Posts

Over the course of six blogs, we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

In this blog we will be talking about the “hidden gift of menopause” and what positive elements can come from the experience.

Why do we view menopause so negatively?

When many women think of menopause, it is most likely negatively. We always hear about the dreaded menopause and its nasty symptoms. Not to mention the changes and the stress it causes. It is almost like we view it as a tragic, inevitable end to our youth. But is it all negative, or are there actually some positive elements that the whole experience can bring to us?

One thing we might think about, when we approach menopause, is that we will lose our youth and beauty. By today’s beauty standards, it is almost as if we must stay young to be desirable. Western culture seems to glorify beautiful, youthful women and dismiss others, which consequently puts pressure on women to stay young and pretty no matter what. Menopause is seen as a threat to that, which is where the negative narrative surrounding menopause lies. It is important to remember that this is just how Western culture views it, and that in other cultures and countries it may be seen in a completely different way. And that also, it is not just physical beauty that matters.

How do other cultures view it?

While we may suffer with the negative views and taboo around menopause in Western countries are plenty of cultures that have completely alternative perspectives on what it means. For example, the Japanese culture does not worry about menopause at all. While we associate the word menopause with symptoms and unhappiness, the Japanese do not. In fact, their word for menopause is ‘konenki’, which broken down means something much greater than just menopause. Ko means “renewal or regeneration”, nen means “years”, and ki means “season or energy”. In English, it does not translate to something quite so inspirational as this. And in China they have a similar attitude, calling it the ‘Second Spring.’

Indigenous cultures, such as the M?ori in New Zealand, have a beautiful take on menopause. Instead of being something to dread, they see it as the transition from being a member of society, to becoming a spiritual elder. Mayan women believe that entering menopause gives them their access to shamanic abilities and healing powers. They have ceased to have children and will now focus on taking care of their children’s children and the community. Therefore, becoming a well-respected and useful member of the community. There is a quote that Native American and other Indigenous people say which is “The blood you no longer bleed is retained as wise blood.” Perhaps we could learn something from them and change how we personally view menopause? You can read more about different cultures surrounding menopause here.

What is the hidden gift of menopause?

We have all been through difficult situations that left us feeling stronger or wiser. Many women feel that menopause has the same effect. All the unresolved difficulties that we have papered over during our life, to be able to survive and carry on, are magnified in menopause, forcing us to deal with them. As a result, often relationship crises are a ‘side effect’ of menopause. And any past physical symptoms can also come up to be addressed.

Another way of looking at it is that we start out in life as a caterpillar. Menopause is the chyrsalis stage, where we transform into our original blueprint – a butterfly. The shift in hormones challenges us to give up old, unhealthy caterpillar attitudes and behaviours, and become our True Self.

This explains why many women come out the other side of menopause saying they’ve never been happier or more fulfilled. It’s when women come into their power, worry less about what others think, become more assertive, and find their voice. Some even make serious life changes according to what it is they need or want to really thrive. Some learn to stop giving so much of themselves to others and focus more on their own path.

Another medical term for menopause is ‘climacteric’. It is used to describe the decline in fertility in women during this time. And in botany this term denotes the time when a fruit reaches its full ripeness and sweetness. This is a perfect way to view menopause: A ripening into a mature, wise woman, full of life.

So really, there are many positive things we can take away from menopause. It is not all doom and gloom! I hope we can start normalising conversation about menopause, and teach those who have yet to go through it, that it is not something to fear. That it is something to embrace!

Thank you to Sarah Davison for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allows you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone! You can also follow her on social media at @naturalmenopauseexpert

 

 

 

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? You can have a much better transition if you have a better understanding of menopause. You can learn to work with your body and find our personal path. I wish I knew then what I know now, and I wish I had met Sarah when I first started experiencing symptoms. My experience would have been very different. Your experience, if you are not post menopause already, still can be.

How should we deal with stress during menopause and what are the effects it has on symptoms? We spoke to natural menopause expert Sarah Davison to understand what menopause is, how to prepare for it and how to manage symptoms.

Why is menopause so stressful?

