I’m menopausal. No secret there.
I wouldn’t call it a total blast. But I wouldn’t call it sucky either. To be honest, the years before menopause were probably worse with periods of Biblical flood proportions. Until I learned what I know now.
Menopause is a journey. Indeed, my whole life in hormones has been one big, fat journey.
And I have learned. A Lot. So here are my 7 top tips on dealing with the menopause journey. To stay at least half-way sane. Keep a smile on your face most of the time. And to avoid the scary rollercoaster of a ride.
AND IMPORTANTLY to help end the snickering and eye-rolling that sometimes goes with the word “menopause”.
Read on my Menopause Mavens …
#1 Be Loud and Proud.
I want to start with a biggie.
Menopause is not a taboo. Nothing shameful about it.
Let’s break the silence. End any stigma.
Be loud. And proud. On your menopause journey.
I now proudly whip out a rather fetching fan when I get hot in public places. Very Downton Abbey in the early days.
Anyway, I’m constantly surprised by the number of people – younger women included – who don’t really understand what the menopause journey is. What the signs are. How it affects women. What we can do to help manage our symptoms and carry on with our valuable, productive, wild and precious lives.
YES society and media, we women in our 40s, 50s and older ARE valuable. We are useful. Productive. Eminently employable. Experienced and mature. Still attractive. Not invisible.
We matter. More than that, we’re freakin’ marvellous!
But menopause does affect us. Just like puberty does. Or pregnancy.
And it affects women in different ways. We are all unique and special. And deserve to be treated that way.
It’s not a joke either. Any woman who has experienced hideous hot flushes, memory lapses, anxiety, hair loss and more will tell you that. It’s. Just. NOT. Funny.
No-one laughs at a pregnant woman – why would anyone laugh at a menopausal one?
Society and the media accept – even embrace – pregnant women. Why not menopausal ones? We work with the fact a woman is pregnant and rightly so. We don’t discriminate. The same should be true in menopause.
You heard it from me all you partners, family, friends, employers, coworkers, neighbours of Menopause Mavens.
Let’s join voices. We all need to help educate people about what the menopause journey is and what it means to women. Otherwise they may continue to snigger or misunderstand.
BUT, girls let’s admit it’s not a medical condition.
#2 Don’t See It As A Medical Condition
It’s my opinion that we medicalise everything these days and we shouldn’t.
Menopause is a life stage. A transition. Part of the cycle of a women’s life. The menopause journey. Just like puberty. If you’re unlucky, it also includes the spots.
Both do strange things to your body, emotions and mind. But they’re not diseases or medical conditions. We’re not ill.
And that’s a good thing. It’s normal. Totally natural.
You only need to visit your doctor if you want confirmation through tests that your symptoms are menopausal. Or if you have symptoms that persist, get much worse or worry you, go to the doctors. You’re not wasting their time
Modern medicine has developed medications to relieve menopause symptoms. It’s personal choice to go down that route.
I always urge women to check up before they decide on any medication, procedure or treatment.
What is the treatment? What’s it made from (HRT can remade from pregnant mares’ urine for example)? Who was it tested on and how? How long is it safe to use? What are the benefits? And risks? The common and not-so-common side effects? What can I do myself to relieve my symptoms? What other options are there?
Then decide, what’s right for you.
And if it’s not a medical condition, should your employer allow “sick days” for it?
My view is that employers should enable their menopausal workers to function well in the workplace…just like everyone else. That might mean flexible working, the option to do some work from home, providing information, access to coaching or occupational health ….whatever is suitable for that employment.
That relies on us explaining our situation to our employer (see #4) and employers being equipped to handle it well and with empathy.
No need to retire early … unless you really want to and can, of course
#3 Help Yourself
I’m a firm believer in self-care. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary for you and all the people that rely on you to help and support them. You can’t give from an empty cup, lady.
So let’s take care of ourselves on the menopause journey. Take responsibility for our own health and wellness – physical, emotional and mental – as far as we can.
There are lots of changes we can make to diet and lifestyle that make a big difference to symptoms. We really can make a difference to our hot flushes, muffin top, hair, dryness, mood swings , sex drive, memory issues …
Click the links for my top tips on taking care of yourself naturally, at home.
Complementary therapies and treatments can also really help.
I have really helped myself with diet and lifestyle changes and natural therapies. I have really helped women through my online courses. And through 1-1 coaching.
I’ve also helped myself by not reading and buying into the claptrap peddled by glossy mags and other media. You know the stuff.
Photoshopped images of young women in clothes that hardly anyone can afford, skateboarding whilst on their period, kissing impossibly beautiful men (they’ll make such cute babies), whilst holding down a dream job that pays a gazillion dollars a year AND travelling the world. Oh and I forgot the good deeds. Gahhhhhhhhhhh.
Helen Mirren and Diane Keaton are MY role models. Women even older than me. Strong. Attractive. Working. Warm. Clever. Funny.
#4 You Are Not Alone.
There are millions of us! We’re everywhere…mwah ha ha ha ha ha
Find your tribe of Menopause Mavens. Gather with your friends and talk about it – share! Join online forums and follow pages to get support, encouragement and good quality information. Hint: this blog has lots of fab tips and so does my Facebook feed!
Talk to your partner. Your family. In a constructive way. Don’t blame them for your crazy moods or getting (literally) hot under the collar. Help them understand what help and support you need from then as you navigate the menopause journey. Explain the changes you’re going through and how it affects you.
They are not mind-readers. Or well versed in the ways of the menopausal Miss.
Tell your employer. It shouldn’t be embarrassing for either of you. You’re just going through a life stage. They should be equipped to deal with the whole gamut of stuff their employees might face OR have access to experts who do and can advise them.
Make sure your close colleagues know. When they know, they can empathise and support. If they don’t know, they can’t. If they know and still laugh and roll their eyes, they’re idiots. Fact.
#5 Look On The Brightside
Yup. There is always a brightside.
Menopause is often talked about in terms of loss or lack. Lack of periods. Mourning of childbearing years. Lost youth. Even lamenting an empty nest.
And I do get that IS those things and we need to find ways to work through that for ourselves, if those things come up for us.
It is possible to change we way we look at things and feel better about menopause. The link shows a great guest blog on moving your menopause mindset.
It’s not just about loss really, it’s about gain.
New beginnings. Freedoms. Opportunities. And we have the maturity and experience to make the most of them. Maybe we didn’t have that when we were younger.
In many cultures, menopause is celebrated as a rites of passage. It’s when women become respected and trusted wise women. Mature women are revered.
And heck, 50 is the new 30. Well, it is if we make it so.
Plus there’s always laughter. I wiggle my finger at anyone who laughs at someones else’s hot flush. Doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at our own, eh? If we choose.
Or follow someone genuinely funny, like The Mentalpause. Always raises a snigger here.
That should help you get through the menopause journey laughing. Just be careful you don’t laugh so hard a little pee comes out. *winks*
P.S. If you love my menopause blogs and tips, sign up for my Free e guide 10 Tips To Reduce Hot Flushes Naturally below.