What comes to mind when you hear the word menopause, perimenopause and post-menopause? Old age, becoming old? Illness? Goddess time? Rebirth? Renew? Another female time? Hot flashes? Mood issues? What about self-care?
What if you could use self-care or self-loving activities, to combat some of the most common perimenopause symptoms and develop a more loving relationship with our bodies. During this special time we for sure need an extra dose of self-care. Self-care can come in many forms. The activities I suggest here are to address some of the worst premenopausal and menopausal symptoms and they are easy, cheap, and fun.
Do a happy list
What activities make you happy? Do you like to paint, to sing, to sew, to garden, to ….? Think back to your childhood and develop a list of the activities that make you happy. This is for you, not for anybody else; it doesn’t matter if your kids or partner don’t like them. The cheesy phrase “do more of what makes you happy” is true and effective.
Pick some of them and try to do them. You have to write them down on your calendar and make them happen. If money is an issue, look for cheaper ways; if time is an issue, look for shorter activities; if energy level is an issue, try less tiring activities.
How will this help you? It increases good hormones and lowers stress. Less stress is less hot flashes and more sleep. Good hormones is more energy and happiness, less depression, sensitivity and irritability.
Discover your inner dancer
My favorite dance is belly dance. It can be hard on your knees, so it may need modifications in midlife. Dance is a great exercise and happiness booster during perimenopause and menopause. Dancing makes us feel sexy and feminine. Some women tend to let their femininity go down with age and responsibilities. It is important to keep our femininity up, because that is part of our power.
Dance is also exercise. The exercise helps us relax and eliminate toxins. Dancing is a powerful, easy therapy for women. Take some dance lessons (it can be free online) and dance.
There are many women after 40 who join dance groups to develop closer relationships while doing something so pleasant. If you prefer the gym, try Zumba or similar exercises.
Clear your mind of nocebo
Nocebo is the evil brother of placebo. In placebo, we believe that something does good to us and it does it, although it is not supposed to. For example, medicine and sugar pills; some people take the sugar pills and get cured because of the placebo effect. It is our minds telling our cells to get healthy.
Nocebo is the contrary.
In nocebo, we believe that something has a negative effect in us and it does, although it is not supposed to. For example, if someone gets convinced that she has an allergy to gluten, although that person does not have it, every time she has gluten she gets sick. This is how superstitions also work.
If we believe that we will suffer hot flashes because it is common for women in their 40s or 50s, we will. Remember common does not mean normal. Hot flashes and other symptoms are not normal even if they are common. Many women like me don’t suffer them. Don’t expect them; your mind is very powerful, if you expect them they will come.
Every time a negative age or menopause stereotype comes to your mind, negate it with something positive. For instance you can say things like: age is just a number, I am healthy and strong, I love myself, everything is OK, etc. Create your own mantras and repeat them.
Don’t let books, magazines or websites tell you that you will get sick, that menopause is a terrible time in a women’s life. They are trying to grab your attention and scare you into buying something.
Track your symptoms
If you are experiencing any perimenopause symptoms, keep a diary. Write down what you eat, your emotions (example: angry in the morning, sad in the afternoon etc.) and the time and situation the symptom presents itself. This is especially important for hot flashes (or hot flushes, if you are in Europe). If you identify the triggers you can manage them and have less symptoms.
Look for good company
Avoid negative people. Avoid negative talk about aging and menopause. Don’t hang around in websites and forums discussing symptoms (remember, nocebo is powerful). Look for positive, uplifting company in real life, online and in books and media.
Elect the positive
Listen to your inner dialogue and try to change negative thoughts with positive or neutral ones. Worry and stress create addiction. Avoid becoming an addict to these negative emotions.
Feel beautiful as you are
Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about your body, change it to something positive.
The media is telling us to hate ourselves, because we are not … skinny enough, rich enough, elegant enough, sexy enough, strong enough, etc. Reject these negative manipulations. They only do it so you buy their products. Remember fear sells.
I hope I gave you food for thought and you can implement some of these ideas. You may also enjoy other articles on the self-care topic: 7 Day must o self-care challenge Self-care for spring time