Menopause is one of many significant passages in a woman’s life. Like the beginning of adolescence, this can also be a time of discomfort, change, and resistance. While menopause is defined as the period after one-to-two years without menstruation, this span of time called perimenopause can be especially trying.
Hot flashes, sweating, and a great sense of loss are common experiences shared by many women during this time; however, in cultures across the world these symptoms are almost completely absent. Stress, negativity towards change, and the lack of recognition in society all lead to an increase in apprehension around menopause.
Here, we’ll discuss five ways to embrace this time of transition to minimize your discomfort, change your mindset, and usher in this new chapter of your life.
1. Choose Herbs to Keep You Calm, Cool, and Collected
Many women rely on hormone replacement therapy during menopause. During this time, estrogen and progesterone production come to a halt. These synthetic hormones can supply much-needed relief in times of mood-swings, night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
A much more gentle, natural way of treating these symptoms is to explore phytoestrogens in the form of healing herbs. Herbs such as Black Cohosh, Vitex, Dong Quai Root, and Red Clover can help support you and ease any uncomfortable symptoms. Choosing the right herbs for you is essential, so be sure to discuss any supplements with your trusted healthcare team.
2. Find Inspiration in Women Around the World
Most cultures around the world embrace aging, and the significant shift into menopause. Unfortunately, in America aging is treated as a loss of beauty and vitality, and menopause as a disease. If you feel like you’re losing a significant part of yourself, take comfort in the rituals celebrated by other women around the world. Japanese women term this period konenki which means renewal and energy. Mayan women embrace this time as it offers the opportunity to progress in status to Wise Women.
Their communities revere them as spiritual leaders. If you feel that you are losing a significant part of yourself, look to these other cultures for inspiration and know that you are gaining a new status.
3. Take Time to Celebrate This Transition
In any time of great change, it is important to be open and embrace it. If you feel you are resistant, take time to create your own ritual to transition. Spend time examining your thoughts surrounding this change. Are you feeling sad, depressed, anxious, hopeful, excited, grief-stricken, or alone? Record these emotions and allow yourself the ability to feel them deeply. Then let them go. You can do this symbolically in a number of ways. Grab a handful of rocks, seashells, or pinecones. Assign a memory or emotion to each one. Now go for a walk in a favorite location, and be sure to bring your items with you.
As you clear your head and fill your lungs with fresh air, symbolically and literally drop each one along your path. Realize that you have so much life ahead of you, and a vast stretch of memories behind you. Take the time to just be in the moment, and enjoy the present. As you return home, you’ll be amazed by how much weight has been lifted!
4. Nurture the New You
View this new chapter of your life as a chance to create new, healthier habits. Switch out your Starbucks habit for a cup of nourishing herbal tea. Instead of sitting in front of the television at night, soak in a warm bath with a few drops of relaxing lavender essential oil. Choose foods that will support your health goals and sustain your energy. Spend time reflecting on the changes you’re going through in moments of quiet meditation. Note any uncomfortable symptoms you’re feeling, and listen to the messages your body is sending you. If you feel more fatigue than usual, ensure that you’re getting adequate rest. Taking the best care of yourself should never be an indulgence, but it can often feel this way! Start prioritizing your health now, and you’ll feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
5. Reconnect with Your Core Values
Though we may be bombarded by billboards, movies, and television programs that make women over the age of 30 seem irrelevant, think of all of the influential women you’ve met throughout your life! Now is a wonderful time to reevaluate your progress towards your goals, and to take necessary steps towards living the life of your dreams. Prioritize family time, self-care, and anything else that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning! Pay attention to areas of your life where you feel negativity and resistance. These feelings may be a sign that it’s time to move on. You’ve been given the chance to enter this next phase of your life with wisdom, self-love, and the opportunity to follow your passion. Embrace it!
If you feel overwhelmed by the symptoms of perimenopause, I can help you navigate this period with ease and confidence. Allow yourself the space to accept that your body is changing, and that you are transitioning into a new chapter of life. Take the time to grieve as necessary, but don’t allow yourself to get lost in this process! Much like a caterpillar, you have spent much of your life inside the cocoon of your early life. It is time for you to emerge and claim your place as the beautiful butterfly you were always destined to be.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.