A post by wellness nurse Mary Buchan:
In the last post, I identified and described the 7 Dwarfs of Menopause in detail. My encounter with them helped me with my own defensive strategy for dealing with these annoying creatures. Now it is my turn: Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to work I go.
When they began to show up at my house a few years ago, it was like a mini invasion. Very suddenly without warning, it was as if a switch to my inner furnace was turned on and I began waking up in the middle of the night hot and drenched with sweat. I would get up, change my night gown, go back to bed, sleep awhile then repeat until the next internal heat wave hit.
I was hoping the hot flashes were just passing through and would stop but they didn’t. I was tired, cried at the drop of a hat, irritable and basically miserable. After 3 months of hot flash bombardment I realized, it was time to ask for help.
I want to share about how I mounted a counterattack against these troublesome tormentors…
First of all I want to say that addressing and alleviating the factors that contribute to hormonal imbalance is vital and not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A multifaceted approach is the best strategy. Dr. Christiane Northrup states in The Wisdom of Menopause, “It is important to realize that hormonal support can be a smorgasbord.” In other words, there are many alternatives and strategies that can be used in addition to hormone therapy.
I did my research and assessed my lifestyle habits including: diet, exercise routine, sleep habits and stress level and realized that I needed to make a few changes if I wanted survive and thrive in this new phase of my life. So I created my own personal Menopause Care Plan…
I took a look at my diet and identified the toxic foods that needed to be removed. I worked more fruits and vegetables into my diet and made sure I drank plenty of water. I increased the good fats like legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and oils. These good fats are the starting point for hormone balance.
I created and followed a more consistent exercise program including both cardiovascular and strength training components. I walk 5 days per week for at least 30 minutes and strength train 2 days per week. It is well documented that regular exercise reduces physical and emotional stress and releases endorphins, the happy hormone, a great tool for zapping the dwarves.
I gave more attention to my sleep schedule and bed time ritual. I personally need 8 hours of sleep on most nights. I’ve learned that hormone balance occurs mostly during deep sleep which also supports a healthy serotonin balance. Serotonin helps keep our moods balanced.
Finally I looked at my life and listed all of the energy sappers. I listed 50 items that I needed to delete or get in order so that I could experience less stress and more peace. This exercise not only helped me decrease my stress but increased the productivity in my life.
Ready or not, these dwarves may show up in your life. You can take control and alleviate your discomfort in natural ways with lifestyle changes, hormone replacement therapy (preferably Bioidentical Hormone Replacement), and alternative medicine strategies.
One last tip… Create your own Menopause Tool Box. This critical toolbox should be amply supplied with the following items:
- Combat Sweaty (hot flashes) with a fan, a tank top, and a cool, damp rag.
- Overcome Itchy (dryness) with lubricants, moisturizing lotions, and by drinking lots of water.
- Outsmart Forgetful by doing puzzles and other activities that exercise your brain cells.
- Do aerobic activities to put Bitchy and Weepy on the run. And if needed, don’t feel bad if you also require the help of an antidepressant and a box of tissues.
Finally, be sure to limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. And avoid such things as smoking and spicy foods, which can open the Menopause Pandora’s Box. Trust me: Nobody wants to open that box.
The good news is that when you get past the battle and learn how to deal with these miniature tormenters , you can experience more energy, fun, passion for life. I am living proof!
Let me close with this thought about the seven dwarves of menopause: (1) They are sneaky little guys, and you may not be able to avoid them entirely, no matter what you do. But don’t despair, because (2) With a few simple tools—and lots of patience—you can WIN this battle and maintain your sanity. At least most of time.
So hold on to your seat belt. Before long, “happily ever after” is bound to return.
Don’t forget to send me your personal stories about how you encountered and overcame the seven dwarves of menopause!
Mary Buchan has spent the past 30 years as a wife, mother, registered nurse and singer/songwriter. In 2012 she re-purposed her nurse’s cap to start her own coaching practice with a focus on life reinvention. Mary is also a blogger and the author of the soon to be released book Over It: How To Live Above Your Circumstances and Beyond Yourself (Spark Publications).
Check out Mary’s website, where you can also find her blog: http://marybuchan.com/