Can you have a positive menopause? Being told to ‘cheer up’ when you’re feeling low can feel like the absolute worst advice. It’s not as simple as slapping a smile on your face and carrying on. In fact, masking your true feelings makes things a whole lot worse. It’s so important that you address what is going on inside. Here are my top tips and tricks for making simple – but authentic changes to the way you are feeling.
1. Think Positive
Research shows that positive thinking is linked to better health, and that doesn’t exclude the menopause! Positive energy attracts positive energy. The more you look for it, the more you will see it. It’s training for your mind. Positive thinking will help you to manage stress and deal with any negative expectations – and that can help you to cope with your symptoms. Try to surround yourself with people who will bring out your positive emotions too.
An exercise to do is writing down your negative thoughts and then flipping it to a positive way of seeing it. You will soon get used to this and be able to catch your thoughts in action. If you actively work at being positive, it’ll become easier and easier.
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude.” Viktor Frankl
2. Take time for the things you enjoy
What things do you love doing for yourself? These don’t have to be things you do alone, they could be activities with friends and family. It’s so important to remind ourselves of the things we love and make time for them. I love to sing, I always make time for some sort of singing in my life and I know I struggle when it’s not a part of my routine.
Write a list of all the things you enjoy, how often you’re doing them now and how often you’d like to be doing them. Identify why you’re not doing these things as often as you’d like – are there things you need to prioritise?
Take a bath, walk in the woods, call a friend, finish the book, learn something new. The opportunities are endless. Many women see menopause as time for change – new career, new home, new life. A friend of mine is training to be a teacher at 46 and another has gone back to university to study to be a midwife.
“To live a different kind of life, you have to start living by your own rules and rediscover what you want for yourself.” Suzy Greaves
3. Manage those low feelings
We all feel low at times and during the menopause these feelings are often augmented. Analysing why you are feeling the way you do can help you understand and take action. Are you angry with someone or something in your life? Try journalling about how you feel and why often helps. Identify what isn’t working in your life? Can you change it? What actions do you need to take?
“The key to happiness includes self-acceptance, self-image and the ability to understand and embrace sadness” Robert Holden, The Happiness Project
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You are not on your own! Talk with your partner, talk with your friends. Find a support group of other women going through the same thing. If you’re struggling or worried about any aspects of your health, talk to your GP. Go prepared with lots of information on what you are dealing with so you can decide on the best course of action together. Use our What’s my Body Trying to Tell Me? to track your symptoms.
“When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of “ME TOO!” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe!” Nanea Hoffman
5. Manage your stress levels
At this time in our lives we have a lot to deal with – work, kids, relationships, kids leaving home, ageing parents, teenagers, social media, email, internet, hot flashes, fatigue, our changing bodies etc. It’s no wonder we’re so exhausted.
How do women going through the menopause balance everything that’s going on in their life alongside their menopause symptoms?
We often hide it. This means we limit our focus to only the essentials. We might be able to keep going at work but completely let go of our social lives and leave the things that feed our passion and bring us joy. Now is the time for us to be a little selfish. What do we need? What do we want out of life? Learn more about managing stress in our recent blog Stress – Why We Must Tackle This Today!
“… the perimenopausal lifting of the hormonal veil – the monthly cycle of reproductive hormones that tends to keep us focused on the needs and feelings of others – can be both liberating and unsettling” Dr Christine Northrup
It’s easy to think that meditation isn’t for you: perhaps you don’t feel you relax easily and you don’t know where to start or how to do it. Mindset and mental well-being play such a crucial part in managing our menopause. Meditation can be a real help. If you’ve not done it before, it really is worth trying. Read my story on what happened when I tried meditation – Why Should I Try Meditation
“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.” David Lynch
7. Make time to laugh
They say “laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. It’s so important we find time for joy and laughter. Spend time with people that make you laugh, watch feel-good comedy films and programmes – find time to laugh.
“That ability to laugh at myself takes me from being a victim to a victor” Annie Keys
8. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness gets a lot of air time at the moment but is it just the latest fad? What do we actually mean by being in the moment? I was at a really interesting talk about depression and anxiety recently and they made mindfulness make sense. Imagine you have 3 pieces of paper on the table in front of you. The one to your left is the past, the one in the middle is the present and the one to your right is the future. Depression is normally associated with feelings from our past, anxiety is normally associated with worries about our future. Being in the present, being mindful and spending more time on that middle piece of paper can really help us move away from depression and anxiety.
“Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
9. Reconnect with nature
Get outside every day. Where possible stand with bare feet on the ground. Feel the sun on your face or the rain on your skin. Fresh air and nature are some of the best ways to naturally heal how we are feeling.
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere” Vincent Van Gough
10. Walk your mind positive
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for your mind. Firstly it gets you outside, it gives you time to breathe, time to think as well as time to rest your mind. It has been proven that walking daily can support your mental and physical well-being. Start small, even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. You can combine this with being mindful or talking by walking with a friend.
You know yourself best and you know what makes you happy – go easy on yourself and set yourself some realistic goals and boundaries. There will be days when you don’t feel so good and that’s ok. Positivity can really make the whole of your menopause much more manageable overall. For more tips and support, come and join the conversation in our online community where you can chat with other like-minded women: