) apply a daily body oil which not only gives you beautifully soft skin but can also change the way you feel depending on the formula. As well as all of that, it's a really good way to get back in touch with your body as it is now, without being critical or wishing it was any different. There are many Essential Oils that can really help at this time and some of my favourites are Clary Sage for emotional balance and fatigue, Bergamot for nervous anxiety, Geranium for hormonal alance, Peppermint for cooling, Lemon for clarity and Frankincense for deep breathing. Aromatherapists will always give advice on this if you get in touch and can often create a customised blend for your depending on how you are feeling.
2. Self talk. It's quite amazing how often as women, we put ourselves down - either comparing ourselves to others or criticising the way we look. But at this stage of our lives, it's really time to stop it!! We're lucky that we are here and that we've reached this time in our lives, so it really is time to make the most of it. There's only one way to stop negative self talk and that's not to do it and the way to do that is to get into the habit of realising when we do it and stop immediately and say something nice to ourselves instead. So if when you're looking in the mirror and notice something that you're not happy with and you're about to think or say something negative about yourself - don't and pay yourself a compliment instead. It's quite amazing that if you do this and get into the habit of doing this, you'll feel quite differently about yourself quite quickly.
3. Mindfulness. There is quite a bit of research being done about the connection between mindfulness and a reduction in hot flushes, mild anxiety and insomnia. It can also help to reduce stress and for many of us who might have a thousand different things going on our heads at any one time (sound familiar?), it's a great way to be able to focus on one thing which in turn helps us to feel more relaxed and at peace. Mindfulness is really about being in the moment, it's not to try and empty the mind (which can be really difficult) but to just observe things without judgement and pay attention to your feelings and thoughts. Even 5 minutes can make a really big difference to your stress levels and it's a great tool to use if you happen to wake in the night. Just relax and focus on your breathing, or any sensations in your body or if you're sitting down how you're being supported by the chair you're sitting on or if you're sitting down, feel your feet being supported by the ground. Just observe and feel without judgement. If your mind wanders onto other things, that's perfectly normal, just bring it back to the breathe which is your centre.
4. Remind yourself that you're never too old. This is is favourite of mine because it is how I like to live my life. The reality is that if we're lucky, we are now living until a later age and if there's a dream or a goal that is still inside you, now is a good a time as ever to bring it out and start on it. You never know where it might take you. It might not end up being the same dream that you had 20 years ago but that's ok because you're a different person now. If there's something in you that you've always wanted to do, there's a reason for that and you owe it to yourself to make a start. It doesn't have to be a huge thing but starting often shows you whether it's something you still want or it might lead you in a completely different direction. One of the best bits of advice I ever heard on getting older was from a lady in her 90s who once told me 'you get to 50 or 60 and think you're too old to do so many things and then you get to 90 and realise you were just a baby!).
5. Exercise. More than ever, exercise is so important and something that I feel we need to include in our life each and every day when we get older, even more so than when we were young. It's not my area of expertise and there are many experts out there so I'll leave it to them, but for me personally, I exercise in some way almost very single day and if for some reason I haven't been able to, I really notice it and miss it. I think the thing is to find something that you love. Personally, I'm not a gym person but I love walking, swimming and dancing. If I put some favourite music on and dance away for 30 minutes or so, it completely changes my energy and my mindset. Some days if I haven't slept well or I'm feeling tired, I don't want to do it but without a doubt I feel so much better afterwards. It's great for the whole body, mind and skin!
Above all, be kind to yourself - spoil yourself a little and please seek some help if you need to. There are many professionals out there who can help. Take care, Audra xx
Disclaimer - Information in this post is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please see your health professional with any concerns you may have.