Soul Food to Help You Through Perimenopause
Getting through perimenopause is not for the weak or faint of heart. The emotional ups and downs, the insomnia, the hot flashes, night sweats, and crazy, erratic menstrual cycles that drain every ounce of energy and iron reserves from your body, takes a huge toll on women. Not to mention, coming to grips with the reality that you are no longer young and able to give birth. It’s not easy to accept that you are now somebody’s grandmother. Believe me, I know.
Eating right, exercising, nutritional supplements, hormone replacement therapy, and even regular counseling sessions, can help you navigate successfully to the other side. Now that I am personally firmly on the other side, and menopausal, I can also tell you that one of the best tonics for surviving perimenopause is to find something to do that you love – really love.
For me, that is gardening. I especially love flower gardening in the spring and early summer. Yes, it’s hard work, back breaking work to be truthful. But it’s also incredibly calming, soothing, and therapeutic. I call gardening organic Prozac, and my soul food. There’s just something about physical labor that’s good for the mind, especially if you have a job which requires that you use your mind to work, such as I do as a writer. Then, physical labor is especially therapeutic. I’ve solved a lot of problems digging in the soil, sweating, huffing, puffing, and throwing bags of mulch around like a rag doll. And the problems I couldn’t solve, no longer looked like a big, bad Goliath anymore.
Maybe gardening is not your cup of tea. Maybe it’s sewing, or knitting, or painting, or just sitting on the front porch with a good book, wiling away the hours. Perhaps you like to walk, or dance, or cook, or play an instrument. Maybe also like I do, you love to write or journal. Whatever it is, just make sure that it brings you great pleasure, and then give yourself not only the time to do it, but the permission as well.
If it means you have to wash one less load of laundry – so be it. If it means the dust on the furniture has to wait for a few more hours, or even another day, let it sit there. If you have to let go of a few commitments to work it into your schedule, cut them loose. If you have to say no to somebody, then say it.
Women instinctively know how to love and care for other people. But, when it comes to loving and caring for ourselves, a lot of us tend to think that we don’t deserve it. I’m not saying that you should abandon your responsibilities or your obligations. I’m just saying re-evaluate them. You might find that there is plenty of room in your life to be kind to yourself, and to give yourself the same love and care that you give to others.
I won’t promise you that it will balance your hormones, quell the mood swings, or cool the hot flashes. But, it will help you reconnect and get reacquainted with someone that you may have missed for a while – you.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.