My 5 secret strategies for a better menopause


Eileen Durward
@EileenDurward


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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  • Mary's photo avatar
    Mary — 04.10.2017 16:56
    Hi Eileen, I also do yoga, meditation as well as always getting ready for the day, make up, hair etc. I have found it a struggle both mentally and physically, at 51 yrs of age, lots of internal and external symptoms happening. Children growing up, family dynamics changing, and a big house move over the summer. With all these changes, lots of anxiety, even over little physical changes that I can't tell if they are normal for entering menopause. Lately bloating and ovary discomfort, I have made a doctor appointment of course, but feel I am over reacting. Perhaps because I am a nurse my mind goes into medical over drive. None the less, I don't want to run to my doctor for every little thing. Your videos have been so very helpful and informative, really giving me a sense of control and normalcy. Thank you for that. Oh right I shall pick up my knitting needles again this fall.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 05.10.2017 09:36
      Hi Mary Great to hear that you are enjoying the blogs, thank you! Anxiety (often over very little or even nothing!) is one of the most common menopause symptoms and most women will experience this at some point so you are not alone here! Just recognising the anxiety if you feel it coming on is good because you can start to use some kind of coping mechanism such as slow deep breathing or drinking a glass of water or even taking a few steps back from what has brought the anxiety on. Taking an anti-anxiety herbs such as Passiflora or Valerian or Ashwaganda or magnesium and a B Complex can often reduce the intensity so worth trying. Falling oestrogen can often affect the digestion and, again, bloating is a common symptom, often extra water and a bit more fresh veg/fruit can keep things moving but if the ovary pain keeps on or gets worth then it is wise to see your doctor.

      Reply

  • Noureen Tabassum 's photo avatar
    Noureen Tabassum — 28.09.2017 17:01
    My age is 46 I didn't get periods from last five months feeling hot flushes and High Blood pressure please give Me some good suggestions to over come this problem

    Reply

    • Eileen's photo avatar
      Eileen — 29.09.2017 11:04
      Hello Noureen, Your symptoms are common ones on the approach to the menopause. Many women start in this way. You could try Menosan sage tincture as this is traditionally used to tackle hot flushes. Avoid caffeine, fizzy drinks and high sugar foods. These can make hot flushes, anxiety and palpitations symptoms worse. Ask the doctor to test your hormone levels and blood pressure to clarify this for you (any heart condition is best investigated by the doctor).

      Reply

  • Caroline 's photo avatar
    Caroline — 26.09.2017 21:35
    Pilates, walking, gardening, and Woman's Hour podcast listening whilst I'm in the bath helps me de stress. Knitting has been my 'go to' since school exam stress! Great vlog this week Eileen. Thanks.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 27.09.2017 13:19
      Fantastic Caroline, keep up good work!

      Reply

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