Nothing prepares you for menopause. The change can come suddenly and intensify quickly. To help me manage my symptoms, my doctor suggested taking hormones or antidepressants. But I decided those weren’t the right choice for me (if they are for you, that’s OK).
Over the years, I learned a few hacks that helped me manage my menopause symptoms and enjoy my life at the same time. I hope the following five tips help you as much as they have helped me.
1. Stay cool
Hot flashes and night sweats can be debilitating. For me, they were accompanied by palpitations and dizziness. It would feel like I was about to burst into flame from the inside out.
To help keep cool, consider clothing made with moisture-wicking fabric. This type of fabric wicks away sweat to the top layer of the fabric. It also dries quickly so the sweat doesn’t linger on your clothes. This type of clothing was originally designed for athletes, but now there are also several options made for women in menopause.
To stay cool at night, you can try out cooling sheets or cooling mattress pads. I use moisture-wicking sheets and a mulberry silk comforter.
2. Show up
My libido went on an extended vacation while I was in menopause. My vagina seemed as dry as a desert. Sex was painful. But I love my husband and wanted to restore the intimacy in our relationship. I would use a natural lubricant every day and before being intimate. These helped immensely with the dryness.
My favorite piece of advice I’ve heard came from someone from the Menopause Goddess group. Her therapist told her to show up to the bedroom once a week, naked and with a smile on her face. That turned out to be great advice for me, too.
Don’t have an agenda. Show up, and see what happens.
3. Be kind to yourself
Menopause is stressful. It affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had always been an efficient person, but the stress of menopause affected my productivity.
Be kind to yourself. Indulge every so often. Get a massage. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi. Stay home and read a book instead of running an errand. Set aside time for yourself. Even 5 to 10 minutes of deep breathing or mindful meditation can ease stress.
Finally, have a good cry every now and again. Crying releases stress hormones and toxins through tears. When I had a hard time getting started crying, I’d grab a box of Kleenex and watch a sad movie. That worked every time. And, I always felt calmer afterward.
During menopause and into the years after, you may feel more creative than before. Try something new just for the fun of it. I tried painting. I was terrible at it, but I had so much fun.
I also took a calligraphy class. Once a week for one hour, we traced beautiful lettering while classical music played in the background. It was very relaxing. Other women from the blog found new avocations in gardening, quilting, and gourmet cooking.
Whatever activity you do, remember to have fun! It’s not about how good you are, it’s about enjoying yourself.
5. Build a community
Nobody should have to go on this journey alone. When we started the Menopause Goddess Blog, we had no idea that it would be the lifeline it was for us.
If you are looking for a community, I’m here to help. Go to Menopause Goddess Blog and enter, “creating a goddess group” in the search box. You’ll be taken to a page that will guide you to creating a group.
I hope these hacks are as helpful for you as they were for me. Remember, you’re not going through this alone. And, everything you’re feeling is normal. I know it’s hard, but don’t let menopause affect your positivity. The best years of your life are around the corner.
Lynette Sheppard, RN, is an artist and writer who hosts the popular Menopause Goddess Blog. Within the blog, women share humor, health, and heart about menopause and menopause remedies. Lynette is also the author of the book “Becoming a Menopause Goddess.”