Once upon a time, I was strutting into my 50s, flicking my hair, and saying, “Woop, I am all good with this menopause stuff!”
Now I’m 51 and it’s a whole new ball game. And turns out I don’t know how to play ball. Menopause– specifically menopause fatigue– is kicking my ass!
Here’s where I am at: everything is an effort. Having a shower and washing my hair feels like effort. So. Much. Effort. Yes, due to menopause fatigue I have to talk myself into doing the basics of hygiene. Making a phone call takes sometimes days before I do it.
The physical stuff, of course, really sucks. Hot flashes; what more do I have to say? Being in public and all of a sudden little beads of sweat are forming on your forehead, and you have to start fanning yourself and taking off articles of clothing? What could be better?
Plus, my emotions are running all over the place. I’m happy one minute then feeling like I have no friends the next. Holy, and I take things so personally. I don’t get jokes. I don’t make them very often either these days.
Add to that major mental fog. Half the time, I’m confused as to why I even walked into a room. I have trouble remembering even the smallest things. (Oh wait, hang on, that’s sadly always been a thing with me.) Nothing makes me feel as dull-witted as being in the middle of a conversation and suddenly going blank. Names are difficult too. I find in social situations I’m often holding back as I am not sure what’s going to come out of my mouth.
Where has my zest for life gone? Where have I gone?
I always knew that aging wasn’t for the faint of heart but some of these symptoms, especially my menopause fatigue, have been concerning me. So I went to my naturopath. We decided to test hormone levels. Now I know that it’s possible I am in adrenal fatigue as well. Adrenal fatigue, as you may know, occurs when the adrenal gland doesn’t quite produce enough of the hormones you need for peak health.
So I’m muddling through. Here are some strategies I’m trying out for keeping my motivation and spirits up. Consider this a menopause tips list from an individual deep in the hormonal trenches. I’m living this list right now!
Menopause Tip #1: Keep it simple
I’m trying to create a simple routine that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Routine is keeping me in the human race. As much as I like to fly by the seat of my pants, I also need this routine to feel accomplished. (And the possibility of having adrenal fatigue reminds me that “go, go, go” isn’t always the ideal pace.) Making the bed is an accomplishment and I am learning to be good with the small things. They add up, after all.
Menopause Tip #2: Take your time
I find when I start rushing I can get overwhelmed. And then the frustration elevates. And nobody needs to see that.
Menopause Tip #3: Just breathe
It’s a simple technique, but deep breathing is huge. I take a long deep inhalation, hold it briefly, and then let it all out in a long, slow exhalation.
Menopause Tip #4: Ask for help
With Christmas all around us, I’m feeling so afraid of missing something. Failing to arrange an important holiday detail. Forgetting to buy a present for someone. (Although the relationship between online shopping and me has never been stronger.) I have twinges of wanting to control everything in order to feel okay. But instead, I am just asking for help. It’s hard to even put into words what I need help with during the holidays, but I’m trying.
Menopause Tip #5: Nap, baby, nap
I am taking time during the day to take a break and do absolutely nothing, and nap if I possibly can. I love napping. The thing is, I used to be able to have my lights out for 2 hours. Now I am lucky if I get between 20-40 minutes before I wake up in a panic thinking that I forgot something. (Yep, I find that anxiety is creeping in.) It doesn’t matter. I’m still going to give myself that downtime.
Menopause Tip #6: Practice gratitude
I feel like this is my most important tip. I am taking my gratitude practice up a notch these days. Besides my bedtime ritual of writing in my gratitude journal, I am drawn to focus on gratitude when I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. In a tough moment, I will simply sit and think of something that I am grateful for. That, combined with the breathing, brings me to a more calm and joyful place.
All in all, putting these menopause tips into practice isn’t always easy. That’s because I feel lazy at times. And “lazy” is a word that I struggle with as it’s been an indication to me in the past that “productive” equals “worthy.” But menopause fatigue is no joke. Adrenal fatigue is no joke. I do need more rest these days than I ordinarily do, and that’s ok.
If you’re struggling with the same stuff, just remember, above all else, to be kind to yourself. We’ll get through this!