Embracing the perimenopausal dance of the in-between ages.
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve heard a thing or two about perimenopause and/or menopause. And there’s a good chance that you’re not looking forward to it. Well read on. Because we’re here to tell you that perimenopause doesn’t have to mean the end for you. The end of fertility. The end of feeling sexy and desirable. The end of life as you know it. In fact, we’re here to tell you that this is the time for embracing the perimenopausal dance. To kick up your feet and boogie.
Although this stage brings with it many changes, we’re here to help you navigate them. And to help you recognize that there’s actually an upside of perimenopause. The sooner you embrace it, the sooner you will thrive.
Tapped a nerve
About a decade after winning her Best Actress Academy Award for The English Patient, British actress Kristin Scott Thomas was awkwardly asked about how she feels about aging on the silver screen.
At the time she was well into her 60’s and remarked: “I feel just fine. I actually feel sorry for women in their 40’s. They’re not considered young and they’re not considered old, so they often don’t know what they are, or how to be, and can feel the most unsettled.”
She tapped a nerve that can only be felt by those who’ve dwelled in a state of limbo. And in many ways, like it or not, perimenopause can bring it on like nothing else.
Limbo…life in-between…stagnation. Your menstrual cycle isn’t over quite yet, but it isn’t coming on regularly either.
You’ve either accepted that your baby-making days are coming to an end, or you’re hoping for a final chance to experience creating another life. Hats off to you Halle Berry, who went for baby number two at 47.
During this time, one thing’s for sure – that nothing is for sure.
You can’t even probably plan a vacation or big event without wondering if that’ll be the time your period kicks back in.
With one foot in your youth and one foot in your later years of life, the widening gap can throw you off balance.
Tips to embracing the perimenopausal dance
Here are some tried and true ways to make friends with this stage of life….
1. Acceptance is key
Recognize that it too shall pass. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back on this perimenopausal stage of life with a wistful glance.
During perimenopause, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control over your own body and emotions. However, the more you resist and fight against the changes, the harder they are to bear. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or resigning yourself to a life of discomfort and frustration. Instead, it means acknowledging the reality of your situation and finding ways to work with it.
By practicing self-care, seeking support, and adopting a positive mindset, you can learn to manage perimenopause and thrive in spite of it. And before you know it, you’ll be looking back on this phase of life not with dread, but with a sense of pride and resilience.
2. Be the hero
Perimenopause can be a confusing and frustrating time for women. But when we take the time to understand our bodies we can put ourselves in the driver’s seat and take control. This control helps us to feel confident and this confidence can help us to advocate for the support and health care we need. Because the truth is, your doctor probably isn’t going to talk proactively about menopause with you. They might even dismiss you.
So take the time to educate yourself about perimenopause and your body. Know the symptoms – you might be really surprised by some of them. Track your period and symptoms and bring them to your doctor’s appointments. Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to your moms, sisters, friends. And definitely talk to your doctor. Find out ways to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Ladies, let’s do this together. It’s time we take charge and become the heroes of our own health stories.
3. Hydrate your body
If you do nothing else, start each day with a glass of water that contains a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Your body needs the sodium you lost overnight, and it helps you retain the water instead of quickly peeing it out. So many perimenopausal symptoms can be alleviated by this one small move alone.
So make it easy for yourself. Prep it in a thermos the night before. Or set up a pretty decanter station with some lemon wedges if you like feeling fancy. As long as it happens within the first 15 minutes of waking up, you’ll start feeling the benefits right away.
4. Nourish yourself
Enough with the pre-packaged food. I know they are convenient and that we’re always short of time. But these foods are doing no favours for perimenopausal women. And in fact, they are likely exacerbating our symptoms.
In perimenopause, it’s important for us to nourish our bodies. This means consuming a healthy and diverse diet of whole foods. Whole foods? These are foods that haven’t been refined or processed. They grow in the garden, swim in the sea or graze on the land.
They are foods rich in fibre, protein and healthy fats. We need to be eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, lean meats, and healthy fats such as olive oil. This kind of diet can offer relief from symptoms like bloating, cramping, and mood swings. And a nutritious diet can also help prevent future health problems and support healthy aging.
5. Make the effort
Decide which style of clothing suits you best and go all in. Steve Martin once tweeted: “I can’t figure out if people who wear pajamas in public have given up completely or are living their life to the fullest.”
If you’re the type who enjoys dressing up, then put in the effort. And if you can’t be wrangled out of yoga pants and sweats, then put in the effort too. Dress ‘on purpose’ instead of ‘on default’.
Choose colours and fabrics that feel good to you. Keep them clean and remember the trick of opposites. Fancy clothes with minimal make-up; or athleisure casual wear with good hair will always hit the mark.
We all have the power to be and feel amazing at any age so it’s not superficial to care. Because how you present yourself to the world is also the message you’re sending to your self-conscious mind. Make it one you’ll want to hear, every day.
6. Get moving
If you feel stuck, try to imagine it as literal ~ and MOVE out of it. Memorize this adage: You don’t stop moving because you get older, you get older because you stop moving.
So if you feel a waning passion for life or for your dreams (or don’t even know what they are anymore), just pour whatever energy you do have into your health.
Start with a simple commitment to move your body for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning so you can benefit from natural sunlight. From fatigue to bad moods to body discomfort, you can shake up a lot of perimenopausal symptoms by walking it off.
7. Dance like nobody’s watching
Or better yet, dance! No one else has to see. Put on your ultimate ‘pump you up’ playlist and Rock Out! Set a timer and spend 3 to 5 minutes. Make moves with your body that you’ve never made before. Look like a total fool. And if all else fails, do the actual limbo. And smile, because sometimes the space in-between the bar and the floor presents an opportunity to get loose, get limber and lighten up.
Embracing the perimenopausal dance will not only help get your heart rate up, it will also completely change your energy.
I do this every single morning before I start my work day. I have a play list called ‘You’ve Got This!’ and I blast a couple songs and dance by myself in the kitchen as I get my coffee ready. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel. And how much it helps me to focus once I get to my desk. Try it. You won’t look back.
Celebrate the change
So from now on, when you think of perimenopause, focus on embracing the perimenopausal dance. Yes this is a time of change for us. And even though change may feel uncomfortable at first, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing.
This is the time to reassess your life and start living fully on your own terms. Trust the wisdom and confidence you’ve gained through your life experiences. Use these to create the most satisfying and empowering life you can imagine for your second act.
And be sure to dance. There must be dancing!