What I Wish I’d Known About The Menopause …
Well, what an interesting year 2018 was. Starting a new business whilst in the midst of my peri-menopause journey has definitely made for an interesting time. Over the year, as our community has built, there has been a lot of discussion about the most surprising and unknown aspects of the menopause, so here are the top 9:
1) Hot flushes and night sweats can be brutal!
My understanding of these before I learned, studied and coached with 1000s of women was that there would be some discomfort and embarrassment but I had no idea of the physical and emotional impact these could have on a woman. For some women they may have 40-50 per day/night and this has a huge impact on their quality of like.
- Track your triggers
- Think about clothing
- Practical tactics – fans, cool water, staying hydrated, room temperature
- Consider HRT Knowledge is power
2) Knowledge is power
Many of my clients and friends have arrived in peri-menopause with very little or no understanding of what was happening. We are still not well-educated on menopause and have very little awareness until we’re suddenly facing a myriad of symptoms wondering if we’re completely losing our mind. So many from our community say, “I wish I knew …”, “I wish I was prepared …”
- Learn from other women – being part of a supportive community of women going through the same thing makes such a huge difference. If you’re not already a member – join here …
- Read up, speak with your GP (if they don’t give you the right support, see if you can speak to another GP)
- Make sure your body is prepared
3) Make sure your body is prepared
I liken going through the menopause as taking a big withdrawal from your health and well-being bank account. If you think of your health and well-being as your current account, over many years as women we keep withdrawing – work, family, stress, lack of sleep, not enough time to exercise or eat well, constant dieting etc. We just keep on withdrawing and end up overdrawn. Then the menopause hits and it feels like we’ve gone bankrupt – nothing works. Imagine if you’d spent the years leading up to and the years in early peri-menopause building up your health savings. If menopause hits and you really look after yourself it can have a hug benefit on how symptoms affect you.
- Putting your health and well-being as a priority should be essential
- You need to continually build up your health savings so you can cope with whatever menopause throws at you
4) Love Yourself
Your body is amazing and you are amazing. It’s so easy to focus on what we haven’t done, haven’t got, what we get wrong or where we haven’t succeeded. All of these negative beliefs about ourselves will not help as you work through this transition. One of the huge positives many clients have found as they’ve gone through the menopause is a feeling of acceptance. They accept who they are, they accept their body and the make a decision to focus on themselves – what do they what, what makes them happy and decide on their next steps from a place of self-love.
- Write down why you love your body
- Each day focus on everything your body does for you
- Remind yourself how awesome you are every single day
5) The Emotional Impact of the Menopause and Why Positivity is Key
How do you feel about the menopause? Before I started studying and learning about menopause I was like everyone else, I saw it as a negative word, a sign of getting older and something to feel bad about. But this doesn’t need to be the case. Menopause can be a time where you move forward in a positive way, you let go of the things you should have let go years ago, you embrace the journey and you start to get excited about what next.
I had no real understanding of the emotional impact the menopause could have. I’ve seen clients battle with depression and anxiety that have had a huge impact on their life. They’ve been incredibly brave, battling their way through and coming out the other side stronger and ready for the next chapter of their life.
- What are your associations with the word menopause? How can you change these to positives?
- Work on your mindset – this is your best tool in managing your way through the menopause
- Be kind to yourself and recognise if menopause is having a negative affect on your mental health. It is very common but often not discussed. Seek the right help and support and know you will come through the other side.
6) I’m not too young
How many times have clients said their GP has dismissed their symptoms because they are “too young” to be menopausal in their opinion. The average age for women reaching menopause in the UK is 51. Peri-menopause (the bit leading up to reaching menopause) can last for 5-7 years, so there are many of us in our early- to mid-forties going through symptoms.
- If your GP is dismissive, arm yourself with lots of information or see if you can find another GP
7) HRT is not the devil’s work
Again, before studying menopause and working with 1000s of women I was adamant when I reached menopause there is no way I’d go on HRT. I’d read all the headlines and why would I consider a drug which gives you cancer? Turn forward many months and lots of research I now know the headlines don’t tell the whole truth. The truth is HRT has been developed to support women who are really struggling with menopause symptoms. Women who’s quality of life is so bad that without HRT they sometimes feel like they can’t go on. Yes, there are some risks as there are with many drugs and for some women HRT isn’t an option or for some women HRT isn’t something they want to consider. However, for many women it is a life-saver and women should not feel guilty about making this choice if it is the right thing for them.
- Do your research and learn the actual FACTS about HRT not the sensationalised headlines
- Talk to your GP, they do want to help you and if you can find a GP you can work in partnership with they can be a huge support through your journey with HRT if you decide this is the right treatment option for you.
8)What goes into your body makes a real difference
Generally, we all know we should be eating well, nourishing our bodies with a good, well-balanced diet. Drinking lots of water and trying to cut down on caffeine, alcohol and process sugar. However, during menopause this is critical. The phrase “You are what you eat” has real meaning when it comes to the menopause. Fuel your body well and it can only help manage your symptoms and how you feel.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and really think about this as a way of looking after yourself and prioritising your well-being
- Menopause is not the time for crazy diets – these can seriously mess with your hormones when they are already on a roller-coaster
- Hydration is key – drinking enough water is the basis for everything working better
- It’s all about balance – lose the guilt, if you have a treat, enjoy it and then move on, menopause is a time for letting go and not beating yourself up.
9) Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help
You are not on your own. Millions of women are going through the menopause so please know you are not on your own and there is help and support out there.
If you haven’t already, come and join our incredibly supportive private community on Facebook: Menopause – advice, tips, support and friendship
- Talk to your family/partner/friends – they can’t help if they don’t know what’s going on. If you don’t know where to start, share our website and let them read some of the information about what’s going on
- If menopause is affecting you at work – speak out – don’t suffer in silence. Your workplace should be supporting you and you have rights – if you need more support on this check out our sister website www.menopauseclubforbusiness.com
- Talk to your GP or health professional – they are there to help – we have lots of information about gaining support from your GP – Blog post: How To Get The Right Support From Your GP