7 years ago, I felt in a good place, after meeting my husband 3 years earlier, we had successfully merged two families, he with 3 older children, 13, 16 and 19 and me with a 5-year-old.
Life was good. We had the usual ups and downs of family life, but that let us know we were getting it right. It was real, and I felt calm and incredibly happy.
One night I remember going to bed, as usual, I had a shower, moisturised, crawled into bed, read for a while and kissed my husband goodnight.
The following morning, I woke, went into the bathroom looked in the mirror and cried – I had no idea who the woman was staring back at me – I looked different, I felt different – what was happening? Why did I not recognise her?
I sat on the bathroom floor for over an hour, crying uncontrollably, feeling very scared, confused, and incredibly lost. I was 38.
From that moment, I received a new gift from nature with increasing regularity, hot sweats, or as my kids would call them 'miffys' – joint pain that was so painful I struggled to hold a knife and fork.
Anxiety - Woah! Don't even talk to me about driving in the dark and whose fabulous idea was it to put concrete motorway barriers up on nearly every road I had to drive down.
Depression - how low can you go? I was so low, I didn't have the strength to pull myself up, all I wanted to do was cry, sleep, and drink wine. So I did that a lot.
My libido had been packed in a box and placed in the back of a cupboard somewhere.
And I felt tired, so very tired all of the time.
What scared me the most was the memory loss, aka brain fog.
I'd always silently praised myself on my skill of remembering a name, face, birthday, the ability to do a simple sum in my head, and to be able to go to the supermarket without a list and come out with the items I actually went in to buy.
Alas, my house became beautifully decorated with neon post-it notes, I cannot even begin to count the number of times (probably because I've forgotten) that I've walked from one room to another and forgot why I was there. Or the number of times I have looked in the fridge for the remote control. Even remembering a conversation while still having it was really tough.
And on top of all of this, I still had periods, sometime lasting 10 weeks…. I'm am kidding you not.
Mother Nature's sense of humour at this time was a little off.
I love rollercoasters, but this one was a joke. It took 4 years before finally the Doctor's agreed I was peri-menopausal. I was no longer depressed, suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, or losing the plot, I was hormonal.
It should never have taken that time, but it did.
I later found out that Peri-Menopause could last 10 years……What?!
Then my periods would stop, and only after they had stopped for a minimum of 12 months would I be classed as going through the Menopause….Are you joking?!
The thing is, the Peri-Menopause and Menopause doesn't just affect us, it affects everyone in our lives.
I would like to share with you my 8 tips to 'Reframe the Change'
Communication is vital – Speak to family and friends, let them know what you are going through and what they can do to help.
If you are in a relationship, your partner is scared too. It's become so easy to say 'my partner doesn't understand me' of course they don't. You're changing, physically, and emotionally, so keep them in the loop don't allow a barrier to come between you.
I've sat with my husband and spent hours drawing out mind maps (I love mind maps) on how we are feeling and what we can both do (realistically) to support each other.
Some days it may just be "I have no idea what is going on with me today, so bear with me'.
Join online support groups, letting others know what you know and how you feel.
Sharing stories positively is incredibly healing and comforting to know that you are not alone.
"Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else's survival guide." — Morgan Harper Nichols
Set a regular Date Night – this is a game-changer!
This will keep the spark alive when Mother Nature is trying very hard to throw a big bucket of water on the fire.
Time alone doing something you both enjoy is so important. Chatting about the things you love to do together, it keeps us from falling into the void.
This time together will keep you connected.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
We spend so much of our lives listening to other's needs, wants, and opinions – now is the time to listen to yourself and be honest.
The most important question I asked myself and the one that created a shift was-
"What did I want from life, my life?"
The answer didn't appear magically, but over a few weeks, I got closer and closer.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EMOTIONS
We're programmed from a young age on how and when to show or not show emotions – they're YOUR emotions, your soul's way of communicating with you – don't shut them up or ignore them.
Instead, embrace them, acknowledge what they're trying to tell you.
A great way to do this is to write how you feel in a journal – sometimes you just need to ask yourself Why? a few times, sometimes you just need to accept the emotion take a breath, and let it go, no questions asked.
Whatever you do, listen, your inner guide will never be wrong.
Sometimes, sitting on the bottom step of the stairs and having a good cry is just what you need.
It works wonders for me.
Without a doubt, this has been life-changing. I never had a problem with alcohol, but I was definitely drinking way too much.
When you mix unacknowledged emotions and wine, gin, or negroni's, it's like mixing baking soda and vinegar – it will bubble over and get out of hand.
Since removing alcohol from my life, I have become calmer, sleep better, my stress levels reduced, and my blood pressure went from 180/90 (yes, it really was that high) to 121/68.
My mood is brighter, and I can't remember the last time I had a cross word, let alone an argument with my husband.
Choose a move that you love, do what makes you feel great, dancing in the kitchen, hula hooping, HIIT, swimming, roller skating. Whatever it is, release those happy hormones – add in some strength training to protect your bones.
Making this a daily habit – 30 mins a day will change your mind, body, and soul.
Exercise improves brain health and memory, increases energy, improves sleep, and will help you feel happier.
What's not to love.
SAY ADIOS, FAREWELL, Au REVOIR to NEGATIVITY
People, thoughts, TV, Radio whatever it is, if something or someone brings negativity near you, pick up your superhero shield and deflect it.
You're in control, and you're the master of your thoughts. Do not allow others to invade and plant their negative seeds.
We can all have bad mornings, we hear something awful on the news, we get stuck in traffic, which puts us in a bad mood. That's the moment we need to reframe, no person or situation can make us angry, we choose that emotion.
Count to 10, breathe and choose positivity.
Repeat after me I AM vibrant, I AM enough, I AM strong, I AM happy.
WRITE YOUR NEXT CHAPTER
When going through this change, it's so easy to allow the Menopause to take over. You are more than the Menopause, you have an amazing story to create.
Take out your journal and write down what life, your life, the life you want, will look like in 12 months.
This is your story, so as nature shakes it up a bit, embrace it, begin to dream BIG then boldly and courageously go and achieve those dreams.
Life throws us curve balls just to keep us on our toes.
I believe that when these things happen, it's the universe reminding us that we are made of stronger stuff and to not forget who we truly are.
We grow from our experiences - we just need to be brave enough to embrace them.
" Breathe, darling, this is only a chapter. It's not your whole story".
This is not the end of your story but the beginning of a bright new chapter.
We survived puberty, we can rock the Menopause.
So next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself - Who am I?
'I am brave' 'I am courageous' 'I am kind' 'I am passionate' 'I am ME'.
Love & light
To discuss how I can help you navigate the Peri-Menopause and beyond click here
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