The menopause. Does it creep up on us or does it strike out of nowhere? Life is so busy with so many distractions that we may not consciously be aware of the emotional and physical changes that come with the menopause and may one day wake up and think “What has happened? Where did ME go??”, or we may have a slipping feeling just before we fall off the edge … good old Mother Nature. We have to see our link in the chain of life. It’s a chain that keeps adding links to one end and losing them from the other.
Women vary so much in symptoms and the severity of their symptoms, but it is important to learn to accept the changes it brings. We are arriving at a new stage in life and, rather than railing against it, allow yourself to grieve the passing of time. Yes – the menopause can be a grieving experience and we should acknowledge this as with all other life experiences.
Find the right information and help that is available to you so you can choose the treatments and actions that will work for you and your body. Menopause is an individual experience for each of us. Trust your instincts and try different things. Some won’t work for you but some will. Be open to exploring new avenues, especially holistic and natural routes. Make an informed decision about HRT. Explore body identical hormones rather than chemical. The more you can learn the greater your choices become.
Davina MCColl smashed a few taboos with her menopause documentary which you can watch online: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/davina-mccall-sex-myths-and-the-menopause
It’s not always when we are suffering from a lack of motivation, anxiety, brain fog and all those energy sucking symptoms that we have to deal with. This is where we need to hone our survival instincts and find and do the things that we know will help us in the long run. Nothing will change for us if we do nothing to make change. Forcing ourselves to take necessary actions will create a sense of achievement and of being in control. It will be hard at first but the more we do something, the easier it becomes. Respect yourself. Acknowledge your feelings and trust your choices.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by images of the young, beautiful and perfect, it can make the menopause seem even more of a challenge. We may feel left behind and invisible as we get older. Stop – we are not defined by youth. Work out what you need to navigate this stage in your life and concentrate on your inner being. Consider things to enhance you as a person and your inner being.
The menopause doesn’t just affect you, if affects all the people you share your life with. Include them as you transition this time. Talking about your feelings can unravel a lot of confusion and it stops us being misunderstood. When we feel misunderstood or unheard, we can have a tendency to withdraw and bury our emotions. Reaching out to others can open new doors and when we think back to years ago, women would chat over the garden fence, putting the world to rights and solving their problems without actually realising they were. Especially during this time of the pandemic, we have lost these spontaneous and very healing exchanges. Make an effort to talk about how you feel. It can be better than medicine.
It’s ok to spend time on you, particularly during menopause when your energy levels are struggling. Find things that resonate with you that create a sense of self-nurturing without guilt. We women can be so busy and can get used to coming last in the care list when juggling family, work and home. Step back, breathe and do it for your sanity. There are so many things under the self care umbrella – good, natural and wholesome foods; watch alcohol intake; create bathing rituals – I love the Neom de-stress foam bath and candles; grooming, exercise – getting out in nature for a walk is one of the best. Decide to grab the menopause with two hands and make your recovery work!
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in grief and bereavement counselling and is author of practical guide, How to Grieve Like A Champ