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Playing a new game…

… well actually it’s not that new. The game I’m playing is Whack-a-Mole! My mallet is a combination of herbs and vitamins and the moles are new and weird menopause symptoms.

No sooner do I have one whacked into submission when two or three more pop up, intermittently, chuckling evilly at my attempts to flatten them. The intermittent ones are the worst. They pretend they’ve been hammered, only to turn up again when you least expect it.

My doc must think I’ve lost the plot even though he said I should call or make an appointment if ever I’m worried about something. I could employ him full time and his work would never be done! And I’m just one person. From my research on various menopause forums I know there’s a whole generation of women out there desperately seeking reassurance and knowledge.

We need classes in our early 40s, classes like we had for personal health (at school) or pregnancy and childbirth. We could do with a menopause doula, a meno-buddy, as we journey towards the big M, as well as afterwards.

We’d also need to be sponsored by Prosecco and/or gin.

I’m on my soapbox today so watch out world, I’m channeling one of the seven dwarves of menopause:

Itchy

Bitchy

Sweaty

Sleepy

Bloaty

Moody

No prizes for guessing which one I’m channeling today!

Oh wait…. I forgot one, Forgetful.

Happy Friday Eve everyone xx

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If at first you don’t succeed…

… do you try over and over again?

Or do you take a step back, look at the bigger picture, see if you can spot the issue(s), make adjustments, and then give it another go?

I was reminded this weekend, that one of the definitions of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result. With this is mind, I am scrutinising my weight-loss program following the completion of my Couch to 5K challenge.

I haven’t a clue what to change but I’m doing a ton of research. The trouble is the advice is conflicting, confusing, confounding and other words beginning with ‘con’.

What’s a girl to do? Try all the advice and work out which one works? Stick each piece on a dart board and throw a dart to see which one to try? No idea.

Yet!

Lucky me… I know someone who specialises in treating eating disorders. I may bend her ear for advice.

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone xx

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Where was I…?

… not a clue. I was in the middle of a team meeting this morning when I had a complete loss of marbles. How embarrassing.

One minute I was in full flow, answering a complex question rather well. Then I drew breath to continue with some recommendations, and subsequently lost the thread. I had no recollection of the original question, let alone what I’d just been talking about. What on earth just happened?

Blooming brain fog!

Menopause, you picked a lousy time to rear your menacing head. How dare you steal my marbles, especially when I’m doing my best to earn a promotion! Give them back right now.

And while we’re on the subject, what did you do with the ideas and notes for today’s post? I know I put them in a safe place, but it seems to have moved.

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My conscious life blueprint – Community & Giving

Blank Gold Medal

At last, the final section of my blueprint! I’ll need to find another source of inspiration for the rest of the month…

This final section starts off with what seems like a very odd question, considering the topic.

“How can I take my yoga practice off the mat and into the world?”

Huh?

I suppose I could view every surface I come into contact with as a potential mat. Forward bends at the photocopier. Sun salutations while I wait for my lunch to heat up in the microwave. Tree pose in the supermarket queue. The possibilities are endless. Maybe this question is not meant to be answered quite so literally. If that’s the case, then I’m stumped. Any ideas?

Next question – “What small upgrades can I make to my lifestyle that will positively impact the world?”

  1. Eat more veggie meals to cut down reliance on greenhouse gas-producing meat sources
  2. Shop local for the meat I choose to eat… fewer food miles and less transport stress for the animals
  3. Eat veggies that are in season instead of relying on imports – again reducing food miles
  4. Keep bees – we need our pollinators

Actually that last one is more of a large upgrade. I’ve been fascinated by bees for as long as I can remember. I love nothing better than when a bumblebee lands on me… I could spend hours watching them. I did just that during the summer – completing bee surveys for the Royal Horticultural Society. I’d love to be a bee keeper. Apart from my love of bees, I always end up smiling at the thought of being covered in bees… one of my favourite Eddie Izzard sketches.

Anyhoo, back to the matter in hand.

“What do I feel passionate about and want to support more openly?”

