The above is a quote I found in an article I wrote many, many years ago. I recall vividly the emotions when I believed I was going mad or just falling apart! And the relief when I discovered that what I was experiencing was normal, it was ‘menopause’.
Did that help? I suppose the answer to that is yes and no. I was in my 30’s and really struggling with what seemed a bizarre range of symptoms. I saw 7 doctors in 7 years and not once was menopause suggested, rather I was treated with various pills and a suggestion that this ‘could all be in my mind’!
It was following a private appointment with an endocrinologist who said I was in the menopause transition that it all started to make sense. What I had been experiencing was ‘normal’ for the menopause . I subsequently found out this was alongside severe endometriosis resulting in a full hysterectomy age 39.
Slapping on an HRT patch, ‘life’ was restored, it was such a complete joy! Sometimes it’s only when you don’t have a previous problem that you realise how bad it was, and I vowed not to feel like I had ever again. How? By embarking on a wonderful journey of exploration, education and training to support my body and mind when I came off HRT, to ensure an easier transition and also create optimum health ‘beyond’ menopause.
In this blog I share some of the 14 top suggestions I discovered, individually helpful, collectively really empowering and powerful.
(If you’d like to dig deeper and follow guidelines to help you personally put them into practice do have a look at my Natural Menopause Road Map).
Reduce your stress. Running yourself ragged, juggling life, feeling constantly tired, nurturing everyone and everything in your life (except you!) increases you stress hormone cortisol. Consistently raised cortisol adds to the frequency and severity of menopause symptoms.
Step 1: Find out what makes you relaxed and clear space for this EVERY single day, even if just for 5-10 minutes. For example listening to music, dancing, walking in Nature, gardening, a bath with scented candles (door locked!), mindfulness, meditation, reading, yoga, anything that makes you smile/laugh. You deserve this!
It can be difficult to address some external stresses in life, for e.g. children, aging parents, finances, work, but it is possible to reduce their effect on the body with good nutrition appropriate for the time of life. Embracing some simple suggestions can make a significant difference, and this includes:
Step 2: Drink an appropriate amount of water, a minimum of 2 litres/day.
Step 3: Eat oily fish 2-3 times/week for essential hormone supporting Omega 3 nutrients, or take a supplement (see below).
Step 4: Include calcium rich foods daily for healthy bones, e.g. organic dairy, sardines with bones, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds.
Step 5: Consume a MINIMUM 5 portions of colourful vegetables/day. Top up essential nutrients with fruits.
Step 6: Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol.
Don’t spend your hard earned money on unnecessary, poor quality or dangerous or supplements! Be honest, how many have tried taking advice from this magazine, or that newspaper article, or even know-it-all Dr Google? All offering information, suggestions and promises that can be misleading, contradictory, potentially expensive and possibly harmful. It really doesn’t have to be complicated.
Step 7: If in doubt please consult someone who is qualified to advise on supplements, and who is aware of interaction with prescription drugs E.g a registered nutritional therapist, medical herbalist. GP’s are not trained to advise.
Endocrine disrupting neurotoxins: the silent yet oh so powerful hormone disrupting chemicals that have the potential to lead to endometrial cancer, oestrogen dominance and the associated vast range of symptoms attributed to menopause. What are they, where do they come from? So many places!
Step 8: Assuming you shower in the morning, list EVERYTHING you put in or on your body in the first 60 minutes of the day. Every lotion, potion, pill or food will likely contain some of these harmful chemicals. Try and reduce the number.
Understanding how exercise affects your hormones is imperative to choosing the correct exercise for the menopause years with emphasis on protecting your bones and heart. And it doesn’t have to include expensive gym membership or lycra. Great joy!
Step 9: Do exercise that you enjoy for 40-50 minutes 3-5 times/week, getting slightly breathless for 20-30 minutes each time for heart health. Include weight bearing exercise is vitally important for bone health.
Step 10: Stop smoking. That’s it.
Consider what do you really want from the next stage of your life. Many discover a new sense of connection and creativity, feel the need to spend more time in Nature, contribute towards a good cause, be more true to themselves. For you, like me, it may be to give you the optimum health and freedom to enjoy life on your terms, with whoever you choose. Perhaps spend quality time with grandchildren? Travel? Not be reliant on prescription drugs to give quality of life if they can be avoided? So many options.
Step 11: Sit quietly with a journal and really consider how you want to live your life beyond menopause, and who with. Note: this can be quite an uncomfortable and emotional exercise, please don’t up.
Now start to prioritise yourself! I know this is really hard, and you could well shy away from this suggestion with a number of stories/excuses. However I can promise the more you practice this the easier it becomes. And it’s true, others may not like what you’re doing, but this is an essential part of you living a vibrant and healthy life both physically and emotionally.
Step 12: Practice saying “No”. You don’t have to explain why, but quite simply if a request doesn’t serve you, adds further stress to your life, interrupts your good intentions to nurture yourself, depletes your energy, then it’s OK to say “no”.
Step 13: Ask for help when you need it! No shame. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, rather it’s a sign of strength. You may have preferred to follow a natural route through menopause, but your symptoms may be affecting your ability to function in life. If this is the case, go and see you GP to discuss HRT and other available options.
As an additional note here: on an aeroplane there’s a reason you’re told to put on the oxygen mask before helping others. It’s impossible to help, support, nurture others when your own oxygen levels are running on empty.
Finally, stop looking for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer! There isn’t a single lotion, potion, diet, exercise, patch or pill that will cure all your menopause ills. Searching for this elusive answer can leave you frustrated and lead you to give up before you notice positive benefits. Possibly leaving you feeling disappointed in yourself, not worthy, even a failure.
Step 14: Accept that to naturally create your best life through menopause, reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms (note I don’t say “banish” symptoms as I refuse to make false promises!) requires an holistic approach. HRT or not. You are definitely worth both the time and commitment!
Of course it takes time to incorporate change into your life. Following the FREE 9-Day-Nurture will help you incorporate many of the recommendations above and help you establish some really effective and powerful new habits to ensure your best life through menopause and beyond.
Helping busy ladies naturally create harmony and health through the menopause years and beyond. Regain control, confidence, and be free to live the life they choose.
A full hysterectomy in her 30s led nutritional therapist and health coach Clare on an amazing adventure exploring the many opportunities available to manage her enforced menopause and create long-term health.
Clare prefers the natural approach, and qualifying in nutritional therapy gave her the confidence to come off HRT, take back control of her life and health, and look forward to living the best third of her life free of prescription drugs. Understanding the importance of creating harmony of health of both body and mind through menopause and beyond, she’s now on a mission to inspire, educate and empower other women, too. Help them create their ‘new life’.
Click HERE to find out more about how Clare shares her years of exploring, experience and knowledge through 1:1 consultations and online programmes. If you’re now ready to take back control of your hormones and life through natural nutrition and lifestyle changes, you can request a FREE 30 minute consultation with Clare to discuss what would work for you.
Award winning nutritional therapist & menopause coach.
Member British Menopause Society
#LoveYourselfYour invitation to your FREE 9 day guide to Staying Slim, Strong & Sane through Menopause & BeyondAccess Here