Menopause- Part 1
This is the first in the Menopause series of blogs I will be sharing this month. This one sets the stage for what’s to come so grab a cup of tea and take a read (or watch the video below) as I explore the ins and outs of the menopausal transition with you today.
Hormonal shifts will start to happen at age 35. Most women notice pretty dramatic changes in their mid-to-late-40’s. Here are some of the concerns I hear from women undergoing hormonal shifts:
- Periods may be shorter, longer, lighter, heavier and change from month to month.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Low libido – this can be upsetting especially if libido was robust earlier in life.
- Weight gain. Have you seemed to gain 5 or 10 pounds overnight? This happens especially in the abdominal area.
- Easily overheated and sweating more than usual?
- Is your hair a frizz ball?
These are all signs that hormones are shifting and your body is beginning to enter menopause.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a life-stage that involves changes in hormone levels. The hormonal changes can be gradual or they can happen all of a sudden. The hormonal shifts can deeply affect your mental, emotional and physical health.
I often hear that a woman doesn’t feel like herself or is wondering where her “old-self” went. This is totally normal as you adjust to the new body that is emerging as a result of the transition.
Menopause is defined as being period-free for a full year. For most women, this occurs between 50 and 55. There can be a long transition to menopause. This transition is referred to as “perimenopause”. Perimenopause includes all and hormonal shifts and concerns that occur before the period actually stops.
We live in a culture that values youth over wisdom. Shifting into this life-stage can be met with inner resistance and grief.
Conversely it can be re-framed to welcome a deeper creative force that can only be achieved through life-wisdom.
It’s a physical and spiritual shift. Menopause is a shift from the role of Mother to the role of Guardian. Joan Borysenko talks about the guardian stage in detail in her book, A Woman’s Book of Life.
The guardian phase occurs between the ages of 42-63. This is a time when a woman comes into her authentic sense of self.
She cares less about what other people think and follows her own beliefs and intuition to create social change.
The guardian phase is fed by creativity and a desire to be of service in the world.
Dr. Borysenko states, “Women feel the most fulfilled by embodying feminine values of community, spirituality, environment, religious tolerance and concern for children and the elderly.”
Women in the guardian years are at the core of making the world a better place for all.
However, menopause symptoms can be a real drag and disrupt daily life. I will cover these later on in this series.
There are other disruptors of daily life that typically occur during this time- career change, empty nest, partial-retirement, increase or decrease to travel, aging parents…you could even be an older mom who is raising children and dealing with hormonal changes at the same time.
Regardless of what is going on in your world there is usually a feeling that starts to emerge, a whisper to do something more.
Many women are re-inventing themselves at this life stage. Examples of this are- Starting a business, ending a long-time career, creating something new that serves the world in a deeper more meaningful way by being of service.
An example is a patient of mine who taught school for 20+ years, she was looking forward to retirement and was already planning her next step. She was sourcing the materials to create art and craft bags to donate to children at the local women’s shelter. She figured out a way to continue to serve children that fit into her next life-stage .
Today’s tips are centered around building an internal environment that meets the needs of this life stage. In the next sessions, I will tackle some of the more annoying physical symptoms, vanity complaints, and deeper health concerns that can show up around this time.
Here Are My 5 Tips for Navigating the New Life-Stage of Menopause.
- Pay attention. If you notice changes that are affecting your moods, sleep, or physical health? Chances are that you need a tune-up at this life stage. Staying on top of emerging concerns allows you to be preventative and in control. Seek out help. Start working with a Naturopathic Doctor or an alternative practitioner who can help you feel your best.
- Start to look at your life and what stressors you can eliminate, or delegate. By the time you get to this life-stage you have supported, worked and encouraged everyone else’s dreams. This is your time. Create boundaries and build a new routine for yourself that allows time to feed your inner creativity. This can be easier said than done especially if you distract yourself with busy work or have allowed yourself to be at everyone’s beck and call. As Marie Forleo says, “It’s high time that you got yourself a first-class ticket on the NO train.”
- Make sleep a priority. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. Sleep allows your body to re-regulate and repair damage that has been caused during the day. Ideal sleep includes getting to sleep by 10:30pm and sleeping for 7-9 hours. If sleep has become difficult be sure to talk to your alternative practitioner about it.
- This is not the time to skimp on good nutrition. Your body needs fresh whole food more than ever now. Fruits, veggies, lots of water, lemon water, green juices, veggie smoothies. These foods help your liver metabolize the shifting hormones and detoxify properly.
- Is there something you always wanted to do? Explore it. Start writing, singing, drawing, riding, volunteering, building. You name it go do it. Take a class, teach a class, help kids, help animals. There is only one you and you have a unique set of gifts that only you can share. You have this one great precious life. Carpe Diem sister!
Like I always say, you become who you hang around so let’s hang out some more. And we’ll help change medicine one person at a time.
(This blog is originally from my Facebook Live Video, you can watch this video HERE)
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