Menopause! Wouldn’t it be great if women going through perimenopause had a mentor/buddy who could provide support, an experienced listening ear. I wish I’d had a menobuddy when it all started. It would have saved me months of terror, imagining I was about to die of some hitherto undiagnosed medical calamity. Just think of the savings in prescription costs for all those antidepressants.

And finally, “What big community goal could I set for the next 12 months that would greatly help others?”

As I am not a fan of running anywhere (my chest takes on a life of its own, even in the sturdiest of sportswear!), I have made a deal with my daughter that we will run a 5K race for Cancer Research UK next year. I’m not interested in how fast I can run, only in can I complete the race.

Well I guess that concludes the epic blueprint. All that’s left to do is to make it all happen.

 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone x

Blog Posts

My conscious life blueprint… work & career

It is often said that if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. So far, I’ve spent all of my working life working so I guess the search continues.

Following the theme from recent weeks, I am completing the blueprint section for work and career. The first question has my attention.

“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

Cue a large dose of blue sky thinking. I think the best way to answer this is to not place restrictions in the mind. Answer it as if I have no responsibilities except to my inner child. What does she fancy doing?

Easy! Hand in my notice at work, write an amazing, life-changing book, live of the sales of said book and its sequels, and run wellness courses to coach perimenopausal/menopausal women in how to reclaim the fun in this part of our lives. This looks more like a mission statement than an answer.

“Am I willing to take measured risks to pursue my dreams?”

Yes I am. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That said, I still have bills to pay and a pension to pay for so I need a steady income.

“What new skills would I like to develop?”

I have a big wish list. In no particular order, here it is –

  • Crystal therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Angel Oracle Card Reading
  • Kitchen-garden witchcraft

Now to find the time to combine my entire wish list with my paid job so I can give my inner child the time of her life!

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My conscious life blueprint – Intimate relationships…

Couple

Here we are at the third section of my life blueprint. Intimate relationships! Hmmm. That’s quite an interesting subject to write about without blushing and flushing! My husband must be wondering what I’m writing about, if the subject elicits such a response!

Fortunately, the Journal has a number of guiding questions to help fill out this section. Reading though the list, you’ll see it’s not focussed on sex at all. Was that where your mind jumped to? It’s exactly where mine went. Mmmm. Fancy that!!

Back to some of the questions.

What are three things that I most appreciate about my partner?

Easy. He is my absolute rock. Whenever I get my knickers in a knot over something, he’s the one calming me down. He is the most optimistic person I know. And finally (well not really finally… there’s loads more) he makes me feel cherished and safe.

How can I be more open-minded and accepting of my partner?

Ooooo! I think I have open-minded nailed. However, ‘accepting’ might be a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes hubby is so driven to complete DIY jobs around the house, he will prioritise this over taking time to rest up and enjoy what he’s achieved so far. He believes in finishing a job as soon as possible, whereas I will tackle the big jobs in bite size chunks. He just can’t sit still and chill. Perhaps it would be an idea for me to accept that this is what makes him tick instead of trying to force him into relaxing. Accepting that he ‘needs’ to complete the job for his own gratification will stop us from being at loggerheads over it. I admit to getting quite cross when he’s still painting at 9:00pm. Instead, I will accept that this is ‘fun’ for him, and do something else, or grab a paint brush and join him.

What are my partner’s dreams?

I think he dreams of saving up a decent sized pension pot as soon as we can to enable us to stop working for ‘the man’, and go exploring the world. He doesn’t have a bucket list, but if he did, I bet a trip to New Zealand, visiting Hobbiton would be right at the top. Closer to home, he would move to Cornwall in a heartbeat if possible. Me too for that matter. We pisceans love being near the sea.

And you thought it was going to be about keeping things hot in the bedroom!

Although the questions for the blueprint section do not specifically address libido and sex, there’s no doubt they play a part in an intimate relationship. I’ve experienced many a waxing and waning of both during perimenopause. I think my beliefs and expectations played a part, as well as a not-so-strong pelvic floor.

