Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Keeping calm when all around is anything but…

Photo by Sayantan Kundu on

I know many of us are experiencing some wild physical and mental symptoms, maybe for the first time ever. What on God’s green earth is going on? In a nutshell your higher brain that does all the higher function stuff (amongst other things) has been hijacked by your primitive system, the flight and fright response. As it no longer has to deal with sabre toothed tigers it is now busy interpreting this COVID0-19 pandemic as a modern-day tiger. Given that we can’t see the threat (well not without an electron microscope) to make up our minds whether we can go ten rounds with it and win (or not), we are left with the flight response. Every fibre of our being is telling us to run for the hills… but wait… we’re in lockdown. We have to stay put.

Our poor minds and bodies are in a right old state inside. How does this manifest itself? Mentally this can show itself as stress, anxiety, inability to concentrate, overwhelm, sudden tears, anger and so on. Meanwhile, the large dose of adrenalin and cortisol rampaging round our bodies can create stomach upsets, headaches, insomnia to name but a few.

That should scare even the most chilled out of people. Even reading this might provoke a TIGER ATTACK response. But what can we do to calm things a smidge?

Photo by fotografierende on

Put the kettle on and make a nice cuppa. Here in the UK everything is fixed with a good cup of tea. I prefer to add cake just to make sure I’ve covered the bases.

While the kettle is boiling and the tea is coming to its senses, you can have a wee look at my list of calming strategies to help dial down the tiger attack response.

  1. Breathe. Slow it down…. Breathe in slowly through the nose but breathe out through the mouth even slower. If you know any yoga breathing exercises now is the time to dust them off and get practicing. If not, there are plenty of examples of calming breathing techniques on Youtube.
  2. Phone a friend. They are probably feeling the same and wondering if they too are losing their marbles. It helps to know others are feeling the same.
  3. Have a good old belly laugh at something. Find some silly memes, gifs, photos, animal videos that make you laugh out loud.
  4. Keep your hands busy… draw (even if you’re no Rembrandt), knit, sew, grab some coloured pencils and grab that colouring book. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out there and give it a good tidy-up. Be inventive but be busy.
  5. Stay away from social media and limit your access to the news. Twice a day to catch the headlines is more than enough.
  6. Be kind to yourself. Watch comforting movies, read a favourite book, listen to your favourite playlists.

And there you have it. Enjoy your tea and eat the cake, just not too much of it.

Stay home, stay safe and stay health my lovely readers.

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

How are you holding up?

My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice

Newt Scamander – Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

There’s no getting away from it, COVID-19 is a challenge for everyone to deal with. As this blog is mostly about menopause and related issues, I wondered how everyone was doing. How are your menopause symptoms fairing?

Photo by Skitterphoto on

Speaking for myself as a post-menopausal woman, I can tell you that the anxiety that reared its head during perimenopause is back with a vengeance. This time I can pinpoint the cause – worry! At least I know I’m not losing the plot this time, so that’ something to be grateful for. Still, it hasn’t stopped me from waking in the wee small hours, my brain jumping on the hamster-wheel of doom, endlessly worrying about various things such as:

  1. how to keep the family fed and supplied with the basics
  2. what to do if one (or more) of us catches the virus – will I cope?
  3. what if my elderly parents (one with stage 4 breast cancer and the other with bladder cancer in remission) catch it? Who would look after them?
  4. What if…. etc

Although I am consciously aware that I am ruminating on things that have not happened, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to put a stop to it. You notice from the above list, that apart from the first item, which is a genuine challenge, the others have not, and may not, actually happen.

Yay! I can whittle down my list of things to fret over to one single item. I am fortunate that Mr D is in the food production industry. He showed me the figures for supplies – we have plenty in the system. With lockdown in place and supermarkets changing opening hours, rationing items per purchaser, and reducing the number of shoppers in store at any one time, the shelves are starting to look more normal (at least where we are)– almost like the pre-Christmas rush. When people see stock on shelves they are less likely to panic-buy. Well that’s my theory…

Mind you, I am seriously concerned about the state of the beer and wine shelves, not to mention the lack of tonic water for gin! If this doesn’t improve I may have to be brave and open some elderflower wine I brewed last year! I may open it anyway, just to see if it’s drinkable. My last brewing effort occurred during my student days (a couple of decades ago… ok, maybe 3 decades ago!). The results were quite spectacular for a peach wine. Nobody recollects much about the resulting party.

If it’s no good, I can try to concentrate it, increasing the alcohol content, and use it for home-made sanitiser!

In the meantime, stay safe, stay at home, and keep smiling, even if you have to fake it sometimes.

Cath xx