Wow how time flies, it’s already the end of the first quarter of the year. Round this time of year is a great time to take stock of how things are going, especially if being either perimenopausal or menopausal you had certain goals in mind at the beginning of the year regarding your health and wellbeing.
Whichever stage you are in, be it perimenopausal, right smack in the middle of menopause or post menopausal it is very important to do some stock taking of how you are feeling, your mood and mindset, your nutrition, fitness and general wellbeing.
During this confusing time one of the best things I ever did was to create a routine and stick to it. Given that due to hormone changes, symptoms like brain fog, anxiety and overwhelm are all very prevalent, we need all the help we can get, and this is just one way to help ourselves.
A daily programme works because knowing what you have to do, and when, immediately reduces the overwhelm and anxiety, both very common symptoms, which then just leaves the brain fog. Take the time to write out your habitual schedule, be sure to plan in any activities that may pop up, and are extra to your fixed routine, like this even brain fog becomes less of an issue where main tasks of the day are concerned.
You will of course still get the odd scenario where you think of doing something, or go into a room to get something, and as quickly as the idea came it’s forgotten, totally normal just another symptom of this time of your life, don’t stress it, take a deep breath and let it go. Start cultivating a who cares attitude which will do your overall wellbeing a tremendous amount of good. Fixating on things, and perfectionism of any sort have no place in your life at this time.
In terms of nutrition, I get asked all the time “why am I not able to lose weight despite the fact that I’m eating less and doing more exercise”? It all revolves around the same thing, your hormones and metabolism. Depriving your body of the necessary nutrition is only going to make it store fat, around the midsection, because the brain will give a signal to the body that it is in starvation mode. I strongly advocate eating a balanced diet of plant based whole foods. One reason being that fibre is extremely important at this time. Once again routine comes into it, make time to eat. What I mean by making time is that you sit down and calmly eat your meal, savoring and enjoying it, not grabbing something on the run, wolfing it down so as to get onto the next task or appointment. Not taking the time to enjoy a meal plays havoc with the gut biome which in turn disturbs the digestive process which can lead to insulin resistance and weight issues. If you need help with the exact what, when and how of your meals you may be interested in my “Savour Menopause, Nutrition Program”.
The best thing to do at this time is to work with the menopause, believe me when I say if you try to fight it, you will come out the loser. You need to take a good look at what changes can be made going forward which will enhance your quality of life, what it is that will truly give you joy going forward.
It is so important to accept that for a period of time things will be different. During this time is when we can plan how we want the rest of our lives to look like. Personally I have continued to work as much as I ever did, however absolutely not in the same way, now it’s on my terms. I put myself first both my physical and mental needs, which makes life for my family and friends better too. I have also upped my game in terms of keeping my mind active. On the other hand though I have reduced my physical activity in the sense that I no longer put myself through fast paced rigorous training sessions daily because I know that would only send my body into fatigue mode,which is when the nervous system (in this case the adrenals) are stressed out, triggering other unpleasant consequences. A more balanced exercise routine is what the body needs now. Some Aerobic exercise, such as a brisk half hour walk or a bicycle ride, swimming some laps etc, then Core work, probably the best form is Pilates based exercises, three times a week. Stretching and Mobility which help keep the muscles supple and establish good balance should be done on a daily basis. Finally four times a week some Strength training. These together with a good nutrition regime which includes not only the correct food, but some supplements and lots of hydration, is the ideal combination. Especially for this time of life I have created the “Smooth Fitness, Healthy Mind” program.
Last but certainly not least on the checklist is self care. By this I mean, more than at any time in your life this is when you need to take the reigns and hold space for yourself. Become aware of your worth and your needs. Each phase of the menopause has its own unique challenges which needless to say add to the everyday challenges you are already facing, so being able to take time out and assess what it is you are feeling and how best to cope with what’s going on is fundamental.
Acknowledge that you are in a different phase of life, don’t sweep it aside, bring it out into the open and let those around you know you are going through stuff that is new to you, and that you will come out the other side a different person. Surround yourself with people who are understanding and mindful of your situation. There is nothing to be ashamed of! If those around you are not able to help or are not understanding towards what you are dealing with, definitely do not bottle it up and pretend everything is ok. This is your time, you deserve to find the best ways to deal with it irrespective of the needs and wants of others. This is when, the me first, and I don’t give a damn attitude comes in useful, provided you have mastered it, and can do it without guilt.
All too often I have had clients who tried to deny that things are different, they soldier on being everything to everyone, doing the same old things whilst carrying the same load on their shoulders, keeping everything to themselves like a huge and weighty secret, this invariably leads to their world crashing in around them. Why go it alone ? There is no shame in seeking help. As a postmenopausal woman and midlife coach it is my pleasure to help women through this time of their lives with the aim of making it as positive an experience as possible, whilst setting the stage for an enjoyable and joyful future.