So many women go through perimenopause (or even post-menopause) feeling like they’re just along for the ride, that their lives are out of their control.
I beg to differ.
You are in control and your mindset can make the difference.
You can choose to be the victim or the hero. You can choose to wallow in self-pity or rise above it. The choice is always yours.
I was reminded the other day about a woman I met at a conference years ago. She raised her hand and asked a question. The moderator, in return, asked her some very hard questions that stumped her. It was apparent that she was uncomfortable.
Afterward, I went up to her and asked if she was ok and she said “Yes, it’s ok. I decided I’m never going to let that happen again.”
I said, “What do you mean, what are you going to do?”
She said “Nothing. I just decided I’m never going to let that happen again.”
Curious about her confidence I asked again how or what she was going to do. And she said simply “I decided and that’s it.”
“Oh, ok.” I said. And walked away, thinking “Okeeee?”. Not really understanding what she meant.
A few years later I understood.
From a very young age, I had a deep fear of the water. I learned to swim but it was never fun for me. It was a task. I could swim from one end of the pool to the other, and I could float on my back but if I had to stop in the middle of the deep end, I would freak out.
I couldn’t just ‘be’ in the water.
Swimming in a lake or ocean was out of the question. There are no ends or sides to hang on to.
When my son was taking swim lessons, I took the opportunity to get in the water too. I knew I had to get over my fear. And so I literally would just to go the deep end and try to tread water. Try to just ‘be’ in the water.
The fear was always so present. The pool always felt so FULL. Does that even make sense? I felt like the water was just going to rise over my head and swallow me.
But every week I tried. I’d let go of the side of the pool and move my arms and legs but to no avail. I couldn’t last more than 2-5 seconds without reaching for the safety of the side again.
Then one day, as I was walking to the pool, I decided that I was safe in the water. I decided that the water was at the perfect level. I was safe. I repeated that to myself as I walked to the deep end.
I got in, took a couple of slow deep breaths, and let go.
And almost like magic, I was calmly treading water almost as if I had been doing it my whole life.
It was really that simple.
Well, I mean, it was and it wasn’t. It didn’t just jump in the pool and hope for the best. I had put a lot of work into it up to this point. I had countless swim lessons. I had spent hours in the pool. The only missing part was my mindset.
The Choice Is Always Yours
Now, I’m not suggesting that if you decide you don’t want perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes, heavy periods, or weight gain anymore, everything will clear up like magic.
No, what I am suggesting is that if you decide you are going to make choices from a place of power, not powerlessness, things will shift. The more these choices are based on what you’ve learned through educating yourself AND the open dialogue you have with your body, the more you will begin to see your perimenopause symptoms disappear.
But where do you start?
A lot of women immediately think that they need to jump to the Pill or other hormone replacement therapies as their starting point.
But before you do, first take a look at your big picture because this is what sets the foundation for your perimenopause experience.
Consider these three big picture factors:
- what foods you put in your body
- who surrounds you
- what thoughts you feed yourself.
There is no one right way to eat during perimenopause, but there are some general guidelines that can help. Remember every woman is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Experimentation and listening to your body are keys to finding what works best for you.
Here are some things to consider:
- Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Getting enough protein
- Limiting processed foods and sugary drinks
- Staying hydrated
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and protein will ensure that you are getting the nutrients needed for optimal hormone production.
Avoiding processed foods that tend to contain harmful fats and sugars will mitigate the amount of inflammation you introduce in your body through food and this will do a lot to prevent symptoms from popping up.
Staying hydrated will ensure you are getting oxygen and nutrients to your cells.
The people in your life can have a big impact on how you experience perimenopause. This is all about relationships. Strong healthy relationships will nourish you. Unhealthy relationships will cause stress and deplete you.
The adrenals produce not only your stress hormones but also a small percentage of your sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. As your hormone production in the ovaries begins to diminish, the supply of sex hormones produced in the adrenals becomes increasingly important. And so stress can have an even more pronounced effect on your hormone balance.
Cortisol is the stress hormone produced in your adrenals that is released in response to stress. The more cortisol your adrenals produce the less raw material there will be to produce estrogen and progesterone. Additionally, too much cortisol affects sleep, blood sugar, and insulin, among other things, and these have a negative effect on your reproductive hormones.
In contrast, oxytocin is the love hormone. Your body produces more of it when you hug, cuddle, and/or hang out with friends. Oxytocin offsets cortisol which helps dampen the effects of cortisol.
Strong healthy relationships will help build oxytocin. Unhealthy relationships will produce cortisol. The result is more balanced hormones.
What you think has a big impact on how you feel. It is important to be mindful of the thoughts you are feeding yourself.
Staying in negative thoughts is the equivalent of staying in a fight or flight response. This leads to chronic stress and heightened cortisol levels.
Positivity, on the other hand, helps to promote relaxation. This allows your body to heal and repair. It also helps to reduce inflammation. In other words, positivity is good for your mind and body!
Shifting your focus to positive thoughts can be anything from gratitude for the good things in your life to simply enjoying the moment you are in.
Perimenopause is a time of transition and change. It can be a challenging time for many women, but by considering these three factors – food, people, and thoughts – you can help make the journey a little bit easier.
Remember you are the hero of your menopause story, not the victim.
Remember you are the hero of your perimenopause story, not the victim.
You are the chooser of your story. You have a choice every day about what foods you put in your body, who surrounds you, and what thoughts you feed yourself.
Looking for relief from peri-menopause symptoms this holiday season?
Join me Saturday, Nov 19 at 9 am for Hot Flash Relief Masterclass!
This class is designed to provide you with simple, easy to implement techniques that will help reduce the intensity and frequency of your hot flashes.
You’ll learn about:
– The many causes of hot flashes
– Simple breathing techniques to calm your nervous system
– Foods and essential oils that can help alleviate hot flashes
– And more
So why suffer through the holidays when you can enjoy them symptom-free? Register now and see you Saturday!