Menopause can be a very stressful time in a womans life. Coping with all of these mental, emotional and physical changes is difficult enough. It is not just the transition through menopause that is stressful. Menopause comes at a time in your life when you have a lot of stress for other reasons.

At the age when menopause hits there are also a lot of other factors contributing to how we deal with it.  Women do it all. We have children, raise them and care for them. We have to deal with the stress and loss of them leaving home when the time comes. Some women have children later on in life, so can you imagine dealing with young children and perimenopause at the same time? Another responsibility that seems to naturally fall on women at this age besides looking after children, is the possibility of looking after sick or dying parents or relatives. As you could imagine, or even have experienced, all of these responsibilities weighing on you can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re trying to balance work too! stress

Did you know that certain other organs besides the reproduction ones also have a part to play in menopause? As your ovaries are slowing down the production of progesterone and oestrogen, your adrenal glands (that produce the stress hormones) take over and produce those hormones. Your body is designed for survival, and will always put that first above anything else. This means that while your adrenal glands are producing a lot of stress hormones they can’t produce a sufficient amount of sex hormones.

So there is an overlap between symptoms of adrenal fatigue, which results from chronic stress, and symptoms of perimenopause. Such as exhaustion, depression, weight gain, insomnia, low sex drive, digestion problems and back pain.

Managing stress

There are plenty of ways to manage stress, even in menopause, such as simple breathing exercises or meditation. It’s also a good idea to make sure your body is getting the right nutrition. This is different for everyone. Find a nutritional specialist if you need help finding out what is right for you. Perhaps monitor how much sugar you are consuming, and get a sufficient amount of protein.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. However, if you overdo exercise you can release too much cortisol. Hard exercise is not for those with adrenal fatigue – it will make it and your menopause symptoms worse! Everything in moderation. Go for moderate exercise. Make sure you do something you love too. It can be a nice walk, a bit of gardening,  or maybe dancing is more you groove? Anything that gets you moving on a regular basis.

Thank you to Sarah Davison for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allow you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone!

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring the other elements of menopause.

  • Taboo and Ignorance
  • Natural VS HRT
  • Menopause in the Workplace
  • The Hidden Gift of Menopause

 

 

Why are we talking about menopause

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

Why is the menopause such a taboo subject? Is it the lack of accessible education and information, albeit that there is an abundance of information if we look online? We spoke to natural menopause expert Sarah Davison to understand what menopause is, how to prepare for it and how to manage symptoms.

Stigma

There has always been somewhat of a stigma around talking about women’s bodies, and even more so when it comes to menopause. Perhaps, in a modern world, certainly in western civilisation, everyone strives to hold on to youth and no one wants to talk about aging. The word alone can be fear inducing to women, and even more so to men!

I was watching Breeders on TV the other day, and this was illustrated so beautifully. (Warning spoiler alert if you have not finished watching the series yet!) Ally, the main character is 42 and thinks she is pregnant. She is not sure she really wants another baby. She goes to see the doctor, only to find out that she is perimenopausal, which can give a false positive on a pregnancy test. Ally says she feels like an empty husk, mourning the baby that will unlikely never be born. She becomes depressed and start behaving erratically. It’s an important stage of our lives as women. We need information before we hit menopause, so that we understand what is happening and how to deal with it. What are our choices? We will talk a about treatment in more depth in a later blog.

Ignorance in the workplace

It is estimated that around 13 million women in the UK are currently going through the menopause at any given time. Around 80% will be in work. 81% of women have noticeable menopause symptoms. That means around 8.4 million women are dealing with symptoms while working! Employers should start thinking about providing help and support to employees as they go through menopause. It is not just women that need education and information but everyone around them too. Some women do not even know that they are experiencing menopausal symptoms. In our experience many, if not all women feel like they are unable to talk about menopause at work. The taboo needs to be broken!

Hot flush?

Have you ever sat in a meeting having a hot flush and a colleague said something about you looking embarrassed or made a funny comment about heat? I have experienced exactly that! This is why more education is required in the workplace, to help others comprehend some of the symptoms and be more understanding and supportive. I learned to make a joke before anyone else could comment, but I should not have had to do that.

