Menopause is an inevitable stage in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, social conditioning has made this stage harder for women than it should be. They have more or less tied a woman’s identity to her childbearing years, and the end of it has become something to be mourned rather than a celebration of entering a new phase of life after successfully making it through the years of childbearing and rearing.
About 1 million women in the US alone enter menopause each year. The number is staggering in the rest of the world. And yet, even today, especially in certain communities, women are woefully ignorant about the care and nutrition they deserve in this phase of their lives.
Menopause can be liberating. No more period cramps, and the chances of unwanted pregnancy are almost nil. A woman can go on to do all the things that she may not have been able to do earlier. But that is impossible if she has to worry about her health, the effects of hormonal imbalances, and cope with mood swings that are often a result of this stage.
Here is a brief manual that can help women navigate through this phase of life and prepare for a smooth transition.
How to Prepare for Midlife During Menopause
A midlife crisis can be dreadful, and it perhaps hits harder during menopause. However, with the right knowledge, it is possible to go through this phase as smoothly as possible.
How to Take Care of Mental Health During Menopause
Taking care of your mental health during menopause is at the top of the list. This is mainly for two reasons.
As you hit peri-menopause and then eventually menopause, the knowledge that your childbearing days are coming to an end can be daunting. Women are associated with motherhood, and whether you have had children in the past or decided to stay child-free does not really matter.
It is more about the fact that this important phase in your life is over, and that can make any woman feel that they are losing their identity. Although a woman’s value is not intrinsic to the fact that she can procreate, it is still an important part of her life, and the end of this phase can be stressful.
As soon as the ovaries stop releasing the eggs each month, your hormones go into a tizzy. The hormonal imbalances worsen any kind of stress you may be going through. You undergo mood swings, start feeling worse about yourself, often end up criticizing yourself more than you should, and simply feel like you are not yourself anymore. All of this is natural, but you should start preparing for it beforehand.
Try to be a part of a community at this phase where you have women of the same age group and are going through the same experiences. Many women try to resist this because they feel they are becoming a part of an old women’s group, which ends up making them feel older.
However, you will need all the love and support you need at this point, and women who have already undergone menopause or are going through it are the best people to help you at this point.
Find a hobby into which you can pour your heart and soul into. Women are creative by nature, and this can be very helpful at this stage. Whether you are child-free or your children have grown up and left the nest at this point, it is possible to feel a gap in your life. Doing something creative can help you combat loneliness and regulate your mood.
You can also do all the things you have not done until this point. Start your business, learn a new language, go for a girl’s night out, and more. Do all you can to take care of your mental well-being.
How to Care for your Physical Health during Menopause
Once the hormonal imbalances start, you will see a lot of outward manifestations of the inner changes in your body. You may start losing hair, your skin may start feeling drier, and you may notice aches and pains in your body.
You may undergo painful leg aches during menopause because of muscle cramps and even osteoporosis. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and an overall sense of tiredness may creep in quite frequently as well.
In addition, you may experience reduced sex drive as the principal female hormone- estrogen- goes down remarkably. All of this can affect your relationship with your partner to an extent.
Your body needs adequate nutrition at this point. Focus on food that helps regulate the imbalance and is known to stabilize hormones. Include a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet so that you are adequately nourished and hydrated from within.
It is important to stay active at this stage to keep your limbs supple and to release happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Menopause can cause reduced flexibility and increased skin and hair dryness as they retain less moisture. There is also a rapid decline in collagen production. Your muscles can also seem rigid.
Staying active is the key to staying fit and healthy, and you can do so by doing yoga, Pilates, cycling, or going for hikes. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are getting an hour or two of exercise each day.
Making the Most of Menopause
Instead of feeling dejected that they are no longer younger, it is time for women to finally reclaim their lives when they hit menopause. Gratitude is essential to overcome any sense of foreboding. After all, there is so much to be grateful for, and be able to reach a certain age when many humans are unable to do that.
Menopause can seem scary. However, if you have the right medical help and a supporting community that you can be a part of, then the journey becomes so much easier. Make sure you visit your doctor regularly. Ask them about what to do if you were on birth control pills.
Always stay on top of your medical appointments and go through all the necessary screenings for ovarian and uterine cancer. It is true that the chances of such illnesses can increase rapidly after menopause. But early detection can often help you lead a fulfilling and healthy life.
Worrying about menopause will not serve any purpose. Rather, it would be a good idea to gather as many resources and information as you can and prepare for this stage in your life. Women today have more access to the right kind of information regarding menopause, and there is a lot more awareness about this stage compared to even a decade back.
You can see through the articles of Dr. Karen Pike, a leading emergency doctor and the chief of staff of one of the topmost US hospitals, who has dedicated her life to providing women with the right information regarding menopause.