During perimenopause and menopause, our bodies are changing as much as they did during puberty. This change comes with a host of new “beginnings” and a myriad of reminders – like hot flashes, sleep disruption, and irritability, to name a few.
Although getting our sleep is a huge asset on our menopause journey, shifting our entire approach to wellness in all areas is beneficial. Asking ourselves the right questions could be the difference between living our lives in denial and surviving menopause, or forging a new path with new rules to approach this time of our lives feeling content, purposeful, and strong.
When I entered menopause at the age of 42 with toddler twins, I learned that I could no longer approach my life or my wellness as I had previously. I needed to ask myself the difficult questions – first regarding my stress, then my sleep, my relationships, my fitness, and finally, my nutrition. I also needed to ask, and honestly answer, if I was ready to change the way I viewed this transition. I decided to rewire my mindset from surviving to thriving through menopause. Because my self-care was important to me, I yearned for answers from experts. However, I quickly realized that I was the only one who could decide my personal version of wellness.
We are all experts of our own experiences. Now, with this knowledge from years of coaching and my own “perimenopause prison,” here are the questions we can ask ourselves as we approach menopause.
1. How do we manage our stress?
When was the last time we took a deep breath? Slowed down? We can’t master menopause – or our 40s and 50s – until we master our stress. The science behind the impact of chronic stress is well-documented. When we experience any stress, especially during menopause – when our brain is already stressed from the “change” – our body responds to prevent harm. It releases cortisol, our “fight or flight” hormone, to help the body respond to a perceived threat, making us feel on edge.
This is why stress resilience is essential for women during menopause. In my Concierge Wellness and Corporate Wellness programs, my calming practices for the nervous system help clients shrink their stress and their waistline. (Click here to book a Corporate Wellness workshop.)
2. What is the state of our exercise?
Exercise AND movement throughout our days are both essential for those who want to be as fit as they can be during menopause. The fittest women in menopause I know are dedicated to their training regardless of their busy schedules. They ARE their highest priority.
Movement is scheduled on their calendars, and is just as important as their work meetings and doctors’ appointments. Their fitness routines also no longer exclusively favor intense, bucket-of-sweat cardio, but rather consistent, functional movement including a maintenance protocol with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist.
3. How many hours of uninterrupted sleep are we getting a night?
Repeat after me. Sleep is NOT for the weak. It’s actually one of the best things we can do for our strength, both physical and mental, during menopause. Sleep is probably the most common link between all of my clients in menopause who are absolutely crushing it. They know that quality sleep will ensure that they have the energy to exercise the next day, they are more interested in nutrient-dense foods and avoid cravings, and that they are able to “respond and not react” to stressful situations that arise.
4. What does optimum wellness look like for us?
Wellness is personal and truly looks different for everyone. Some of us may strive to hike the Appalachian trail or run a marathon. Others may want more mobility for weekend hobbies, or more energy to play with children or grandchildren. Whatever wellness is to us – it is our unique journey, and as valid as any Olympian’s. I caution women to stay away from goals like, “lose ten pounds” or “fit into jeans.” Being fit is truly a state of mind. It is not “cookie cutter” and does not happen overnight (no pun. See above #3)
Are you resigned to suffering through perimenopause and menopause? There ARE proven steps to change your daily habits and transform your relationship with wellness and your body. Join me for a live webinar on sleep during menopause. I share strategies that thousands of empowered women are using to THRIVE throughout menopause! Date: November 15, 6-7pm EST.