Somewhere between your mid-30’s and late-40’s, you’ll begin to notice a few changes in your body and mood that make you go “hmmm…” That favorite pair of jeans that used to fit perfectly? Well, they’ve shrunk a bit and you’re experiencing the first signs of muffin top. If people thought you were moody during PMS, they’d better hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. You suddenly crave chocolate for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
Most women will just chalk it up to being overworked, stressed out, or just plain tired. And it’s true. All of those things shape your attitude and outlook on life. Like it or not, though, fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain are also among the first signs of menopause. You’ve read about it, heard stories from friends, and knew it was coming. Why now?
Menopause is going to happen. But instead of dreading the symptoms, take the time understand your body and prepare yourself for the next stage in your life. And even though menopause affects most women in very different ways, there are a few things we can all do to get ready for the journey:
- Don’t underestimate the power of Mother Nature. She gave us hormones for good reason and now she wants to take them back. Why? Because she can. So embrace this experience. There’s no way to stop estrogen from packing her bags.
- Start exercising, if you aren’t already. It’s hard to find the time, energy and focus to get on the treadmill, but it will really pay off in the long run.
- Replace chocolate—which is not a food group, by the way—with vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Your body will thank you.
- Discover new ways to unwind and relax. If you can pull something from your handy bag of tricks when a mood swing strikes, people will be grateful. Especially those closest to you.
- Seek counsel from wise women, good friends, and your doctor. It really does take a village.
Menopause is a part of life. Some women make the transition with hardly any notice. For others, it can be a little more challenging. The more you know, recognize and plan, the easier this transition will be.