Post Menopause - The second Spring

I recently had a new client comment when I arrived that 'I had a glow, so I must put into practice all the wellbeing advice that I give people'. I was very flattered because some days I have to work hard to feel at my absolute best!

As a woman who has come through the menopause, I have found my body has changed so much, and therefore I have realised that I needed to consider my own selfcare carefully, and work on it regularly!

In Chinese Medicine the menopause is called the Second Spring, such a wonderful analogy.

I was very lucky compared to many women, I had very few symptoms as I moved through the menopause ,but I did use a combination of herbal remedies to help me along the way, and these clearly helped as I had no night sweats, mood swings, or classic menopause signs.

However as I have come out the other side, the decrease in oestrogen, and testosterone has definitely seen my body behave and function in a completely different way. So what has changed, and how do I deal with it.

Lets start with the change in mindset. Well, to be honest, now I really don't give a damn about very much now! I have always been a bit quirky, and not felt that I fitted in, and wanted to be accepted, and needed approval from people, but now as an older woman who has carried three babies, given birth twice, experienced a couple of serious spinal injuries, got through the menopause, and my incredible body is still going I feel that I should give myself a huge pat on the back, and take that liberation and stand proud no matter what I look like. I have done so many new experiences in the last few years, and totally taken myself out of my comfort zone, and realised that life does not stop after the menopause.

Physically my body shape has changed. Its true with the lack of oestrogen that the elasticity does go. My boobs have lost their perkiness, but they have softened and I actually have a cleavage so a good bra fitting was essential. The woman who fitted me commented that we needed to get those 'puppies back up, and show off that fabulous waist line', I was sold! I remember watching Gok Wan in the 90's telling women on his show that they needed to show off their waistlines no matter how large they felt, and he was right it so does make you feel better, and I'm very proud of my womanly bosoms, and curvy hips.

I can understand why women are tempted to go down the Botox and Fillers route, we are in a place in society where wrinkles, and facial lines are not accepted, and softness and smoothness should be with us until we are in our late 70s to ensure we feel beautiful. Sadly I can neither afford all these treatments or feel comfortable with the idea of injecting non biodegradable chemicals into my face. So I have introduced the therapeutic benefits of Guasha and facial massage, and acupressure into my daily skin routine.I have to admit that although it hasn't removed any lines or lessened any wrinkles, I have found it has improved my contours and brought back some of my cheek bone structure. I have also found I love the deeply nurturing feeling it gives me at the end of the day, as I massage away the tension from driving, screen viewing, and squinting, then knowing as I settle down to sleep my face is rested.

I have found that I have needed to find an exercise regime that works for me. For our bone density post menopause, it is important that we have some form of impact exercise as a regular part of our life. Having had a couple of spinal injuries through my life, I do have to be careful what I do, so over time I have tried out a number of recommended forms of physical pursuits, for me power walking as often I can has been the very best outlet,for both my body and mind, I aim for between 5-7km most days if possible, and as fast as I can do it to improve my cardio rate, which has become pretty speedy now. I have always loved dancing, and unlike the younger self who could boogie for 3 hours plus on the dance floor, I just now revel at having a good shimmy in my kitchen most days whilst cooking to the best disco sounds I love, a'la the Sophie Ellis-bexter approach. In line with the principles of Ying Yang, it is important that as well as tightening my muscles, I also stretch myself out so some gentle yoga, and Qui Gong moves are part of the day, but as with everything I listen to my body, and focus on whatever feels tight, and comfortable, no set routines.

Over the years I have tried out many different supplements and diets to keep myself at optimum levels. Tiredness has been my nemesis especially post menopause. I have found having B12 in the form of Methocolbymin , and occasionally a high strength multi B vitamin tablet has helped with the tiredness. I have also used 5HTP for short periods of time. This supplement helps with the conversion of serotonin in the body, which has supported my sleep quality. The jury is out whether this has helped significantly so I have only used it intermediately. Recently I have been using funghi / mushroom supplements, I have a combination supplement of Lions Mane, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Chaga,and Cordyceps.This supplement has been a slow burner, and has taken about 3 months to show the difference but it has been the most significant result of all the supplements I have used.I will do a whole blog on the wonders of funghi, as they really are quite incredible, and I could go off at a total tangent with these incredible life forces. I have tried CBD products, but to be honest I didn't find these have given me much benefit even after giving them a good run, but like many supplements just because they didn't work for me doesn't mean they don't suit others.

Diet wise I have found that a low carb, mainly plant based ( I cant claim to be vegetarian as I love chicken ) approach has kept me fairly stable weight wise, though I have a really sweet tooth, and love chocolate so I cant be too virtuous when it comes to a balanced diet! I don't drink alcohol, as I have found over time it hasn't suited my constitution, a good quality Earl Grey tea is my go to every time, and Italian carbonated water for some indulgence!

Over the last couple of years I have also been deepening my breath work. This mainly came as a result of doing cold water immersion, although I previously did practice dynamic breathing with a Hindu yogi that I had been doing yoga with many years ago. Breath work is very powerful, and with the popularity of celebrities doing Wim Hoff techniques more people are aware of the use of maximising our breathing. I have found it calms my para sympathetic system, which in turn has made me feel stronger emotionally and physically. If my sleep pattern is disrupted I turn to the breathing techniques that I have adopted to keep me relaxed, and stop my mind from racing away especially at 4am with a full day ahead, and it has improved my stamina no end when it comes to the power walking.

Of course Reflexology is very much part of my self care routine, and my monthly sessions have been a huge part of maintaining the balance throughout my body for many years now. If for whatever reason I can't get to my Reflexologist, my body craves the session. Having the treatment supports every aspect of my body, mind and spirit, it is like the cream on the cake, the missing part, the piece of string that holds it all together.

Our bodies are changing all the time, and contrary to belief so many elements of our systems can be improved, and natural degeneration is not the set rule, so please ladies embrace this second Spring, and experience this new flourish of life with a chance to reset and strengthen ourselves for the next phase of our lifes.











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