When I first started noticing the signs of menopause creeping up on me, I felt like I had been inducted into a secret society that no one bothered to tell me about. Sure, I had heard whispered remarks referencing “the change” from older women my whole life, but no one ever sat me down and explained what the heck they were really talking about.
So I embarked on my menopause journey much like Alice blindly stumbling into Wonderland – confused, unprepared, and having strange things happen to my body that I struggling to comprehend. Why was I suddenly waking up in the middle of the night with hot flashes fierce enough to melt the polar ice caps? And why did it feel like someone had sucked all the moisture out of my skin and hair, leaving me parched and itchy no matter how much water I guzzled?
Not to mention the brain fog that had me wandering rooms aimlessly while forgetting why I entered them in the first place. Or those lovely memory lapses where I would absentmindedly misplace things like my keys, glasses, or even my car in parking lots. And oh yeah…what was going on with my moods swinging wildly like a pendulum on steroids? One minute I’m absolutely giddy, the next I’m biting someone’s head off or fighting back inexplicable tears over an insurance commercial.
I had no clue what was happening to me, until I did some digging and discovered I was experiencing perimenopause – the transitional phase before the official change. And let me tell you, no one rang the warning bell on that one! I realized then that we as women need to start sharing our real-talk experiences with menopause so that others after us are not caught totally off-guard.
So consider this your cheeky guidebook as you navigate the ups and downs of “the change.” Here’s what I wish someone had told me about maneuvering menopause: make personal comfort a priority, adapt a flexible and forgiving mindset, surround yourself with positive support, and most importantly – learn to laugh at the crazy voyage your body is embarking on.
The physical symptoms can be rough, I won’t lie. My hot flash life hacks include keeping an ice pack under your pillow for night sweats, carrying a compact battery-operated fan, and having a flexible dress code. Weight gain conspires to sneak up on you too, so focus on self-care rather than getting bikini ready. And don’t forget to pamper your skin that might suddenly revolt into breakouts or strange new textures. I recommend keeping a good dermatologist on speed dial.
As for the mental fog, memory glitches, and mood fluctuations? Be patient with yourself. Make lots of lists, use calendar alerts liberally, and carve out moments for meditation or baths with powerfully calming essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus. Find people who build you up and ditch the Debbie Downers exaggerating all the gloomy aspects of menopause. Laughter truly is the best medicine, so binge watch funny movies and read amusing memoirs as needed!
While menopause can be a turbulent and tricky passage, it helps to remember that it’s a natural transition experienced by every woman as a rite of passage into her wise-woman years. I’ve learned self-compassion is key – acknowledge this change is hard but that you’re doing your best to flow through it. Arm yourself with knowledge, resources, hacks, and sisterhood support. And keep your cheeky sense of humor handy for when all else fails!
You’ve got this menopause mountain to climb girlfriend, one unpredictable hot flash and memory lapse at a time. It may not be the smoothest trail, but the female explorers who’ve gone before you cheer you on – and we’ll welcome you with laughter and open arms on the other side. Now grab your hiking boots, stalwart spirit, and let’s unravel the mysteries of “the change” together!