My 5 secret strategies for a better menopause

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

25 September 2017

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A. Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to tell you about my five secret strategies that have helped me through the menopause.

Now most of us know all the usual ones, or hopefully by now you will, things like drinking plenty of water, having a good diet, trying to get a good night's sleep. But most of us will find that we have other little individual strategies that help us to cope, and I thought today, I would tell you about my five most favorite ones.

Strategy no.1 - Yoga

The first one that has helped me tremendously and I would have been absolutely lost without it is yoga, and I find it a very gentle exercise. It does depend on what type of yoga you do. There are different kinds. I tend to go with Hatha Yoga which focuses on breathing and another nice gentle one is Dru Yoga.

What can it help with?

And these incorporate gentle movements, stretching and you get to lie down and you get to relax. And I find for me, that it's helped to keep my joints supple, it's helped to keep my muscles strong.

It's been very good for balance, and as I mentioned before, balance is one of the things that often goes postmenopausal and it makes us much more vulnerable to falling and having hip fractures. So, learning balancing poses can be really beneficial for us.

It's given me a little bit of time-out, when I'm doing my yoga, I find that I just forget about everything else. And I know a lot of you will be saying "But we don't have time for this." I don't have time either. You know, I'm very, very busy a lot of the time. I just get DVDs, and I do it at home, 15 minutes twice a week, after I get up. Before I go to work, it's over and done with, and I find just even doing it for that short space of time has given me such a great deal of benefit over the years. 

Strategy no.2 - Kelp

My second secret is kelp. And kelp is a supplement and kelp contains iodine. And one of the interesting things that we have noticed in our experience over the last few years is that a huge number of women end up with thyroid issues during the menopause, and this is very often due to low iodine and especially here in the UK, our diet, our soil is very, very poor in terms of iodine content and that can have an ongoing effect as we start to approach the menopause.

What can it help with?

So kelp is vital for healthy thyroid function which is going to keep our metabolism ticking over. It can help to prevent us putting on too much weight. It helps to give us energy. Kelp and iodine is also vital for hair growth. It's great for your nails. It's great for your skin so it's a super supplement to take ongoing and for those of you who are just hitting the peri-menopause, I really would advise, as long as it's appropriate, to take a kelp supplement every day because it can really stand you in good stead once the menopause hits, for proper.

Strategy no.3 - Make time for your beauty regime

The other issue that I find a lot of women have, including myself, is that when you start going through the menopause, and it seems to creep up really quickly, is that one day you look in the mirror and you just think, "Who is that person?" You sometimes don't recognise yourself because all of a sudden you can see all the wrinkles, and the lines, and the sagging skin, and it can be a huge dent to our view of ourselves, to our confidence, the way we see ourselves in the world.

It can dent our confidence in our relationships. You know, we don't want people to see us anymore and very often, we end up losing pride in ourselves, and you end of just letting yourself go, and that then perpetuates the problem because you start feeling worse and worse.

So one of the things that I really made myself do was to keep up with my beauty regime, regardless of how tired I was, regardless of how fed up I was, or you know, there are those days when you just look in the mirror and think "Oh, there's nothing that can be done at all." I always followed my beauty routine, last thing at night before going to bed, and in the morning after having a shower.

And I would make an effort to put my makeup on as well, because I think, sometimes, just putting a little bit of makeup on lifts us up and it makes us feel better. And I'm so glad that I've done that because today, obviously, doing things like filming, and going out and doing talks, just putting on a little bit of makeup just gives me that little bit more confidence. 

Strategy no. 4 - Relaxation

Number four, which again, is another one which I'm sure all of you are going to say, "I don't have time for this." One of the really beneficial things is relaxation.

If you think about it, the changing hormones in our bodies drain us of energy. They take up a huge amount of our day-to-day energy and that can make us fatigued and I know that fatigue is one of the main menopause symptoms. So many women complain about just being tired all the time and a lot of it has to do with all the imbalance going on in the body.

So our bodies need rest. They need relaxation. And fatigue is really just a sign of your body saying "I'm tired. I need a rest. I need a break." But we can't often have big breaks. We can't go away on holiday once a month. But what we can do is to give ourselves a little bit of "me time" every day. It is so important for your well-being and there are so many studies now showing that relaxation, and mindfulness, and meditation can have a huge impact on our health, on our emotions, and on the way that we see ourselves as well. 
Now I know for some people you mention the word meditation and they think, "Oh, I've got to sit cross-legged and empty my mind." The answer is no. I have never been able to empty my mind. It's always full of thoughts. But meditation can be...I know for my favorite one is I just get some music on or I will listen to what is called guided meditation. That's just somebody walking you through maybe a lovely forest or you're going down by the beach and you're hearing beautiful sounds. And because you're listening to someone else talking and you're thinking of what they're talking about, that actually calms the mind.

All you need to do, if you go on to YouTube and just put guided meditations, then you'll come up with hundreds and thousands of fabulous ones. And you know, I find you can end up having a different one every night of the week.

So make "me time," make relaxation a priority in your life and it will pay off very, very quickly. But I know, as I said before I'm really busy and sometimes I do miss it. And after a couple of days I can notice the difference, both physically and emotionally, that I've been missing it. So it's really an important one. Definitely worth trying. 

Strategy no. 5 - Find a hobby

Number five for me is a hobby, and it doesn't have to be anything major. It's something that takes you out of yourself and something that gives you some pleasure.

The menopause can be so miserable and if we're having to work, if we're having to look after family, if we're having to do all these day-to-day things, we can feel it's a grind. We can end up going to bed at night and thinking, "Oh, is that all life is cracked up to be?"

So finding something that you really enjoy or you really want to do can make a huge difference. Again, it's all to do with well-being and how you feel about yourself. So there's loads of different things. It could be something that you did as a child or a teenager or something you've always fancied doing and would like to do.

It doesn't have to be every day. And I find for me that my favorite hobby, if you like, is gardening, because I find I can go out, I can do the gardening and again, my mind switches off from the rest of the world, and it's just me and the plants and everything else probably rain, since I live up in Scotland. But never mind, I still just absolutely love it.

I've also found I used to do a lot of knitting years and years ago and I've now sort of taken that up again. And it's just something I can do for 15 minutes a night, and again, it's taking me away from the day-to-day worries and the day-to-day stresses. 
So I hope this has helped you a little bit and has let you see that, you know, for me these strategies have paid off. They've made me feel better. They've given me a lot of, sort of, impetus. They've helped with my energy levels, with my mood, and also my confidence.

What are your strategies?

So, I'd love to hear your strategies. Is there's something that you've taken up just as you started menopause? Is there anything that you've found has really been of benefit? It would be great if you could share it with everybody else.

So, I will look forward to seeing you next week on A. Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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