By Patricia Easterbrook, Menopause Yoga Accredited Teacher
It can be hard to spot when your body starts to experience the early stages of the menopause. Things stop working quite as they had; perhaps you feel more tired, perhaps you can’t concentrate as easily and perhaps even though you are exhausted, you can’t sleep. It would be too easy to tell yourself that its ’just’ ageing and try to ignore it; to push yourself even harder, and perhaps to become even more frustrated about ‘what’s going on’.
Our bodies change significantly in the decade before the actual menopause (and in the U.K. the average age is 51). As soon as there is a 4 in front of your age, it is worth beginning checking in with yourself and exploring how hormone changes might be starting to impact you.
It might be that you find yourself wondering if you could be ‘better’ in some way. I’m not going to suggest any particular way in which you might want to change. Instead, think of this as how you might make it easier for yourself. There is a lot that you can do. This year, instead of a ‘New Year/New You’, maybe think about holding some space for yourself. Our free monthly Meno Circle is part of holding that space. A safe space to ask questions, talk about how you feel and to be heard.
Habits have been with us for a long time, so it is not easy to change them. But, if you decide that change is what you want, then thinking about what you will do, rather than what you won’t is a small but powerful adjustment.
· Planning a healthy breakfast that you will enjoy is more likely to succeed than thinking too much about what you won’t be eating.
· Changing a familiar route to add in extra steps and build up your exercise is more achievable than an embargo on short car trips.
· And my suggestion for the most important first step, a restful bedtime routine, is more constructive than list of ‘things you can’t do in the bedroom’.
And if you did want to take a slightly bigger step back and think about a more thoughtful approach to 2021, I find that Rest/Nourish/Move is a helpful approach.
The order is important. Before you make any big plans, make sure that you have rested well and can make is easy for yourself to rest. That includes sleeping well, as well as taking time for yourself during waking hours. Anything else that you want to achieve needs the solid foundation that comes from being well rested. Engines, human engines just the same as mechanical engines, need their tanks to be topped up. How much sleep do you need to feel energised at the start of the day? And if you aren’t getting it, what might help...? I found yin yoga was a tremendous help and I explore really good sleep as a foundation in any class that I teach.
How do you nourish yourself? That is more than food choices, but also how you ‘fill your own sails’. It might be a hobby, a chat with a friend or time on the sofa with a pet. More of that another time.
I place move last intentionally. Too many plans are driven by moving more, but in an unachievable way. The real magic comes when you embed the exercise into daily life. If you can find a way to build exercise into an aspect of your life that you love, it won’t be difficult at all.
But first - rest. And if you are thinking that is easy for me to say... then come along to a Menopause Circle and let’s explore this together. I find better sleep is a common concern. If you are more ‘doing’ than ‘talking’, then come straight into a Monday night class. I look forward to seeing you.
But whatever you are thinking about... sleep well.
Menopause Circle – Tuesday 5th January Time: 20:00-20:45
These discussion groups are a safe place to share. An open facilitated discussion on your own menopause journey is going, a chance to listen to the experience of others and to be heard. Topics are driven by the needs of the group – but can include some techniques for managing symptoms, with some ‘at your desk’ breathing exercises and guided meditation.
The sessions will be conducted by Patricia Easterbrook, who is an accredited Menopause Yoga instructor.
These events will take place on a monthly basis and are free of charge.
Menopause Yoga – Starts Monday 11th January Time: 20:00-21:00 Investment: £8
A combination of yoga poses, breathing techniques and mindful meditation practices that have been specially adapted to help women manage the main symptoms of menopause.
In our Monday night weekly Menoyoga class, through January and into February, we will be focussing on resting better. Finding ways to drift off to really sound sleep, to hold moments in your day to check in with yourself and how simple, discrete breathing exercises can help you feel more in control.
And the best thing? Both classes are held later in the evening so you can do all this in your pjs!