During perimenopause and after menopause women need self care more than ever. Self care can help you manage your increasingly complicated life and your menopause symptoms.
What is self care?
Self care is something you do to take care of yourself. It is about more than just a bubble bath or a spa day. Self care includes things like eating well, getting exercise, meditating and spending a few quiet minutes by yourself. It is what you need to do to be able to tackle your biggest challenges.
In a way, self care is prevention. Taking care of yourself now, means that you are less likely to have burnout or chronic diseases later. If you are already have a chronic disease like high blood pressure or diabetes then don’t wait to start taking care of yourself.
Society seems to expect women to be givers and that is especially true at midlife. We often forget that we need to be at our best in order to give. But during menopause, you have the changes of your own to deal with as well, that make it harder to give when you are needed most.
Self care is not…
Self care is not being selfish, but it is not overindulgence either. It is not a selfish act, but something that is necessary. Overindulging in sugary foods, junk foods or alcohol may seem like what you need, but that is not self care because it does the opposite. If you can’t decide if something is self care ask yourself if this actually helps you be healthier, and feel better.
You need to be your best for others
When asked why they are not taking better care of themselves, many women say they are too busy taking care of others. Women spend their lives being givers and this becomes apparent when we reach midlife. Many women at this age may find themselves in the sandwich generation, teenagers or adult children still at home, and parents becoming increasingly dependent.
You will have more energy, more patience, and be better able to take care of your family if you are at your best. You need to recharge your batteries.
Don’t let your menopause symptoms take over
Many menopause symptoms may leave you feeling like you can’t handle everything. You may be lacking sleep, suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety or lack of energy. Proper self care can help you deal with these symptoms.
Here are some ways to use self care during menopause:
This is not always something we think of when we think of self care, but it is one of the most important parts of taking care of yourself. Take the time to plan healthy meals, shop for healthy foods and prepare healthy and delicious dishes. Indulging in a fast food lunch or a giant cookie with your coffee is not self care. Eating superfoods like these is a good place to get started with your nutrition self care plan.
Another area of self care that is important is getting exercise. Exercise is another important way of taking care of yourself. Here are ways that exercise helps:
- Prevention of chronic diseases
- Increased energy
- Relieves stress
- Feelings of confidence and higher self esteem
- Exercise helps with weight loss
- Exercise helps with menopause symptoms like hot flashes
Exercise is one way to help stay more relaxed, but you can also practice specific relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques could include forms of exercise like a peaceful walk in a park, or a yoga class. Mindfulness meditation can help to reduce stress and make you more focused. Some women find that doing a hobby can be relaxing. Hobbies that can be relaxing are gardening, drawing, quilting, reading, and dancing.
Getting enough sleep during perimenopause and after menopause is difficult. Try to find a bedtime routine that works for you. Don’t exercise within a few hours of bedtime. Don’t consume caffeine in the afternoon or evening. A few minutes of quiet meditation before bed can help. Keep your bedroom cool if you can.
If menopause has made your life seem like a mess and you feel like you don’t have the time or energy to deal with everything, it may actually be time to devote some energy to self care. If you want to try exercise as a method of self care you can download this free workout.