Worried about entering menopause? Read on to find out how you can make the best of this new phase of life.
Menopause is a new phase in every woman’s life – accompanied by a range of emotions. Remember all those years back when you first started your periods as a young girl? Your body indicated that you had formally entered womanhood and that you were capable of bearing children. The ending of that phase is no less significant.
It is natural to feel all sorts of mixed emotions during menopause. For most women, menopause is liberating in a way but no less saddening. Yet, embracing this change with positivity is the best thing you can do to move forward.
This can sometimes be difficult because menopause is not the same for every woman. While there are common symptoms, different women experience them differently. The socio-cultural impact is no less significant, depending on the geographical location of the woman and the community they belong to.
Navigating these changes can be challenging, but it need not be complicated. It would be best if you found new ways of rediscovering yourself, and while it might not seem easy at first, it’s a start. Read on to know about menopause and how you can make the most of it.
Understanding the Psychological Impact of Menopause
If you want to embrace the changes that menopause brings to a woman’s life, you need to understand the psychological impact behind it and overcome the challenges.
A woman starts menstruating between the ages of 9 and 15, and typically, menopause can start anywhere from 45 to 55 years of age. In the intervening years, her menstrual cycle became integral to her adult life.
And menopause indicates the end of her fertile years. It does not matter if the woman had decided to remain child-free, had one child or quadruplets or more – the fact that her childbearing ages are over can evoke many emotions.
While the value of a woman cannot be determined by her child-bearing capabilities alone, the socio-cultural connotations often revolve around the fact that a woman’s femininity rests on her ability to be fertile. This is why there is always pressure on women to have children. We’re constantly reminded that our biological clocks are ticking.
Menopause indicates the end of the childbearing years. You need to embrace the fact that you still have so much to offer as a human being and add value to your immediate environment. Then you will have no issues rediscovering yourself.
How to Add Value to Your Life During Menopause
Enjoy some ‘me time’
Menopause brings a lot of hormonal changes to the body. They could lead to physical and emotional changes. You will feel your body is behaving differently. You are not always in control of your moods. Here are some ways to embrace these changes.
Embracing Physical Changes
During menopause, your body will feel different in some ways. A common sign is that you will feel hot and flushed and might suddenly break into a sweat. You may feel anxious or dizzy at times or utterly exhausted.
You could feel bursts of energy, followed by long spells of frustrating brain fog. You might have difficulty sleeping and will also feel irritable during other times of the day.
One way of embracing these changes is to acknowledge these discomforts. Instead of fighting it and trying to ignore these changes, be accepting of the fact that you will feel like it for some time now. So instead of feeling irritable when you start sweating, if you can, go and take a cool shower or seek shade, take off a layer and allow yourself to rest until it’s over.
When you feel the brain fog take over, or you’re procrastinating, stop working for a while. Instead, go and take a walk in nature, chat to a friend or re-prioritise your to-do list.
As someone going through peri-menopause (and on HRT) I still like to feel productive even if I am suffering from brain fog, so I tick off the tasks that don’t require much brain power like getting a start on my vast washing pile, batch-cooking dinner for my family, or paying some bills.
If you have difficulty sleeping, consider changing your sleep setting and sleeping in another room. (I often sleep on the sofa for a break in my routine and I surprisingly feel fresher!) If your circumstances allow, go for a little holiday or even a weekend getaway to bring some change to your routine. My ultimate hack is to check myself into a local hotel for a solo break about once every couple of months. I order room service and I watch TV or work. Simplifying my routine gives me a much-needed refresh.
The novelty of doing something new takes your mind away from the changes you are going through and makes it easier to cope with them as they stop overwhelming you at all times of the day.
Embracing Emotional Changes
Your fluctuating hormone level will greatly affect your mental well-being during menopause. It is common for women to feel depressed at this point in their lives. Along with the decrease of estrogen in the body, certain pleasure hormones like oxytocin and dopamine also decrease. Hence, you have to look for ways that make you feel good at this point.
One way of doing so is to incorporate something new into your life. Look at it this way – you can finally lead a life without tampons and pads, period cramps and a bloated stomach.
You do not have to worry about wearing whites at certain times of the month or plan your vacations to someplace adventurous or exotic depending on whether you will have access to bathrooms during your hiking trips in remote locations.
All of this will give you the freedom to do many things that you may have only contemplated doing up until now but never got around to trying out.
Well, this is the perfect time to start something new.
Pick up a new hobby or start that project that you always wanted to tackle. This, of course, does not imply that you will have to wait till menopause to do what you want! Instead, this is a good time, as if you had put off doing certain things for an extended period.
The mental satisfaction and sense of achievement that it will bring you will far outweigh any sense of melancholy or depression that you may have been feeling during menopause. It is a fresh beginning for you in every sense of the term. You will feel like a new person as well.
In addition, take care of yourself. Get a new haircut, go and do your nails and consider changing up your style. Many women associate menopause with getting and feeling old, and you could try to override this feeling consciously.
The new you
Menopause does not mean that you stop investing in yourself. Instead, this is the time in which you invest in yourself more than ever. Looking and feeling good is paramount at this stage. And only you can do it for yourself.
Do things that you love. Put your heart and soul into your work as well as your personal life. Stay on top of your routine health check-ups, and this phase may not seem as difficult as you may have thought. In fact, you might feel like you are living your best life!
Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Lucy Clarke