I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was hired to write humorous articles for a site about menopause, Hot Flash Daily – which I still love doing by the way. Writing the blogs keeps me laughing through what can be a challenging time of life. Great site, check it out.
Anyhow, with the launching of the new site, I thought it would be a good time to tackle the subject of how we can stay happy and retain our joy through menopause.
No, it’s not impossible. And I say that despite the fact that menopause was anything but easy for me.
As I wrote in my first article, “Meandering through Menopausal Madness” I was lucky not to suffer from PMS symptoms which allowed me to laugh hardheartedly at all those PMS jokes. You know the ones: PMS stands for pass my shotgun, pardon my sobbing, perpetual munching spree, pissy mood syndrome, people make me sick, or prepare to meet Satan. I gleefully giggled and thought – okay, perhaps just a wee bit smugly – those poor women. Women who have suffered through PMS throughout the years will be glad to hear, I’m not laughing anymore. Yup, Karma. You have my sincere sympathy and apologies.
“I literally didn’t recognize the woman I became,” I wrote in the article. “For instance, sobbing helplessly in the bathroom because my editor innocently asked, ‘How’s that piece coming along?’ Conversation with my husband turned into mostly annoyed sighs or worse yet, low, menacing growls that never failed to bring a look of terror into his eyes. My teenagers’ precious heads started looking alarmingly like targets for batting practice. The boys were petrified to make eye contact and suddenly became stellar students, spending a lot more time in their rooms doing homework.”
That was just beginning. I won’t even talk about the scorching hot flashes, insane insomnia, annoying forgetfulness, and crazy panic attacks that ensued for YEARS. Thankfully, I lived to tell the story, which I will be sharing in future blogs for Hot Flash Daily.
I’m now technically post-menopausal. Which doesn’t mean it’s over. I hear that menopausal symptoms can last for up to 10 years which makes me want to head for the nearest cliff, but the worst is over. I’m here to tell you that at least menopause is temporary and it does get better.
However, if you are a woman, most likely you will spend a third of your life peri-menopausal or post-menopausal. So back to the question, what can we do to retain our joy through menopause? Here are three ways:
Treat the Symptoms of Menopause
Personally, I chose not to go the route of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but some women find it necessary. If you prefer, there are other options available and many doctors are now embracing integrated medicine to find what works best for individual women – whether that involves HRT or not. Research all the options available today and then evaluate and discuss strategies with your doctor to find out how you can treat your menopause symptoms.
Although there are several healthy lifestyle changes that can help, regular exercise tops the list. As I wrote in an earlier blog, How Exercise Makes You Happier, maybe 20 minutes on the treadmill doesn’t solve all of life’s problems, but endorphin produced by exercise can help you feel happier by reducing stress and anxiety and lessening feelings of sadness or depression. In addition, a healthy diet and avoiding triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and spicy food can help reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. An added benefit: When your body reaches a healthy weight, your overall wellness and outlook on life improves. Also, reducing stress, getting plenty of rest, and relaxation techniques will help you cope with menopause.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Instead of mourning this inevitable transitional time in life, think of some of the positive life changes that result from menopause. Of course, we can celebrate the fact that we are leaving periods and PMS behind. Also keep in mind that this can be one of the most fulfilling times of your life. Many women take this opportunity to redefine their roles, discover new interests, reflect on their blessings, and plan for an exciting future. If you’re a parent, after years of putting your children’s needs first, this is a time you can think about what you want to do with this next stage of life.
What else helps? Don’t forget to keep your sense of humor! It’s either laugh or cry – and wouldn’t you much rather giggle through all this? If you’re having a hard time thinking of any reasons to laugh about menopause, check out my blogs at Hot Flash Daily. In a future article, I’ll be discussing the seven menopausal dwarfs: itchy, bitchy, sweaty, bloaty, sleepy, forgetful, and psycho. So stay tuned, and I’ll have some funny stuff to share with you, guaranteed to bring a few chuckles your way.