Hello SISter in Wellness! In this post we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of menopause. I will turn 50 this year and am currently navigating this challenging phase. Menopause is sometimes still a bit of a tabu, but I think we women are here to help each other. So, I would like to share my experiences and offer some suggestions on how to reduce those pesky symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings and sleep struggles.
Hot Flashes: Dealing with the Heat
Hot flashes, oh boy! They’re like unexpected heatwaves that hit you out of nowhere. One minute you’re enjoying a cup of tea, and the next, you’re sweating buckets like you just ran a marathon. To tackle these uncomfortable episodes, here are a few strategies I’ve found helpful:
- Dress smart: Wear light, breathable fabrics to help you stay cool. Layers are your best friends when it comes to quickly shedding clothing when a hot flash strikes.
- Hydration is key: Keep yourself hydrated by sipping on cool drinks throughout the day, such as (infused) water or herbal iced tea. On the flip side, avoid caffeine and alcohol as they might trigger more hot flashes.
- Chill out: Keep a small portable fan or a cooling towel handy for those moments when you need some instant relief. Trust me, it can be a game-changer!
Weight Gain: Managing the Uninvited Guest
Ah, weight gain, the unwelcome guest that seems to invite itself to the menopause party. It can be frustrating, but fear not, there are ways to manage it:
- Stay active: Engage in physical activities you enjoy, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing. Not only will it help with weight management, but it also boosts mood and overall well-being.
- Mind your plate: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Incorporate healthy fats like avocados and nuts. Stay away from processed foods and excessive sugary treats.
- Strengthen your body: Introduce some strength training exercises into your routine to help maintain muscle mass, which tends to decrease during menopause. Building muscle also helps boost your metabolism!
Mood Swings: The Emotional Rollercoaster
Mood swings, the emotional rollercoaster ride that can leave you feeling like you’re losing control. Here are a few tips to help you steady the ship:
- Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s taking a long bath, reading a good book, or indulging in a hobby, make time for yourself.
- Deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness: When your emotions start to spiral, take a moment to focus on your breath. Deep breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you regain a sense of calm.
- Seek support: Connect with understanding friends, join support groups, or consider talking to a therapist. Sharing your experiences and concerns with others who can relate can provide tremendous comfort. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.
Sleep Struggles: Taming the Restless Nights
Sleep difficulties, the unwelcome companion that often accompanies menopause. From trouble falling asleep to waking up in the middle of the night, it can feel like a never-ending battle. But there are strategies that may help you find some much-needed rest:
- Establish a bedtime routine: Create a relaxing routine before bed to signal your body that it’s time to wind down. It could include activities like taking a bath, self massage, reading, or practicing gentle stretching or meditation.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make your bedroom a tranquil oasis. Ensure the room is cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in comfortable bedding, pillows, and consider using blackout curtains or earplugs if necessary.
- Limit stimulants: Avoid caffeine and large meals close to bedtime. Also, minimize exposure to electronic screens (like smartphones, tablets, and TVs) in the hour leading up to sleep, as the blue light can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques: Explore relaxation methods such as breathing exercises, body scanning (progressive muscle relaxation), or guided meditation. These practices can help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
Final Words of Encouragement
Menopause may not always be a walk in the park, but remember that you are strong and resilient and capable of overcoming these obstacles. Embrace this phase of life as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. By implementing some practical strategies and seeking support, you can make this journey a little smoother.
Take care of yourself, honour your womanhood, and keep shining!
Written by your SISter in Wellness Femke