There is a stigma attached to the menopause in our society where it is viewed as more than a time when a woman is no longer fertile. It’s viewed as a sign she is growing old and less attractive than before. Add in the raging hormones, hot flashes, and mood swings and you have a life crisis waiting to erupt.
I recently talk to Jennifer Harrington of Menopause Natural Solution and she shed some light on the fact of menopause – the hows, whys, and need to know of how to do more than survive menopause. Jennifer shares how she teaches her clients to cope and thrive through the change.
I won’t deny, menopause mostly deserves its bad rap, ripe with frustration-inducing symptoms like hot flashes, brain fog, weight gain, and mood swings. But take this to heart: The change doesn’t have to be this big, awful thing you fear or must suffer through. Unlike other hormonally tumultuous times like puberty and pregnancy, you’ve actually got a lot more control over how you weather this one.
Jennifer explained the correlation between puberty and menopause during our conversation. Think back to when you were a teenager going through puberty. You veered from anger and despair to laughter and happiness on an almost hourly basis. My guess that if you’re here reading this blog, you’re not an adolescent. If you’re at that time of your life when your periods are becoming erratic and your sleep patterns change and you feel more anxious, depressed, angry or irritable than before, the odds are your more intense emotional state is connected to changes going on physically. Same — or similar — to adolescence, then. Only in our teens the floodgates of our reproductive hormones are being opened and, in the run up to menopause (known as ‘perimenopause’), they are closing.
Our brains actually begin to change at perimenopause. Like the rising heat in our bodies, our brains also become fired up! Sparked by the hormonal changes that are typical during the menopausal transition, a switch goes on that signals changes in our temporal lobes, the brain region associated with enhanced intuition. How this ultimately affects us depends to a large degree on how willing we are to make the changes in our lives that our hormones are urging us to make. This is why so many women no longer feel the need to hide their feelings or suppress their words as they approach 40 and beyond.
But there are many factors that contribute to the levels of effect the hormones have on you. Stress, toxins, internal health conditions, and the amount of sleep and exercise you get, all play roles in the way your body reacts during perimenopause. Here are 3 tips from Jennifer Harrington for dealing with life during menopause.
Let’s start with stress.
Reducing stress is crucial for easing up the frustration of hot flashes. Aanxiety and stress preceded hot flashes among perimenopausal and post-menopausal women. Your typical stress-coping strategies may need to be adjusted because of the high levels of stress that may be occurring as a result of physical changes during menopause.
Jennifer suggests adding exercise to your routine. Though it may seem counter-intuitive (I mean you’re already hot right?), over time the exercising can actually help reduce the hot flashes.
Check your environment.
Have you ever thought of going plastic-free? If not, now’s a good time. When you heat up plastic, it leaches toxins into your food. Those toxins are stored in your bones. While this isn’t good for younger women, Jennifer explains that it’s more dangerous as you get older.
“Your body’s really smart because if it keeps toxins in your bloodstream, you’re going to die. Right?” Instead it says, ‘Let’s put it into storage.’ Using lead as an example, that loves to be stored in your bones. And it’s not really safe in your bones because it’s displacing calcium and making your bones brittle but it’s not going to kill you instantly. But when you go through perimenopause and menopause, your estrogen levels start to lower, your bone mass starts to decrease and — yes ladies — re-released into the bloodstream and can cause symptoms very similar to menopause.”
Jennifer goes on to explain why you should bring this up to your doctor. ” for me, it’s so important to have a look what your toxic load is. Because at this point in life, it’s going to be released. And fat cells are another area that we really like to store fat soluble toxins.”
So now’s the time to start removing toxins.
On gaining weight
While you’re talking to your doctors about possible toxins in your system, ask about having your thyroid and adrenal glands checked as well. Many women going through perimenopause and menopause worry about weight gain. While it can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to be an inevitability. And the cause may not be your hormones. Jennifer suggested asking your doctor to check your thyroid and adrenals as both can contribute to weight gain, especially under stressful conditions.
As you begin to navigate your way through permimenopause and beyond, remember that have more control than you think. Rather than being swept away for the force of nature that is coming your way, decide. Decide that you are going to understand your body, what is happening, your options, and most importantly the kind of magic you want to create at this point in your life.
To listen to my whole conversation with Jennifer as we dive in deeper and she shares even more tips, check out this episode of Fit Girl Magic.
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