Symptoms

There can be many symptoms during menopause. Some of those symptoms can include anxiety, stress and physical and cognitive symptoms that can interfere with our ability to work. For me it was hot flushes, feeling like I had an axe through my head and going to get something and then forgetting what it was I had gone to get, or forgetting a name or a word. Perhaps, if we had more information at a younger age, it would give us time to prepare. Even the medical profession needs more education. My GP did not even consider or discuss the possibility that I could be experiencing symptoms of menopause when I was diagnosed with burn out. While it might not have been the full story it was certainly a contributing factor.

Why don’t we talk about it?

There is a massive lack of knowledge and misinformation surrounding menopause. Women are unlikely to be given literature about it. Completely uneducated and unprepared, most women end up doing their own research to find more information. For instance, we get education around periods, pregnancy and the pill, so why not later life stages?

Clinically Speaking

Clinically speaking, the menopause is just one day. The day that falls a year after you had your last period. Did you know that? For around 2-14 years, women may have what is called perimenopause symptoms. Did you know there are as many as 49 possible symptoms you may experience? With the millennial generation now hitting 40 they are going into perimenopause without even knowing or recognising the symptoms. Perhaps you can help them by sharing this post!

Thank you to Sarah Davidson for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allow you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone!

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the other elements of menopause.

  • Stress
  • Natural VS HRT
  • Menopause in the Workplace
  • The Hidden Gift of Menopause

May Mental Health What is happening in the UK?

In the UK we have a whole month focussed on Mental Health, but last week was specifically in the focus of Mental Health Awareness week.  There have been a multitude of programmes, articles and blogs.

Theresa May also announced her ‘sweeping´ reforms to mental health policy. It is definitely a long time coming. A lot has changed since the 1983 Mental Health Act. Unfortunately the largely unpopular reforms for Dementia sufferers followed swiftly afterwards. Let’s hope they back track on that one. There is nothing like adding to stress worrying about the inheritance that you were building up for the children. Now it might betaken by the state to support you in your time of need.

Prominent people speaking out

Prince Harry got a great dialog started by talking about his own person mental health issuesHe sought counselling after 20 years of not thinking about the death of his mother.In fact, along with Prince William and Kate they started a charity called Heads Together back in 2016.It is really great to see the Royals leading the charge.

William also talked about the shock of losing a loved one, especially in difficult circumstances. It stays with you always but managing it gets easier. Bereavement can affect everyone and I will be dedicating a whole blog to that later in the year.

Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd urged fellow players to speak up about mental health problems a couple of days ago.  He suggested that mental health problems were a “massive” problem for football.

It is great to see very visible people in public life speaking out.  The Royals set up their charity to help remove the stigma of Mental Health issues.  Yet in business this still is a massive issue.  Working with a company last year that was going through massive transformation and having to make a very large number of redundancies, the workforce has a double whammy.  They are worried about job security, finances and the future. This directly leads to stress, the longer it goes on the more stress the person feels.  They can be suffering from mental health problems like stress, depression and anxiety. Employees often feel worried about talking the issue through with their employer, because they they might be the one chosen for redundancy.

Help for business

Having independent support that staff can talk to is absolutely critical in these times of change.  They can provide unbiased advice.  They can help employees with coping strategies, enabling them to cope better, whatever the outcome.  Most importantly they are a confident that enables the person to open up and talk about their problems without fear of repercussions.

It is very encouraging to see the spotlight on Mental Health, but there still remains a stigma for people to admit that they are struggling.  While I agree with a lot of the comments about Mental Health should be a focus all year round and not just for a focussed short period of time, having that focus does help target the issue and allows for people to focus on a topic that might not have been on their radar before.  So many people suffer from mental ill health. The likelihood is that you know, or have suffered yourself with stress related illness, depression, anxiety and other common mental health related issues.

If you are in business and going through a big change do remember that staff will often benefit from independent support and this will help them stay positive and supportive throughout the transition.  Making their transition easier and your too.