Midlife Musings: Debra Johnstone
“Menopause is the last thing I need at the moment, on top of my workload!”
These were the words that sat staring at me when I opened an email the other day. I pondered for a while before answering.
“Menopause isn’t the problem, because that’s a transition..”
Menopause Isn’t The Problem:
You see, that sentence is a dead giveaway of what the real issue is. Menopause isn’t the problem, because that’s a transition, just like puberty. The real issue here is the workload or rather the mindset that created it.
So if we were to reframe it would be – “My workload is the last thing I need at the moment because I am in the menopausal transition.”
But too often we lose sight of what menopause actually is and there’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding it.
It Won’t Be Easy:
I remember years ago, I was only in my thirties at the time; my boss was struggling through menopause. I distinctly recall her saying, “if you don’t have your shit sorted out beforehand, menopause won’t be easy.”
And she was absolutely correct. In fact, I found out firsthand when I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue at exactly the same time as my periods stopped.
“It’s a time of healing anything we haven’t fully dealt with in the past or the present.”
It Is A Gift:
Menopause is a gift; it shows off what needs to change – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It’s a time of healing anything we haven’t fully dealt with in the past or the present.
It’s like a big mirror that sits in front of you and shows you everything that can’t be put off any longer. And I’m not just talking about physical things.
It’s so easy to distract oneself from that reflection in any other phase of life, putting other things and other people first. But when it comes to menopause there’s nowhere to hide, your symptoms will find you.
Our Symptoms Are A Signal That Something Needs To Change, That Is All!
The problem is, many of us reach for an instant solution like HRT, which is only one solution. I’m not knocking HRT because it’s a great way for some women to deal with it. It also helps us get back on track with everything we have to do.
On its own though, it’s unsustainable because we’re not dealing with everything that requires adjustment in life. Menopause is a holistic transition and when we start treating it as such, we come through with a lot more ease and flow.
This means we give ourselves more potential to enjoy our 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
“Exercise is also essential in this phase of life..”
Consulting A Specialist:
Requirements will vary for each of us because we are all different. Generally speaking though, it’s going to help if we adjust our diet, and consulting a menopause specialist is a brilliant way to do this. Exercise is also essential in this phase of life, as is some sort of spiritual practice, like yoga, TaiChi, walking in nature, meditation, and the like.
In addition to this, I’ve learned personally that the workload we take on can cause excessive amounts of stress. When we are overly stressed our adrenals release more cortisol and this decreases other hormones, which are affected by menopause. As our hormones deplete, our symptoms increase.
Our Body Never Lies:
So in effect by taking on too much we make our symptoms worse. Like me, you will eventually notice this is true, if you haven’t done so already. Our body never lies and will always give us indications.
There are a number of habits that cause us to overload ourselves and most of them are a result of our mindset and beliefs.
Our beliefs are mostly influencing us unconsciously. Even with our best of intentions to change, they can keep tripping us up. That’s why we sometimes start off really motivated to change, but end up going back to bad habits.
“If you have difficulty saying “no” when someone asks for help, ask yourself why you find it challenging.”
Helpful Hints To Begin Shifting Your Mindset:
By shifting our mindset we’re able to make sustainable adjustments, which then allow us to transition with more balance.
Working with our own mind can be tricky though, that’s why it’s a good idea to engage a coach. But here are a few hints and questions to give you insights and get you started. They can guide you to begin identifying unhelpful habits and the beliefs that may be influencing you.
Write down how often you say “yes” to the requests of others, when you really want to say no. If you have difficulty saying “no” when someone asks for help, ask yourself why you find it challenging. Write down the reason each time.
Reflect over how many times you actually ask for help and if it’s not much then ask yourself why. Make a written note of every reason.
What causes you to feel like you have to do it all? And by the way, that’s not a rhetorical question.
I’ve posed that question to so many lovely women and they immediately nod and say, “I know”. It’s a question that needs an answer, because it can give you a wonderful insight of what’s getting in the way of you creating more balance.
“Remember we train others how to treat us.”
Be The Change:
At the end of the day, if we wait for someone else to change so we can reduce our workload then we will wait forever. Meanwhile, menopause will continue to wreak havoc on our lives and wellbeing. Remember we train others how to treat us.
Gandhi meant it when he said, “Be the change”. The change needs to come from us and that mirror will continue to reflect back at us until we do.
About the Author:
Deb Johnstone is a Transformational Mindset Coach and a Midlife Transition Mentor. Experiencing midlife transition herself, she wanted work with more meaning and started her coaching practice in 2012. After the death of her father in 2019 and processing her grief, Deb experienced a deep loss of self where her identity felt challenged. It was through this that she felt the calling to work with women in this phase of life. It is now her mission to support women to transition midlife and beyond feeling confident, empowered and free to be your true self and live the life you want and deserve. You can connect with Deb on Facebook through The Empowered MidLife Woman where she posts insights daily, or connect with her through her website.