J is for Juggling!

The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people (usually in their 40’s to 70’s) who care for their ageing parents while supporting their own children; including young adults aged 25 -34, who are staying or returning home in increasing numbers!

Keeping all those balls in the air can be a major problem! A Carers’ UK report in 2012 said that approximately 2.4 million people  aged 40 to 70 are both raising a child and caring for a parent. 

That in itself is stressful, but look at that age group! It is almost precisely the time that women are starting to feel the effects of peri and menopause!

A number of strategies are needed to cope with this situation so that you don’t become overwhelmed.

As with any big goal or change there are lots of actions you can take to reach your goal and it’s best to break them down into small steps. There are lots of changes we recommend. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick one you like the look of and practice it until you are comfortable with the change you have made, then add another to your repertoire. Make the changes gradually until you feel less stressed.

  1. Make yourself some head space. Take a break and practice meditation. Start with 5 minutes at a time and if you find your mind wandering, focus on your breath. There are several meditation apps. Two of our favourites are One Minute Meditation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6eFFCi12v8) and Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app)

2.       Exercise. The benefit of exercise to reduce anxiety and also menopausal symptoms cannot be underrated as it helps correct hormone imbalance which is the root of symptoms. Another advantage of exercise is that it results in lower levels of heart failure in post menopausal women. You can read more here.

3.       Manage your mindset. If you expect your menopause to be stressful and difficult then it probably will be. It is important to maintain a positive outlook. There are lots of ways to achieve this. One of our favourites is  use of affirmations. You  can find lots on our Instagram feed

4.       Reduce toxins. This can be the confusing one as we are absolutely  surrounded by toxic substances which disrupt hormones. Industrialisation has been great in so many ways and we as a society have benefitted lots. However many man made materials, cosmetics, household cleaners and products contain toxins which contribute to oestrogen dominance which in turn exacerbates menopause symptoms You can read more about oestrogen dominance in our article here. A great rule of thumb is to use items which are as close to their natural state as possible.

5.       Get good sleep. It’s so much easier to deal with anything if you have had a decent night’s sleep and are full of energy. Go easy on the late nights, and all night parties. Get into good bed time habits and avoid too much stimulation before sleep (sorry that includes your mobile phone)

6.       Eat a good balanced diet. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Focus on plenty of fresh produce like organic meats and fish, fruit and vegetables. Cut down on alcohol – you don’t have to ban it altogether.

7.       Balance your hormones. We advocate the use of natural progesterone cream and our favourite one is made by a company called Naturone, as it’s important to ensure you have the correct percentage of progesterone in the cream  To try it follow the link and quote MENOPAUSE MATTERS in the order information

Are you tired of feeling tired all the time?

Fatigue during menopause is incredibly common and it can affect so many areas of your life, such as concentration at work, ability to focus, being too tired and neglecting your  relationships and life in general.

We’ve had a few queries about increasing energy in our Facebook group recently. Its such a common feature of the menopause that we thought we’d get everything here in one place to help you raise these flagging levels.  It is primarily caused by hormone changes as your body prepares for the next stage. Here are some areas that you need to concentrate on to raise your energy and beat the tiredness.

Most importantly, the first thing you need to do is eliminate any other causes of fatigue. Visit  your doctor to check for underlying factors which may be causing it.

Once you know that your energy depletion is a part of your menopause there are several areas you should focus on to improve it.

Nutrition

Ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of fresh food, which is organic and free range where possible. Eat a wide variety of unprocessed food including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Processed food often contains lots of sugar and undesirable additives which affect your hormone balance.

A good quality multivitamin will help keep your levels topped up too.

Hydration

Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Keep your fluids topped up. Water is ideal. Alcohol, soda and caffeine aren’t (sorry!)

Stop doing too much

It should be obvious but most of us are simply doing too much. Assess what you are doing – is it really necessary? Could you delegate? Self care and taking time to relax and recuperate are crucial. It’s time to put yourself first and stop running on empty.

Get good sleep

A good night’s sleep where you wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed can seem like a distant dream in menopause, especially if night sweats are waking you up. Our article How to get a good night’s sleep has several helpful suggestions.

Hormone balance

Ensure your hormones are balanced. We recommend a bio-identical progesterone cream which is easily applied. If you would like to find out more about natural progesterone read our article here.

Rest and relaxation

Take periods of rest during your day and DO NOT feel guilty about them. They are very restorative. Your productivity levels will soar if you just take a break sometimes. It sounds counter intuitive but trust me on this one. A short break will have you raring to go. In your break, try and get some fresh air with a short walk or try some meditation.

