Feb 16, 2024 Wellness Tips AMC Team 23 views

How Loved Ones Can Support Your Menopausal Journey

Life’s big challenges certainly have a way of testing our resilience and adaptability. Menopause is one such significant life event, affecting not just the individual in the midst of it, but also those around her. Open communication with family and friends is a key cornerstone for navigating through this time with love and support. It’s understandably tough to face such challenges alone, so by collaborating with loved ones to develop an understanding of the menopausal experience and what may be ahead, everyone involved can do their part in easing the journey. 

This is particularly true for women who may be prone to enduring menopause in silence, accustomed to catering to their family’s needs while minimising their own. Balancing work, parenting, maintaining a household, and protecting a vibrant personal world requires significant resources – by removing the risk of ‘suffering in silence’, we can build supportive environments for women navigating menopause’s unknowns. Here’s how loved ones can play a key role in offering that necessary support. 

First things first: your family needs to know what menopause is

Understanding the complexities of menopause can be daunting, even for the women experiencing it! For family members and friends, grasping these changes without personal experience adds another layer of challenge. However, silence isn’t the solution. It’s crucial to ensure your support network is educated and equipped with necessary information about changes occurring during menopause, so that they’re ready to support you in the way you’ll need.

One easy way you can do so is by sharing resources about menopause that can play an invaluable role in forming a united front. By providing your loved ones with access to some of the material you’re likely coming across yourself (such as information about hot flushes, an understanding of different menopausal stages, and practical daily tips for menopause management), you’re able to offer your loved ones a window into your experience. This approach also eliminates the burden of explanation and fosters understanding. We’ve compiled various resources to aid in this process, ensuring your family and friends have the tools to support you effectively through this life stage.

Struggling with navigating the ups and downs of menopause? Contact the Australian Menopause Centre to find holistic resources and personalised treatment pathways.

It’s not business as usual

An essential realisation for family and friends is that menopause signifies a departure from the norm. This isn’t ‘business as usual.’ The changes a woman undergoes during menopause can be profound, affecting energy levels, bodily sensations, and overall well-being. Without understanding these transformations, planning and adjusting to them can be challenging (if not impossible). 

Establishing an ongoing dialogue about fluctuating energy, hormonal needs, and capacities is key to a smoother transition. Ladies, take note: this is yet another scenario where suffering in silence does more harm than good. Abilities and limits may shift, and what was once manageable may now be overwhelming. It’s vital to recognise these changes and create space – space for rest, play, relaxation, and crucially, for supporting the body through this period of transformation.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Menopause, like any major life transition, brings communication to the forefront. This period may require reevaluating and strengthening communication patterns with loved ones in order to make sure you’re supported in the way you need. If you’ve traditionally been more reserved or suffered in silence, menopause is a critical time to start articulating your needs.

One way to counteract communication pitfalls is to introduce regular check-ins with your partner or family. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, these meetings can help assess how menopause is affecting your capacities and schedule. 

It’s also a time to request understanding and flexibility from friends and family. There will be days when plans might need to change due to fluctuating energy levels or mood swings, and the more your community is prepared for this, the easier it is to accommodate these needs. 

Initiating these conversations at home can also serve as valuable practice for tougher discussions in other areas of your life, such as the workplace. As awareness around menopausal needs in professional settings grows, more and more is being done towards recognising what women need during these transition seasons – but we’re not there yet. Starting with your loved ones can provide a safe environment to develop and refine these skills, which can then be transferred to other aspects of your life, including your professional world.

Practical support opportunities

During the menopausal transition, practical support from family and friends can be incredibly valuable. This support can manifest in various forms that are tailored to your changing needs and circumstances.

A key aspect of practical support may be taking tasks off your plate, allowing you more time for self-care amidst the ongoing changes. Consider redistributing household chores that you’ve traditionally handled (even if it feels uncomfortable to ask others to take them – in fact, especially then!). This change not only eases your daily load but also symbolises a shared responsibility within your home that can provide a more holistic approach to your menopause experience.

Health management is another area where support is invaluable. Menopause often involves multiple check-ups and specialist appointments. You may find that having a loved one attend these appointments with you can provide significant comfort and relief, with the level of their involvement adjusted based on your personal preferences.

Additionally, adapting your home to better suit your menopausal needs can make a significant difference. This could involve modifying your sleeping environment to ensure comfort during symptoms like night sweats, or adjusting family routines to align with your energy levels. Small, thoughtful adjustments that involve your loved ones can create a nurturing, supportive, and sustainable home atmosphere.

Emotional support considerations

It may be obvious to note that emotional support is one way your family and friends can support you throughout menopause, but this area is still surprisingly under-discussed and under-resourced. For some of us, our families are significant and natural sources of emotional support. For others, this may need to be consciously developed and nurtured, especially if it represents new territory for you and your loved ones to navigate through together. 

Prioritising shared activities that bring joy and connection, intentionally building open conversations into your regular routines, and practising patience and empathy for each other are simple ways that can significantly increase your emotional support resources.

Conclusion

Navigating menopause can bring with it profound challenges, but by intentionally leaning on your loved ones, you can avoid the loneliness of navigating it alone. Find more support for every stage of your menopause experience with the Australian Menopause Centre. Together, with your loved ones, we can build a firm foundation for all that’s ahead.

About The Author - AMC Team

Our team consists of doctors, nurses, program assistants, naturopaths and nutritionists that join their wealth of knowledge to offer our patients and website visitors interesting and insightful articles to assist you understand the symptoms you are experiencing and how to relieve them.

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