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The ME in Menopause

Menopause, it's a word that starts with "ME," and boy, does it ring true! This journey is as personal and one-of-a-kind as it gets for every woman out there. When you stop and think about it, menopause can span a significant portion of our lives (from a third to one half of our lives). That's why it's high time we prioritize ourselves and embrace this journey with open arms. It's all about you—your body, your symptoms, your choices—because, let's face it, this journey is about your life and no one else's.

Lately, I've given considerable thought to my personal journey through menopause, as well as the conversations I've had with other women. When we share our stories, a few recurring themes emerge:

  1. Profound "aha" moments: It's astonishing how often I've heard women say, "I never realized that..."

  2. Dealing with fear, shame, and a lack of confidence and self-esteem: These emotions often take center stage during discussions.

  3. Frustration stemming from the inadequate information provided by some healthcare professionals regarding menopause.

  4. Anxiety caused by the delicate balance of managing work, home, and the needs of aging parents.

  5. Grief experienced as we find ourselves in the middle place, with children leaving home, careers evolving, retirement approaching, friendships changing, and loved ones moving away.

  6. Exhaustion resulting from the symptoms of menopause, which can be incredibly draining.

  7. A sense of loneliness, as if we are navigating this journey on our own.

Does any of this resonate with you?

I understand completely. I'm right there with you, going through this journey myself. Personally, I've already reached the post-menopause phase, having transitioned early. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. None of my friends were in the same boat, and I had no clue what was happening to my body. The irony is that I've been working in the field of menstrual health and sexual reproductive health for years, yet I failed to recognize my own symptoms as perimenopause. That's the problem. No one is talking about it. It's time we start discussing the things that are often left unspoken! We need to educate ourselves, arm ourselves with knowledge, and empower ourselves to advocate for better health and thrive during this stage of life.

Let's remember that menopause starts with "ME" – and with you too!

So, what does it look like to put ME first?

I've noticed that this can be a somewhat uneasy territory for numerous women. Embracing radical self-care isn't something we're accustomed to. However, it's precisely what we need to prioritize if we want to not just endure but truly flourish during the most remarkable years of our lives. Just like on an airplane, where we're advised to put on our own oxygen masks first, taking care of ourselves becomes essential for our well-being and success.

Here's a list of radical self-care tips to help prioritize your well-being:

  1. Prioritize "me" time: Carve out dedicated time each day or week to focus solely on yourself and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

  2. Set boundaries: Learn to say no to commitments and obligations that drain your energy and take away from your self-care.

  3. Practice self-compassion: Be kind and gentle with yourself, embracing imperfections and treating yourself with the same understanding and forgiveness you would offer to a loved one.

  4. Nourish your body: Eat a balanced, nutritious diet that fuels your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. And remember, your nutrition needs may change as your hormones fluctuate.

  5. Move your body: Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy, whether it's walking, strength training, yoga, or any other form of exercise that makes you feel good. Did you know that yoga is one of the best practices for calming the mind, strengthening your muscles, stretching and connecting with your breath, which taps into your parasympathetic nervous system? If you're just starting out, give gentle, hatha or restorative yoga a try.

  6. Get enough sleep: Prioritize quality sleep by establishing a bedtime routine and creating a sleep-friendly environment that promotes restful sleep. Many women find it difficult to sleep during the menopause transition. If this is the case, consider taking magnesium, using essential oils and cooling the temperature in your room to help with night sweats.

  7. Cultivate mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling into your routine to foster self-awareness and reduce stress. Focusing on extended exhales when breathing is especially helpful in reducing anxiety and stress and a great way to relax & cool your body during hot flashes.

  8. Connect with nature: Spend time outdoors, whether it's taking walks in nature, gardening, or simply enjoying the fresh air and sunlight.

  9. Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals when you need guidance, encouragement, or a listening ear. Our team at Wholistic Women's Wellness can help to guide you.

  10. Engage in hobbies and passions: Dedicate time to activities that bring you fulfillment and allow you to express your creativity and interests.

Keep in mind that radical self-care is all about unapologetically prioritizing your needs and well-being. It's about finding what works best for you and discovering what truly rejuvenates and uplifts your spirit. Menopause is a highly individual journey, and our needs during this transition are unique to each of us. As you navigate through this transformative phase, my heartfelt wish is that you value and prioritize your needs. By doing so, you'll be able to embrace the journey with joy and find fulfillment along the way.

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