The importance of being kind to yourself

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

01 January 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello. Welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be discussing, how do we treat ourselves?

Now, it really saddens me these days, as women, we can be so hard on ourselves. We can be so critical. We can end up criticizing ourselves every second of the day, near enough. And there is a saying which goes along the lines, "We would not treat our best friend, ever, the way that we treat ourselves." And I think this is very true. We can be our own worst enemy as far as building our confidence and how we feel about where we are in the world today.

Why are we so critical during menopause?

One of the things I have noticed over the last few years in doing all of this work on the menopause is that menopausal women can be even worse on themselves. They can be extremely hard, and this can have a huge effect on lots of different things during the menopause.

Now, yes, we do change. You know, you look in the mirror every day. Our face shape changes. We get wrinkles. Everything starts to droop a little bit. Our skin gets dryer. We might be putting on a little bit of weight. All sorts of things can change. And with those changes, this is where we start to become extra-critical.And it starts as soon as we get up in the morning. The first time we look in the mirror, what do we see? What do we say to ourselves? That little negative voice in our heads, and it's always going, things like, "Oh, you look awful. What have you been doing during the night? Look at those wrinkles. Oh, I don't even want to look at you."

And that is the first thing that we do to ourselves every day. And, you know, would we put up with this from anybody else? And the answer is, and I'm sure from everybody, we certainly wouldn't do it.

The emotional and physical effects

But we do it to ourselves, and we drip feed this negativity on a daily basis. And that can have a huge effect on our confidence because if you've been knocking yourself, you're not gonna feel great when you step out the front door.

It can also affect your nervous system. The minute you start to feel down, you start to feel depressed, you start to feel a little bit low, that is going to affect your nervous system, and that is going to affect the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms that you get.

And this lowness will also affect our immune system, and that can make us more prone to all sorts of infections and illnesses that may be going around on a regular basis.

Be kinder to yourself to ease hot flushes

Now, you might be sitting there thinking, "Oh, this is a bit fanciful." Well, believe it or not, there was a study done in Australia a few years ago, and they found that those women who were kind to themselves going through the menopause ended up having less hot flushes and less severe hot flushes.

So with a little bit of effort, we could really change some of the symptoms that we're getting on a regular basis through the menopause.

How to banish negative thinking

So how do we do this? Well, this is the part where you might be sitting there thinking, "She's finally flipped after all this time." But it's just doing the opposite to what we normally do when we stand in front of the mirror.

So we do positive mirror work. It can be really difficult. You know, I have been there. I have done it. I still do it. There are still days when that little, negative voice in my head jumps up before I've probably got the rest of my brain in gear and the negative thoughts start coming.

So it's learning to be kind to yourself when you look in the mirror. And find something that you can feel a little bit positive about. You know, you could just say, "Oh, you're not looking too bad for first thing in the morning," or, "Wow, you know, your eyebrows look good," and you just had them done yesterday. And you can sort of say, "Yeah, I look fine when I smile." So, find just one, little, positive thing to say to yourself every morning before the negative thoughts come flooding in.

And you will find that if you keep doing this regularly, it becomes a lot easier, and you can get more and more positive. It is difficult to start with, and you might have to look at the person in the mirror and address them as you, "You look good today." But eventually, what we're aiming for is that you can stand in front of the mirror, see your reflection, and go, "I look great today." And that will give you such a fabulous boost. And that in turn can make you feel better. It can help to support your nervous system, and that can help to reduce your symptoms as well.
And I know now, you know, I still have negative things in some days. I still don't like looking in the mirror. But I have made a point of, every time, just before I leave the house, I stand in front of a full-length mirror, I give myself a little twirl, look myself in the eye, and say something like, "You're looking great today," or even better, "I'm looking fabulous. This is the best I've felt all week." And it gives you such a confidence boost when you step out the door. And you can end up, very often, being able to face the rest of your day on a much more positive note instead of a negative one.
Now, I realize it is difficult. This is something that's a little bit different. You know, it's not the usual prescriptions for menopause symptoms. But I know lots of women who've tried this, and, you know, they've admitted at the end of the day that, yes, it makes them feel a little better.

Your new years reolution

So here is your New Year's resolution. I would love you all to try this for a few weeks. See how you get on. See if it really does make a difference to your menopause symptoms. And let me know how you get on. Wonderful things can come from tiny, little steps. So we're, hopefully, going to see some lovely changes over the next few weeks and few months and few years.

So remember to let me know how you get on, and I look forward to seeing you next week on another 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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