April 2019 has a deeply etched place in my heart. It’s the month when I officially completed menopause. After 34 years of parenting, it was one of the biggest milestones of my life. I had heard and read so much about this mysterious, sacred, often turbulent time in a woman’s life. Nothing I heard or read fully prepared me for it. I’ve been thinking about how to manage menopause now that it’s in my past.
Having said that, I realize this post cannot fully prepare you for it either. That’s like trying to describe vaginal childbirth to someone who has never experienced it. People might listen, then say they “get it” but they don’t because the only way to “get it” is to experience it first-hand. Still, I think any woman’s experience warrants sharing some “how to manage menopause” tips with others.
The things I heard that proved true
I used to listen to women talk about how to manage menopause. They would tell stories that, to my younger-woman self, sounded horrific. Night sweats. Roller-coaster emotions. Crazy menstrual cycles. Sudden, unexpected weight gain. Depression. Sadness. Fatigue. Stress. Anxiety attacks.
It all came true. Every. Single. Thing (and more). The good news is that it all transpired over an extended period of time rather than all at once. Certain issues definitely intersected here and there but I got through it, and so will you. ( If the last issue mentioned is a problem in your life, you might find this article helpful.)
Post-childbearing ‘how to manage menopause’ tips
I loved having babies. I loved everything about being pregnant and giving birth, then raising my little ones. Blessed with 10 children who made it out of the womb, I was often expecting a new little one while holding an infant in my arms. Realizing that this time in my life was officially over (barring a miracle, which I do believe in, of course) was hands-down, the toughest part of menopause for me.
It was almost as if I were mourning the loss of my younger self. Scratch that. It wasn’t almost as if, it was. I missed “that” me and I missed my babies. When/if this happens to you, remember to take some time to look at old photographs, watch videos and listen to cassette tapes (if you’re as old as I am, lol). Allow yourself as much time as you need to cherish your memories. Doing so will free you to let go and embrace the new phase of your journey.
My top 10 ‘how to manage menopause’ tips
No two women are exactly the same. What works for me might not be a good idea for you or vice versa. I believe in building each other up as women and I also believe in encouraging and sharing thoughts and ideas that each person is free to embrace or disregard. The sharing alone is therapeutic and a blessing. The following list includes ideas that helped me, which I, in turn, hope will benefit you some day:
- Let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
- Stay physically active, as in, every day, even if just for a short, brisk walk outdoors (preferably in direct sunlight).
- Splurge, to celebrate the end of one chapter in your life and the start of a new.
- Hydrate or die.
- Eat whole foods but avoid dieting, processed sugar and other bad-for-you things like smoking or drinking too much alcohol.
- Sleep as well as you can. Don’t be alarmed if you’re hit with major bouts of insomnia.
- Try journaling, writing some poetry or creating a list of things you’re thankful for that you can look back on and smile, some day.
- Pray and pray often.
- If you have a bad habit, kick it.
- Don’t be embarrassed to talk about how you feel or to seek additional support when you need it.
- Take one day at a time and celebrate your victories (like making it through a night without being drenched in sweat or going a whole day without crying).
There’s no specific plan for ‘how to manage menopause’. It’s an inevitable part of life although it doesn’t have to make you go bonkers. Well, you might go a little bonkers along the way; however, you’ll make it. I promise. You will. If you’ve already ‘been there, done that,’ then we’d love for you to share some tips that helped you cope!