Women in perimenopause are dealing with so many changes in their bodies and coping with hormonal changes that at many times can lead to feelings of helplessness or loss of control. These feelings need to be experienced and processed because it’s never wise to shut out our emotions. However, there are some things women in perimenopause can do to help their bodies and minds through the transition.
Whilst the last thing you need is to add to your to-do list, I’m here to share some tips for helping your body and mind through perimenopause. These might help you feel more in control and make a difference to your energy, health and general wellbeing.
Please don’t be overwhelmed by this list, many you will already be doing. Lean into the ones that you feel will most make a difference to you and support your body through perimenopause.
Listen to your gut, literally, by eating when you are hungry and stopping when you’re full. This is often easier said than done but practising mindfulness can help you to get in touch with your body’s signals. Intuitive eating is being guided by your bodily wisdom and can lead to a healthier more positive relationship with food. Eat both for pleasure and nourishment but monitor how much you are eating as many of us are unknowingly overeating.
Eat the rainbow! Not only will you enjoy your instagramable food more, but you will also be getting the nutrients your body needs. When your meals consist of half a plate of vegetables, a quarter protein, a quarter complex carbohydrates (brown rice, lentils, brown pasta) and one teaspoon of essential fat, then you can be fairly sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Most importantly you’re feeding your body with the fuel it needs to support you through the day. Especially as women in perimenopause are experiencing a fair amount of physical challenges. Be kind to it, give it the nourishment it needs.
Resist restrictive diets. As your body changes through perimenopause it may be tempting to take drastic action. However, denying your body food past the point of hunger risks exhausting you and puts needless stress on your hard-working body. Moreover, these drastic diets rarely serve you in the long-term. Often resulting in binge eating after, or even before, the diet is complete.
Give your body a break. Stop eating at 9pm and leaving 12 hours before you eat again. Whilst it’s absolutely vital to fuel your body with food, it’s work for your digestive system. So give it the night off.
Resistance and strength training is so important for women in their 40s and 50s. It’s not about bulking up, and don’t worry you won’t, it’s about keeping your muscles responsive. As we get older we lose muscle and just a few minutes of exercise a day can help. Women often resist strength training because it is seen as a ‘male’ form of exercise. It’s not. Women in perimenopause need to push their muscles a little every day to keep them supple and strong. Light weights and gentle exercise are going to make both your body and mind stronger.
Forming Healthy Habits
Sleep well every night. Nature has already designed the very best form of self-care for us by putting time aside for our bodies and minds to rest and recover. That, of course, is sleep. Yet, many of us are not making the most of our sleep. Either by not getting enough or because stress, diet and other factors are affecting the quality of our rest. I advise aiming for a minimum of 7 hours per night and ensuring you’re following healthy habits during the daytime so that your body is able to get the quality of sleep it needs. This includes getting fresh air, exercise, eating well, restricting alcohol and managing stress.
Regular orgasms have the ability to make you look and feel five years younger! Perhaps the body’s most natural way of reaching joy, healthy sexual activity is not only revitalising but also helps to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Having a partner, though potentially advantageous, is not essential to achieving sexual satisfaction so don’t be shy to include masturbation as part of your self-care routine.
Talk About Menopause. For many women, perimenopause can be a lonely experience because it’s not talked about often. Opening up to other women, especially those going through menopause, can do so much for your mental wellbeing, creating a sense of shared experience. I offer group sessions including my 8-week Menopause Wellbeing Fundamentals and my Mindfulness in Menopause programmes.
Confront Bad Habits
Limiting alcohol is always a good idea, but particularly in perimenopause. Although drinking can be sociable and feels like a well-earned indulgence at the end of a trying day, alcohol (yes even the pretty pink sparkly fizz) is a depressant. It may not feel that way whilst you’re drinking but alcohol affects your mood, sleep and hormones. It can also be responsible for weight gain and abate other efforts you’re making to achieve a healthier body.
Setting boundaries to protect your mental and physical health is of utmost importance for women in perimenopause. Although diet, exercise and sleep must be considered, techniques in dealing with stress and self-sabotage are vital to helping your body and mind through perimenopause. I highly recommend meditation, but gentle movement, spending time with loved ones, certain hobbies and mindfulness can also be great ways to care for yourself. It’s very important to lay waste to issues, tasks and even people who do not serve your wellbeing. You may find, during perimenopause, that you have a limited amount of energy. So be gentle to yourself and others by ensuring you direct the energy you have in the most positive ways. And please, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or to outsource tasks.
Perimenopause is a different experience from woman to woman and so there is no blanket advice. Except this – Be kind to yourself and to your body. Not all changes happening may be apparent to you but, no doubt, your body is serving you as well as it can. So be an advocate of yourself and your body. Not just unapologetically, but proudly.
Are you looking for a female coach to guide you through perimenopause? Book a no-obligation ‘Flourish and Thrive’ Discovery Call.