My beliefs were that we women waved goodbye to our libidos at this point, that everything ‘down there’ simply dried up and stopped working as well. It’s common knowledge, after all. You only have to switch on the television and within the first set of adverts, there will be one for incontinence products for those inevitable oops moments.

Apparently this is a common problem for us ladies. Yes, well just because something is common, does not make it normal. Most of us have fully functioning pelvic floors before pregnancy and childbirth so why can’t we have that function back again? I know every time I mentioned it at my well-women check-ups I was told the lie.

“It’s to be expected after having babies.”

My babies are grown up now so why was I reduced to randomly stopping, crossing my legs and holding on for dear life every time I wanted to sneeze or cough. And as for running, jumping or dancing, forget it unless the bladder was empty. Hayfever season was the worst!

However, I have since discovered that we can do something about those oops moments. We do not have to line the already fat coffers of the Tena Lady company. We can save our money and invest it more wisely in ourselves. There is an army of unsung heroines out there, specialists in women’s health and physiology. Quite by chance I met one at the beginning of this year. She gave me a thorough check up (nothing invasive) and we discovered I had a diastasis, and a pretty big one too. I’d never heard of this and had to have it explained. It turns out that my abdominal muscles, which separated in the middle when I was pregnant, never rejoined. In fact the gap was big enough to get five fingers in it.

That explained why running, jumping, sneezing etc were troublesome and also why, even though I lost a heap of weight, I still looked pregnant! Six weeks later, following weekly exercise sessions and some homework, the gap closed and I could sneeze and cough safely and dryly. There was an unexpected bonus too, and this links to the topic of today’s post, the old libido came out of retirement, much to hubby’s surprise (and mine too!).

So here’s my advice to any woman suffering from oops moments, find a fitness coach who specialises in women’s health and reclaim your pelvic floor function. It’s never too late and no, you are never too old!

Blog Posts

Where did I leave my marbles?


One of the most disturbing changes during perimenopause are the psychological effects. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was not a big fan of psychology, preferring to treat every symptom with pills and HRT patches. Even when faced with irrefutable evidence that none of this was working, I clung on, desperately hoping they would improve tomorrow, or the next day, next week, next month. But they did not. At best, the symptoms that bothered me the most remained unchanged. Some days I feared for my health, both mental and physical. Other days I was quite convinced my marbles were on leave. Permanently.

A fortunate set of circumstances led me into the path of an accomplished and experienced psychologist, Dr Croskin*. Not that I had any faith in psychology but what else could I do? I’d run out of options with conventional treatment. The poor woman had her work cut out for her, trying to gain my trust and confidence.  

So what did I discover over the next few years? The single, most profound discovery was just how powerful our minds are. I still remember the day my copy of Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life” landed with an ominous thud on my doorstep. As I ripped the packaging off and stared at the pretty pink heart on the front cover, I remember asking myself what the heck I thought I was doing. How on earth could positive thinking help me get over all the horrible things I was going through during perimenopause? 
I flipped towards the back of the book, in search of the famous List, and made an A-Z chart of all my symptoms and their probable cause. You can see my approach was still quite rigidly scientific. I was certain I would not find any trends or correlations. I was in for a shock. The results were astonishing. The overwhelming majority were rooted in fear, the remainder in anger. Given that my childhood and teenage years were dominated by a mother with narcissistic tendencies the results were not a surprise to Dr Croskin. 

They were, however, a turning point for me, a paradigm shift. Fear and anger were feeding one another in an endless cycle. The trouble with circling is you don’t move on. At some point you have to jump right in and put the brakes on. Dr Croskin and I worked hard over the years I saw her. Using EMDR and talking therapy, along with acupuncture, tincture of sage, yoga and mindfulness meditation, the endless cycle of miserable symptoms gradually ground to a halt. I discovered a new path, a new way forward. No more circling for me. 

 
And the fate of my marbles? I stopped looking for them. They are no longer relevant. They belong to my time as maiden and mother. Cronedom here I come! 

*Not her real name