As women go through menopause, they may encounter symptoms that can impact their lives in a negative way. Insomnia, irritability and depression are just a few of these symptoms.
Practising self-care is important for all people. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to look after ourselves. In particular, its important for women to practise self-care as they age.
A Google definition of self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Another definition is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Typically, women will take care of everyone else before doing anything for themselves. Women are programmed that way with the help of hormones.
Humans have the longest developmental period (longest childhood) compared to other species. This is part of the reason for the human species being so successful, from an evolutionary perspective, on Earth.
As a consequence, humans now dominate the planet and all else in it.
This, and the way modern women are living have contributed to major stress issues in women.
Women are usually the primary care-givers of children and young people. And, women can spend up to a quarter of their lives, and even more if they have children years apart, rearing children.
Not only this, but women do most of the household chores as well as having full-time jobs and businesses. So, women are usually quite stressed just with coping with the everyday demands.
By the time women begin to experience peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms, they are often burned out already and have only practised the most basic in self-care so as to keep up with the demands on their lives and families.
When menopause hits, many women are not used to giving themselves proper self-care but this is when it becomes essential.
With the more severe symptoms like insomnia and depression, women just simply can’t continue as they did. Something has to give!
At this stage, good self-care is a non-negotiable.
Self-care is not selfish. We need to look after ourselves first and then, and only then, give to others. It is like when you are in an aeroplane during the safety demonstration and the flight attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask first and only then, can you help others with theirs. It is common sense.
So, what does self-care look like?
Simply, it is having a balanced life.
Raphailia Michael, a psychologist wrote about the 3 golden rules:
- What are some things that re-energise you? Stick to the basics first and find a couple of things what work for you.
- It needs to be something you actively plan. Get committed to your plans by writing them into your calendar and announcing them to others.
- Keep a conscious mind about what works for you. If you do not see it as self-care, it won’t work as such.
Here are some self-care tips:
Write out what resonates with you and schedule them into your routine. Also, if it does not look like self-care to you, ignore it and look at the rest of the list. You may also have some things you do that you consider to be self-care that are not on the list. That is fine. Go ahead and schedule these.
- Get good quality sleep. Go to bed (as much as possible) at the same time each night. Ensure the bedroom is dark and cool. Sleep in loose and comfortable clothing. If your partner snores, have somewhere you can retreat to if necessary, e.g. another bedroom.
- Eat nutritious food, mostly alkaline food. This helps with energy levels, gut health and stress management. Avoid (as much as possible) processed food and sugar and limit caffeine, especially before bed.
- Get regular exercise. This helps reduce stress levels. Find activities that you enjoy. It could be walking in the park, dancing in the lounge room or doing organised activities with others e.g. going to the gym, going to yoga classes or playing golf or tennis. Do something every day, even if it is just walking around the block. Get that body moving. It is designed to move!
- Take time out for yourself. Take a bubble bath, get a massage, get a manicure and pedicure, meditate, read for pleasure.
- Maintain friendships. Connect regularly with friends and family and do activities with them that give you joy. Eliminate or limit spending time with people you consider to be ‘energy suckers’. You know who they are.
- Plan something to look forward to e.g. a trip, weekend away, date night or outing with friends.
- Get a life coach. When our life changes, as it does as we age, we often want different things to what we wanted when we were younger. A life coach can help you define exactly what you want now and support you in getting it. Also, childhood wounds can surface when the hormonal veil is lifted at menopause and you then have the opportunity to heal with the help of a coach. You will be living the life you want as a consequence.
- Be kind to yourself. Instead of the negative self-talk and self-flagellation, encourage yourself and speak to yourself in a positive way. Also, reward yourself when you accomplish challenging. This will increase your self-esteem and confidence.
- Create a ‘NO’ list with the things you don’t like nor want to do. Then don’t do them, even if you feel obligated. Just say ‘no thanks’! Creating boundaries and communicating them with love and compassion can be very powerful and uplifting.
- Get regular medical checks with your doctor/s and alternative health care practitioners.
- Laugh …. Even if it is at yourself. Laughing produces endorphins (happy chemicals) in your body.
- Outsource things you don’t want to do e.g. cleaning, ironing and administrivia. This will buy you time so you can do more self-care.
- Getting the help you need for your peri-menopause and menopause symptoms. There are a myriad of treatments out there ranging from over-the-counter products to HRT. Alternative therapies like acupuncture can also help. Many women respond well to bio-identical hormones from the Australian Menopause Centre.
Your mindset is 90% of your success in your life. Just by improving your mindset, even if nothing else changes, your life can turn around very quickly. Having the mindset that you deserve, the self-care that you give yourself is 90% of the success feeling good.
If you would like support with your mindset and self-care, you can book a complimentary quick chat with me, you can book an appointment using my online calendar at https://calendly.com/gcmitchell58/quick-chat
You can also check out my website www.midlifecoachingforwomen.com.au
Walter, C. ‘Why Are We the Last Apes Standing?’. Slate, January 29, 2013. Web. Accessed January 17, 2019:
Michael, R. ‘What Self-care Is – And What It Isn’t’. Psych Central, August 10, 2016. Web. Accessed January 17, 2019:
Leech, J. ‘The Alkaline Diet: An Evidence-Based Review’. Healthline, October 2, 2018. Web. Accessed January 17, 2019.