The topic of menopause has long been swept under the rug by society at large. Your female relatives may not have even discussed it with you when you were growing up; or if they did, perhaps it was only in reference to the unpleasant hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings that go along with it. Because of this, as most of us approach menopause we’re typically greeted with either a lack of information altogether or a completely negative picture of how to deal with menopause. But what would it look like to approach menopause from a positive mindset?
While we’re all for keeping it real and opening up the conversation in general, we also want to point out the positive aspects of this time: a newfound wisdom, a renewed sense of purpose, and a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Yes, we’ve shared our tips for how to deal with unpleasant menopause symptoms and advice for things like how to get rid of menopausal belly fat. But it is possible to approach and walk through menopause with a positive mindset? What does it look like to harness the benefits of getting older and getting better? Are you ready for a shift in your menopause mindset? Let’s explore how to deal with menopause from a positive mindset.
Keeping It Real vs. Reclaiming Your Power
As women, our whole lives are marked by transitions. From the changes of puberty, to the hormonal changes we go through every 28 days, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, and beyond—we are always in a state of flux. And even within each of those phases, our moods and emotions can wax and wane like the tides of the ocean. This fluidity is what’s so beautiful about being a woman: we are literally built to embody change.
When it comes to menopause, of course these changes won’t always be sunshine and roses. Hot flashes, stubborn belly fat, mood swings—of course they can all make you feel like crap. While acknowledging that is important, you still get to control what you do next. There’s a fine balance between keeping it real about uncomfortable times in our lives and completely sacrificing our power by getting stuck in negative patterns. After all: the way you view any stage of your life is up to you.
Five R’s to Embrace A More Positive Menopausal Mindset
So are you ready to dive in? Ready to tackle this stage of your life with a newfound appreciation for all the good it has to offer? Here are five steps to embrace a more positive menopausal mindset and make this an empowering chapter in your life:
1. Recognize Your Feelings
Like we said: keeping it real is important. So acknowledge what’s going on for you during this stage in your life: the good and the bad. There’s no need to pretend everything’s fine if you’re having an off day; just be strategic about how you can honor what you’re feeling in a productive way. When hot flashes, mood swings, or insomnia strike, what can you do to acknowledge the discomfort and take care of yourself? Maybe it’s journaling, taking time out to meditate, or getting up with a cup of tea instead of tossing and turning in bed.
If you’re feeling down because of a hormonal shift, are you speaking to yourself in shame-based language because of it? Or are you acknowledging what’s happening and then pausing to breathe and accept the circumstances? By nature, change is bound to be uncomfortable at times. Discomfort is ok. What counts is what you say to yourself when you’re in the throes of it—how much can you be at peace with that discomfort and accept the present moment?
2. Reflect On What You’ve Learned
Yes, aging can bring with it its own existential (and physical) woes. You may not be able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight anymore, or you may not have as much energy some days as you used to. But what have these changes made you learn?
You may have learned to slow down. To appreciate each moment and day a little more. That you don’t always have to be doing a hundred things at once. That your worth isn’t defined by the size of your hips, or your social circle, or your shoe collection. There is a beautiful wisdom that comes from this time in your life—and I bet you wouldn’t trade that for anything. Take stock of your life and all that you’ve already overcome. I bet you aren’t the same woman you were ten or twenty years ago: by nature of being human, you’ve undoubtedly had to navigate more obstacles as the years have passed. So use this menopausal time to reflect on the ways in which you are not who you used to be—for the better.
3. Reconnect With Your Body
Menopause is a time many women find it harder to stay fit than in the past, and this can be discouraging. But try to focus less on what you can’t control and more on what you can. You control the food you eat and the movement you seek. Make this a chapter in your life when you find new forms of exercise. Try a new fitness class or start a cycling group with your friends. Get creative and recommit to forms of movement that light you up. Stop slogging away on the treadmill every week and compulsively weighing yourself if it’s bringing you down—reconnect with your body and find new ways to make it happy.
One thing you can start doing right away to combat menopausal weight gain and take care of your body as you age? Strength train. Strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body as you age. It boosts your metabolism, protects your bones, and helps you stay healthy and agile throughout the years. So if you haven’t already incorporated it into your routine, here’s your cue!
On that same note, fill up on these foods for menopause and find ways to combat estrogen dominance or imbalances that may be making you feel worse. Talk to your doctor, talk to your friends, but most of all listen to your body and trust yourself. Only you know what’s normal for your body and what isn’t. Listen to what it needs and nurture it with healthy food, exercise, and natural remedies.
4. Redefine Your Purpose
For many of us, mid-life can bring with it existential questions about our purpose in life. Perhaps our career has changed, certain habits or activities no longer seem to fulfill us, or our children are growing up and less dependent on us.The good news is that we can use that as a catalyst to set new intentions and goals. Get clear about what you want the next chapter of your life to look like. Free-write about what experiences fulfill you, what relationships you enjoy cultivating, and what makes you feel most alive. Use this writing to fine-tune where you will put more of your energy going forward. You are in charge of this phase of your life, and getting clear about what it is you want will bring you more contentment going forward.
5. Rekindle Female Friendships
Through the years we all go through changes in relationships, careers, and priorities. But in menopause especially, it’s important to prioritize supportive female friendships and to remember all that you can gain from their perspectives. Friends who offer empathy—and a healthy dose of humor—can enrich this time in your life and remind you of the gifts of getting older. Lean on each other and lift each other up. There is so much power in sharing your stories with a group of likeminded women who can laugh, cry, and commiserate with you—and reflect back to you all the wisdom and grace you’ve earned over the years. Invest in your friendships and remember that you never have to go it alone.
Yes, menopause brings with it a fair share of discomfort and unpleasant symptoms. But you can not only learn to manage this time in your life but celebrate it when you remember that ultimately, getting older is a gift. Take care of your body, nourish your soul, and honor this chapter for all that it is.