Menopause is a woman’s transition into making her way through the latter stages of life, often associated with middle age.
I was around 45 years old when I started to feel the effects of menopause. Most women begin to experience symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s, but I started to feel some of the symptoms around 45.
The first symptom I noticed was hot flashes. These were uncomfortable and embarrassing because I would sweat profusely, and my face would turn bright red. My husband would panic when my face turned red – no, it wasn’t a heart attack!
The hot flashes continued on and off for a few months before they finally stopped altogether. Then came the night sweats, which were just as awful as the hot flashes had been. I would wake up drenched in sweat and cold, even though my room was warm enough for comfort during the day. I didn’t even know a person could sweat that much at night!
What symptoms are you feeling during menopause?
I am now 55 and still, very rarely, suffer from night sweats. Before menopause, I always slept with full pajamas on and with socks, and I couldn’t stand trying to sleep with bare feet. Now, I wear the lightest weight nightgown to bed and absolutely no socks!
How does menopause affect your lifestyle?
I have always been an active person who enjoys running, hiking, and swimming. However, since going through menopause, I have noticed that my energy levels have decreased significantly. Now when I go for a hike, it takes me much longer than it used to take me, and I usually have to stop after a while to catch my breath because I feel like my heart is going to beat out of my chest! These episodes don’t happen every time, but they do happen frequently enough that they are starting to affect how much exercise I get in each week.
I no longer have the ability to “do it all.” I have special needs children and support my mother-in-law, and this was far too much stress while working a full-time job – more than full time. Fortunately or unfortunately, COVID came along at the perfect time for me to make a change – quitting my job to work from home.
The most significant impact that menopause has had on me is weight gain! This is something that many women struggle with during this time in their lives. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about it except eat healthy foods and exercise regularly (something which seems impossible when you’re feeling down).
First, I quit my job to work from home. This lifestyle change has allowed me to focus more on my family and me! I was no longer able to deal with the stress of my career. Making this change will enable me to focus on myself. What does this mean? Making time to exercise and making more healthy meals (rather than constant fast food) allows me time to meet my family’s needs without getting overstressed.
What would you recommend other women to do or not do during menopause?
Not everyone can quit their job and work from home, and I would not have been able to if I didn’t have a spouse working and providing health insurance. If you can’t, I highly recommend finding something you love and making time for it no matter what. That is Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Louhan Patting. For you, it may be yoga and meditation. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it allows you the ability to destress and reset yourself.