Self care

All of these points count as self care and it is essential during menopause and peri-menopause to really take time for self care. If you find it difficult try making a diary note to include yourself in your day.

What ways will you try to increase your energy. Share them in our Facebook group, a community of like minded women who share gripes and good times.

Countdown to a naturally stress free Christmas

Naturally stress free Christmas

Christmas can be stressful and even more so if you are menopausal or perimenopausal. Try these steps for a naturally stress free Christmas

1. Planning: Planning is key to reducing stress at Christmas (and any other time of year) and if you suffer from a touch of brain fog you can use some help.  It’s time for some lists. Make a list of all the things you need to do, the people you need to contact, shopping you have to buy. Once you have everything out of your head and on paper, you have made space for actually getting some of the items ticked off rather than worrying about them. Start early and keep your lists updated. You will probably need to add things as you think of them. Remember to cross things off as they are done.

2. Delegate: Christmas is a fun time for everyone and you are no exception. It’s a great time to remind your family you are a team and all need to pull together. Allocate the tasks fairly and make sure everyone knows it’s their responsibility to complete them. Even the young or old can help out in some way.

3. Build in some ‘me’ time: To stay chilled and stress free over the Christmas period you need to build in some time for self care, whether it’s treating yourself to a massage, getting your nails or hair done or just relaxing in a hot bubbly bath.

4.  Relax: Take time to relax with friends or make yourself a cup of tea and read a good book.

5. Keep your eating healthy: Tempting though it is to stuff your face with chocolate and cakes which are more freely available at Christmas, try to resist. Keep your diet as organic as possible and above all avoid highly processed foods.

6.  Pace yourself: There’s always lots going on at Christmas. Remember you don’t have to attend every single event you’ve been invited to. Be selective and really enjoy the ones you go to. Send your apologies but don’t feel guilty about the ones you miss.

7. Manage your mindset: Make a decision early on not to get stressed and overwhelmed by Christmas. If you have a positive mindset and are determined to enjoy yourself then you stand a much better chance than if you worry about things going wrong, the turkey being raw in the middle and relatives being bored or fighting.

8. Set a Christmas affirmation. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men is a great phrase to repeat daily to remind yourself of the aims of the season.

9. 5 minutes of meditation: Make every effort to fit in five minutes of meditation every day. It will calm your mind and centre you for the rest of the day.

10. Take a hike: With all the festivities taking up your time it is easy to let exercise habits lapse. Try exercising which is a great de-stresser as it gets you out of the way and helps produce endorphins to make you feel great. Just fitting in a short walk 3-4 times a week will help.

11. Go easy on the Christmas cheer: In addition to the usual hangovers and bad moods following a night of excess, alcohol exacerbates hot flushes. Stay cool by moderating your intake. Just in case you overdo it try these ways to naturally beat your hangover

12. Enjoy It!  

How to get a good night’s sleep

How to get a good night's sleep in menopause

One of the most commonly reported symptoms of menopause is sleeping problems. Sleep is one life’s mysteries, although we are learning more about it all the time and a good night’s sleep is one of the cornerstones of health. 6-8 hours per night seems to be the optimal amount for most adults.

Circadian rhythms are the body’s response to 24-hour cycle of patterns of light and darkness. When they are disrupted it can weaken your immune system and disrupt your hormones, so it’s important to establish a bedtime routine.

 Here are 7 tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

 1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible.

2.  Room temperature is important. Studies show that the optimal room temperature is between 18C and 21C degrees.

3.  Don’t drink any fluids, especially alcohol and caffeine, within 2 hours of going to bed!

 4.  Increase your melatonin. Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep. Ideally, it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and complete darkness at night. If that isn’t possible, consider a melatonin supplement.

5.  Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) such as mobile phones, computers and TVs, as they disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin.

 6.  AVOID SLEEPING PILLS!  According to a 2007 analysis by the National Institutes of Health, sleeping pills reduced the average time it takes to fall sleep by less than 13 minutes compared to a placebo. Apart from being ineffective, sleeping pills also have potentially dangerous side effects.

7.  Listen to relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds to be soothing for sleep. An excellent relaxation/meditation option to listen to before bed is the Insight audio CD. Another favourite is the Sleep Harmony CD, which uses a combination of advanced vibrational technology and guided meditation to help you effortlessly fall into deep delta sleep within minutes. 

 

What are your tried and tested tips for a good night’s sleep? Comment below and we can all benefit from your suggestions