If you’re approaching menopause and have started noticing changes to your body, mind and monthly menstrual cycle it may be comforting to know there are many other women experiencing exactly the same things you’re going through. For many women, approaching menopause is a daunting time. This is heightened when women are not equipped with education, information or support to guide them through this natural phase of life.
As educators and certified coaches, we’re here to help you focus on the five pillars of whole health and understand how you can manage menopause naturally. Menopause is defined as no longer having a period for 12 months. This is when you officially reach menopause and the end of your reproductive years. It’s the lead up to that time, known as perimenopause, where women struggle the most.
During perimenopause a woman’s body and ovaries produce less and less hormones, namely oestrogen and progesterone. The lack of hormones can contribute to a number of physical symptoms that range from aches and pains, bloating, heavy bleeding or missed periods, lack of energy, weight gain, hot flushes and fatigue. It can also trigger emotional symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and mood swings.
What happens in Perimenopause?
The drop in hormones may also lead to the development of longer-term health issues such as osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke. However, when women are in tune with their bodies and looking after their whole health it minimises the risk of health issues.
So, let’s take a closer look at the five pillars of health and how they can naturally help you manage your perimenopause symptoms and focus on your whole health.
5 Pillars of Whole Health
It’s our philosophy that the following five pillars will support your whole health. In fact, the earlier you focus on these elements, the easier the transition to menopause will be.
The self is the core, it’s you. We specifically shine a light on the self because although we are all a physical body with the same organs, flesh, muscles, we are all unique. And the one thing we tend to overlook is our physiology, our biology and the make-up of us.
The self is not a stand-alone pillar but rather the engine that is made up of the other pillars. The added bonus for us women is we have a biological cycle that happens every month that enlightens us with opportunities to reconnect with our self, our intentions, our health. Unfortunately, we may rarely give ourselves permission to stop and notice our monthly cycle. Give yourself the opportunity to be still and simply listen.
Mental Health is all about the mind. The greatest lesson you can take from here is that we all have mental health and we all need to nurture it. Mental health is about exercising the mind and connecting it with the rest of your body. It was highlighted at our Menopause Panel Discussion by menopause expert, Dr Fatima Khan, that over 50% of perimenopausal women present with mental health symptoms. We’re only touching the tip of the iceberg when we mention anxiety, low mood, depression, low self-esteem and headaches among many other symptoms.
Claim back your power and do one thing that supports your mental health each day. Our top tip for supporting your mental health is:
Make time to learn.
You can sharpen your mental health through the power of learning, growth and development. It is an innate need as a human being to learn throughout life. Through learning, we develop possibilities for change, new desires and a world of opportunity.
Note, if you’re keen to try meditation or yoga, Natalie runs weekly online classes. These are great for beginners and also for the more experienced. Click here to check out days and times of classes.
In peri menopause and menopause, there are so many hormonal changes happening and this sees our brain working hard to adapt and keep on track. These changes will affect our emotional health, where women experience many symptoms, one of them being mood changes that sees them calm one minute and then angry the next. Know that this is totally normal. You are not experiencing a change in personality!
Most women want social support and to joyfully connect with other people. When you have positive connections with others, you release happy hormones into your blood stream which creates feelings of higher self esteem, greater self satisfaction, lower levels of stress and potentially a longer life. Feeling connected to others on a much deeper level and knowing that you are part of a community, a tribe or workforce greater than yourself can be so powerful to your emotional health.
The greatest thing you can do to support your emotional health is:
Honour your emotions
It’s a good time to explore where these emotions are coming from. Accept that they can indeed change during this time. If you continue to hold on to emotions from years gone by or have feelings of being undervalued or invisible this is going to impact your ability to move forward and enjoy the next phase of your life.
Spiritual health is about nurturing the spiritual parts of you – your values, your purpose, your passions, connecting with your intuition and following your gut. When you align yourself with your values, you make easier choices to how you want to live and how you want to show up in your life. You feel more confident, energised and productive because you can be sure in yourself that you are living with purpose.
The most valuable step you can take in harnessing your spiritual health during perimenopause is to:
Identify your values.
This helps you find meaning in all aspects of your life. Understanding your values helps drive your decisions, increases your confidence and provides you with purpose.
There is a great correlation between your physical health, energy and vitality. Despite the many messages that tell us how we should move, what to eat and how to sleep, being your best physical self, rests with you. Through movement, nutrition and good rest you will feel more energised, focused and confident in pursuing your best life. Recent research has discovered that we can be poor judges of our physical health and can neglect certain aspects, deeming them not that important.
One of the critical aspects of our physical health that is often overlooked is:
When our body doesn’t get enough sleep it affects our health, our mood, our energy, productivity and our cognitive capacities. Sleep is crucial to our hormone health during our peri menopause and menopause years. Have a routine that promotes a good night’s sleep.
Navigating perimenopause and the changes that occur won’t always be easy. There will be days when things feel difficult and other days when things feel balanced and flow easily. When you focus on the five pillars of health you can manage menopause naturally and from a holistic viewpoint.
It may seem a little daunting at first when you want to incorporate changes into your daily life, but a few minutes each day is all you need. Choose one action or activity you want to focus on and make one small change at a time. Soon enough you’ll notice changes in your self – as well as your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.
We have created Peri Menopause Power to help women be empowered so that they can control the impact of this life phase and embrace it with all that it has to offer.
This is your safe space to connect with YOU. This is your safe space of education, life nurturing strategies and most importantly connection and community with other women in the same boat as you.
The potential to live your best life, no matter what life stage is within you. We simply empower you to embrace it. Reclaim yourself on the journey through Menopause, click here to learn more.