In my previous blog I promised to write about the menopause and the worry of feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what is happening in your body and the influence of imbalanced hormones on your mental wellbeing. But, also about the influence of people in your surroundings, who are probably not aware of the things that are happening inside your body.
The idea that you live your life from one hot flash to another is outdated. In the 1950s, women often had a day job taking care of the house and their large families, and didn’t have the luxury of take out dinner or childcare. They would quietly deal with the menopause by taking a sneaky glass of liquor and some aspirin, and women in the menopause were seen as a caricature of a slightly overweight, sweaty and bitchy woman. How times have changed! We’re sliding through our menopause, if not easier than we did before.
The effects of an estrogen decrease
The decrease of estrogen does something to your brain: it becomes a bit foggy and you feel less energized. It also does something to your sense of pain, every cell in your body thrives under the anti-inflammatory effect of estrogen. When this gradually disappears, you experience more pain than you did before. The erratic nature of the decrease in estrogen can make you feel better one day than the other.
The people that surround you won’t really notice any changes, maybe you’re a bit moody more often but life goes on. Where it does go wrong is that some women feel responsible to adjust themselves for the full 100%. Sometimes they try to adjust in such a way that they burn out and end up on sick leave. Quite often they show signs of depression or a burn out, but this is not always the problem.
Adjust to the things you can do
But how do you do it right? The way women dealt with the menopause before isn’t all that bad: acceptance. Instead of forcing or blaming yourself for how you’re no longer able to do the same things as before, try to adjust to the things you can do.
Sometimes it helps not having to be the positive and hilarious person at work, at a party or in the family. Just sit and enjoy the stories and entertainment of others. You don’t always have to be front row in order to be helpful. Going to bed early every now and then will work wonders, and taking a painkiller when you’re in pain is totally okay!
Try to tell the people in your immediate surroundings that you’re not feeling well because of fluctuations in your hormones. You’re just asking other people to take it into account, in order for you to do your job as good as possible. This will help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Take time to reflect
Try to be a bit less hard on yourself, don’t set such high standards and let the people around you know how you’re feeling. This will already give you some ease of mind.
During this time with less social interaction you can try to think about what it means to head into a new fase. On one side you gain new energy and freedom of movement, but on the other hand you will close the chapter of being a young woman.
Maybe you’ll live in a time of unsteadiness for quite a while, sometimes with feelings of anxiety or panic and depression about what has been, but also for the single reason that your hormones make you feel this way. How to deal with that, I will happily share in my next blog.