While every woman knows about menopause, few truly understand it; most women have never honestly thought too long about what will happen to them and how to adjust their lifestyle to the changes when their turn comes. Maybe you feel some negative emotions around this topic, either for yourself or a loved one. Like with anything, knowledge is power.
Menopause can be a challenging time. Around our mid to late forties, our bodies start preparing for the shutdown of our reproductive system. This shift produces a rapid decrease in estrogen, which affects our hormonal balance. It is almost a second puberty because, little by little, our reproductive organs are developing in new ways. As a result, what we have become familiar with over three decades is changing.
There are 34 commonly acknowledged menopause symptoms. Some are caused by changing hormones, and others by sudden nutrient deficiencies and stress. In addition, the confusion and loss of identity at this time may also contribute to menopausal discomfort.
The 6 Most Common Menopause Symptoms
- Hot Flashes / Night Sweats
- Mood Swings / Depression
- Loss of Libido / Vaginal Dryness
- Irregular Periods
- Weight Gain
- Belly Fat
Less acknowledged symptoms include odor change, hair loss, brittle nails, panic disorder, and itchiness, among others…Being an individual adventure, no two women experience menopause the same way. But read on, as there is much to learn to improve your outcomes!
Stress Makes Everything Worse
Your stress management skills become near nonexistent as you enter the natural menopause process, affecting brain chemicals and changing sleep patterns. As a result, it alters your ability to deal with stress. Anxiety, depression, sadness, and stress impact physical, emotional, and mental health and worsen the symptoms, especially in times of hardship (such as COVID-19 and its aftermath!). Many women have been forced to make drastic professional adjustments to survive the economic crash caused by the pandemic. Moreover, many women are still working during menopause in our society, as the average retirement age for women is 65.
As women, we often tend to put our needs last, after our families, loved ones, and/or business. As a result, we push through the challenges life throws at us and ignore our body’s distress signals, potentially aggravating the symptoms or creating unexpected health challenges. The good news? You can make a different choice.
A Healthy Lifestyle Makes Everything Better
The healthier your lifestyle, the easier your menopause experience will be. This includes getting enough sleep, adhering to a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly. In addition, incorporating stress management skills to help you cope is a must.
Quick Life Hacks for Menopause
- Eating spicy foods and drinking alcohol aggravate night sweats and hot flashes
- Using lubricants helps vaginal dryness and uncomfortable sexual intercourse
- Eating balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables prevents weight gain
- Eating more fiber shrinks your belly
- Regular exercise helps with weight management as well as mood behavior
Women over 50 need to get off the treadmill and into the strength training room, which slows down the aging process and helps regulate hormonal imbalances. Yes, you are more than capable of high-intensity resistance training and can benefit from this activity, both physically and mentally. (Always use your best judgment & consult a doctor as needed). Younger than 50? Well, you can start practicing this now and your future self will thank you.
Osteoporosis risk skyrockets after menopause. Therefore, strength training, which includes increasingly lifting heavier weights, is vital to building bone and muscle strength. Additionally, it burns body fat, revs up your metabolism, and serves as an excellent stress management tool.
Strength Training Yields Many Additional Health Benefits for Women 50+
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased arthritis pain
- Maintenance and improvement in lower back health/pain management
- Increased functional independence
- Improved gait velocity
- Improved sleep
- Decreased depressive symptoms
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Increased self-efficacy
- Increased overall physical activity level
Strength training is an effective way to maintain physical activity and increase balance and coordination. Due to these physiological changes, postmenopausal women fearful of falls or a broken hip are more likely to avoid injury.
Strength training makes you stronger, which makes you feel better. When you feel better, everything becomes more manageable. The surge of feel-good healing neurochemicals floods your brain, enabling you to make better lifestyle choices.
Feel and look amazing
How you feel about yourself is most important, but you will look better, too! A dependable strength training program combined with correct ergonomic applications and consistency will potentially produce a beautiful, toned, firm feminine physique and a new lease on life. Perhaps you will never regain the 20-something body you may still dream about; however, you can claim emotional and physical well-being today by changing your mindset and priorities.
A change in perspective
In many indigenous cultures, where communities are deeply rooted in earthly wisdom, menopause is considered to be a sacred time for a woman to access her spiritual and healing powers. For example, the Vedas view menopause as a period when she has an opportunity to deepen her connection with spirit by going within.
Some gratitude and a shift in perspective can make the difference between experiencing dreadful menopause and transforming it into a profound journey of inner self-discovery.
Don’t focus on the symptoms, and don’t dwell on what is gone. Instead, be thankful and appreciate the body bestowed upon you so far.
“It’s not like 50 is the new 30. It’s like 50 is the new chapter.” – Sharon Stone
Be grateful for the opportunity to begin a new stage in your life. Look forward to the journey ahead by practicing self-love and self-care and by starting a trustworthy strength training program. You might even admire the emerging muscular appearance and newfound inner and outer strength reflected in the mirror.
Make menopause the beginning of the rest of your life by starting now.