Don’t worry, we aren’t going to bash you over the head with false positivity and tell you to enjoy your hot flashes as power surges. They are what they are, mostly uncomfortable and inconvenient.
There is, however, a place for a more positive perception and representation of menopause amongst us all. There is a brilliantly insightful quote from Ashton Applewhite. “The fear of dying is human. The fear of ageing is cultural”. Through time we have learnt to fear ageing. Now is the time to unlearn it. Without being morbid, ageing is a privilege denied to many. By unlearning this fear created by society we are free to live life as we choose.
We don’t need to talk about menopause in hushed tones.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed talking about our symptoms.
We don’t need to accept ‘you look good for your age’ as a compliment.
The problem is, ageism it’s all around us. Birthday cards. Anti-ageing skincare. Age appropriate clothing. Who the hell made up these rules?
We don’t need to be apologetic about life during perimenopause and post menopause. This is certainly a new stage of our lives and with that comes change and it’s not all bad. It can be difficult to adjust our lifestyle habits in the beginning but from our personal experience as menopausal symptoms increase there comes a breaking point that the impact of our old choices on symptoms just isn’t worth it. So, if it’s wine that is causing more intense migraines, make a switch. If it’s caffeine in the evening ramping up your hot flash, yes you know what’s coming…make a switch.
Menopause really isn’t the beginning of the end, we aren’t going downhill. It’s the start of something new. And with all things new, it’s good to keep an open mind. While HRT has certainly given relief from some of our symptoms it isn’t a magic bullet. It has been HRT plus other lifestyle adjustments that have really made a positive difference to how we feel and live our lives. Moving more, whether that is exercising or simply popping out for a walk make a real difference to our mood and focus. Recognising when alcohol and caffeine impact our symptoms and making a different choice. Tracking our irregular periods and being aware of how they are changing over time. Recognising that changes in our skin require skincare products that are developed specifically with our hormones and menopausal skin changes in mind.
If there is someone in your life who is showing signs of perimenopause, be a friend and share our FREE Guide to Perimenopause. The idea for the guide came when we were developing Living M with a community of brilliant women. They spoke about how they wished they knew more of what was ahead and how they could prepare themselves for it. The guide includes symptoms, experiences from our Living M community, lifestyle advice and many great resources such as podcasts and books to help you along the way.
So whilst in broader society menopause still isn’t treated as the same way as puberty – a period of hormonal change – and is intrinsically linked to ageing, the real change needs to come from us who are experiencing it. The way that we view it, and in some way, embrace it will have a ripple effect on those around us. If we view it as a force for positive change, then they are just all going to have to catch up.