How to thrive during menopause
by Dawn Fleming —
For many women, menopause can be challenging and create havoc in all areas of their lives. Not only are their physical bodies changing, but also their minds can spiral into anxiety as they begin to deal with uncertainties that arise. Strategies are available not only to survive and thrive through menopause, but also to celebrate life once again.
Menopause caught me off guard. I had spent my life working as a senior analyst for the government and reinvented myself mid-career to become a successful holistic health practitioner, life coach and teacher. I have taught at hospitals and colleges, and presented at national conferences, always feeling confident, healthy and happy. Then menopause arrived.
You would think that I was ready for this change of life. Not so. I spent two years floundering with hot flashes, as sweat poured out every cell of my body. I had unexplained anxiety, low energy, weight gain, a foggy mind and mood swings. Finally, I was able to step out of this confusing whirlwind and find solutions to the problems created by my fluctuating hormones.
Life became manageable again, and hope and confidence returned. Although I came up with many holistic solutions for the physical issues that plagued me, in this article I share some of the fundamental keys that took me from survival mode to thriving and celebrating my life. What created these amazing changes were acceptance, self-love, healthy boundaries, and a focus on fun and nourishing activities.
• Acceptance — Accept what is occurring. We do not have to agree with it or like it, but acceptance takes us out of the negativity of resistance and anger, which depletes our energy and makes us feel even worse. The more we resist, the more the problems persist and grow in our minds like a giant weed. Acceptance takes our mind out of the struggle and into a space of finding solutions.
• Self-love — Menopause gets us thinking about what we do not love about ourselves. Cure this negativity by loving all of your parts. Look deeper into getting in touch with your divine essence. Look at the gifts you offer the world. Do a self-love meditation every morning, acknowledge that you are love and send love to every body part and to every area of your life. Self-love is transforming.
• Healthy boundaries — When we lack boundaries, our energy levels plunder. Learn how to say “no,” instead of acting on autopilot saying “yes” to everything. With respect to pleasing others, assess whether what is being offered or forced on you is what you really want to do. If not, say “no.” Healthy boundaries offer us a return of energy and joy.
• Fun and nourishing activities — Find ways to have fun, but also take time for yourself. Life is not meant to be experienced from a place of joylessness. What do you enjoy doing? Is there something new you want to try? Get in touch with your inner creativity. Whatever your ideas of fun are, expand those activities into your life. Nourish yourself on a regular basis. Get a massage or facial, take a relaxing walk, meditate or go on a retreat. Women who are happy and take time for themselves live longer.
By working with these four fundamental keys, you can align your mind, body and emotions to a place that supports you as you move forward once again in your life. Stop denying what is happening in your body. Move into acceptance and ask what these changes are asking of you and which solutions are available. Self-love will move your mind into a whole new arena of discovering your gifts and give you a greater appreciation for your body, mind and spirit.
You will be able to create healthy boundaries and discard behaviors that no longer support you. Sometimes you will have to stop in your tracks when invited to do something, as your old answer probably was always “yes.” Now, think about it and determine if it is something you really want to do. Engage in fun and creative activities, such as painting, beadwork, playing an instrument, hiking or making more time to socialize with friends. Make sure you have something to look forward to on your calendar.
It is time for women to come together to celebrate the menopausal years and to share their wisdom. When going through menopause, I thought it was unusual that no one had warned me about it or shared their insights on how they coped. When I finally brought up the subject with several women friends, the conversations were rich and heartfelt.
Healing occurs when we can speak honestly about what is going on in our lives. It is so important for women to support each other with encouragement and to share solutions to those annoying menopausal symptoms. In our sharing, we no longer feel alone, and we find hope and wisdom from our peers.
Instead of menopause being defeating and deflating, let it be a call to action that inspires us to live our dreams feeling empowered and energized. Let it be the impetus that helps us to make the changes that make life more enjoyable.
May the fire that burns inside us light the way for all women to come to the realization that, at all ages and stages of life, there resides a radiant beauty and incredible wisdom that is to be celebrated by all.
Dawn Fleming is the author of Heat Rising: Survive and Thrive Through Menopause. She is a speaker, life coach, Reiki master and medical intuitive helping women to release blocks and live their dreams. energytransformations.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or blogtalkradio.com/twomodernmystics.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 2, April/May 2015.