Something so attention-grabbing as a hot flash is nature’s way of providing women with a gauge from which they can develop an awareness of their level of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health.
What a gift, says Dr. Karen Stillman, a DreamBuilder™ coach who has over 12 years’ experience as an obstetrician and a gynaecologist.
“Be grateful that you have something so obvious to work with. As women, we’re lucky to have these innate gauges to let us know what is going on.”
“If you have extreme hot flashes there’s probably something going on in your life that needs attention,” Stillman says.
If one is stressed, one is much more likely to experience menstrual problems, like PMS, as well as more severe symptoms of menopause.
“Some women have hot flashes from age 45 to 65, even later in life, because they’re stuck with so many thoughts of turmoil and their bodies are reflecting that.”
Having a magnificent menopause does not happen magically. It takes dedication and commitment and a conscious choice that the desire is there, otherwise it does not happen, Stillman says.
5 points to ponder on your journey to, or through, or in the magic of menopause
Practice good mental hygiene. Feed your mind with positive thoughts. Gratitude is a huge piece of the wellness puzzle. To have emotional greatness you need to practice gratitude and forgiveness. Are you always complaining about symptoms? If you are always focused on the negative aspects of symptoms, that negative energy ball just keeps growing. Shift to an attitude of gratitude. Simply being grateful for the gift of being able to embrace another day, to move, to eat, is a step in the right direction. Be grateful your body gives you symptoms to get your attention, so that you can be aware, and make positive changes.
Change your belief system. Your biggest resource will be to change your thinking; your belief system. Know that good is the enemy of great. If you’re feeling good, then you get complacent with it. Wouldn’t you rather feel great? Decide today that you are creating a great life. Be careful what you focus on. Remember, 90 per cent of our thoughts are repetitive, and mainly negative. Change your thoughts, change your life.
Deal with stress and emotional baggage sooner rather than later. Chronic, unresolved emotional stress – either from staying in a job you despise, family issues, a poor relationship or any number of reasons – can intensify perimenopausal symptoms and hormone imbalances. Though our culture depicts women during this time of change as “crazy” menopausal women, and some family members may even suggest this title is much-suited for the mom who hurls a roasted chicken out the window, this is simply not a true depiction of what is really going on, Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD and author of The Wisdom of Menopause, points out. Changing hormone levels, alone, do not cause emotional distress, but rather, brain chemistry and life circumstances also shape that experience for women, she notes. Repeated levels of stress that have not been dealt with can cause hormonal changes in the brain and body, that manifest in symptoms like anger and depression in perimenopause. In addition, women, as they enter into midlife magic, are now more willing to express emotions, like anger, as they reclaim their sense of self, she notes.
Give your body the nutritional support it needs. In her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Dr. Northrup offers the following advice: Avoid refined sugars and carbs. Eat sufficient protein at each meal. Avoid caffeine and junk food. Eat a variety of whole, real food. Support your body nutritionally with adequate levels of vitamins and minerals. She suggests taking at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day for optimal bone health. Take up to 2000 mg of vitamin C to support adrenal glands, 300 to 800 mg of magnesium daily, in divided doses, as well as a B Complex. Consult with your health care practitioner for advice on supplementation. Always remember to drink lots of water. It hydrates the body and brain to function properly and flushes out toxins. An average of 2 litres a day is recommended.
Add movement to your body every day. Walking is an excellent activity for most as it is low impact, can be scaled up with speed and hills, and is available to all ages and in all spaces. As you walk, be sure to keep your eyes up and look ahead in the distance. This not only keeps you safe, it helps you see the big picture of life and is expanding your view. It also helps your lungs take better breaths, which on its’ own is another key to great health and wellbeing. Aside from walking, consider trying yoga, tai chi, dance, or other forms of exercise or body movement that you might enjoy and have fun! Doing any activity to maintain bone strength, flexibility, mobility, muscle strength and balance for successful aging will help you be happy and healthy.