Wednesday, November 10, 2021


I - and many friends my age, we are in our mid-40s - are experiencing or on the cusp of perimenopause. I read this article in The Lily about how menopause isn't widely talked about and it pisses me off how little is known or taught about this massive shift in life, but that's a story for another day. We will clearly be talking about it here because the patriarchy can choke twice and die.

Last week I spoke to my doctor and my acupuncturist about peri-menopause and just feeling absolutely not myself. I have lived in this body for 44 years. I know a shift when one comes. Maybe you also think you're entering some shift and you've been brushed off. Maybe you just want to know what might be coming at you.

My acupuncturist had absolutely amazing advice and info. If you have an acupuncturist, please consider discussing this with them. Apparently there is a word in acupuncture that is used when discussing menopause and it boils down to stuck - everything becomes stuck and you need to unstick it. She needled me some and waking up hot has stopped since and I could die in gratitude just from that...but she was extremely helpful in other ways too, mostly with information and suggestions.

It should come to no surprise to any of us that you can really work to make yourself more comfortable with peri/full menopause by keeping your blood sugar down and stable, decreasing cortisol levels, exercising ,and getting the appropriate amount of sleep for your body. Otherwise known as half of the shit I don't want to or feel like doing - I am always down for the right amount of sleep . I am not now and never have been a person who loves exercise. Regardless, I have already made some changes since I've seen both of them because I'm a big fan of not waiting for anything you're looking to change. Start today, even without a full plan, even if you're still working it out.

I've gained weight that I attributed to quitting smoking or the pandemic but the truth is this is different weight. It sits different and it feels different. Obvi cut down on bread/pasta/rice, increase veggie intake. Tale as old as time, yes? Notice I say cut down because I do not believe in cut out. I don't think cutting out food groups is sustainable and I am not in the business of setting myself up for failure. That's a tale as old as time for a lot of women too. Not this one. We are realistic or we are nothing in my brain.

I don't drink much, but my acupuncturist said that many women struggle more than they need to with peri/menopause because of the daily wine they like. It interrupts sleep and that hurts.

The hardest one, especially for most women with kids. Or in our house, a 16 year old dog that doesn't keep regular hours unless you count 3 and 4 am as regular. My sleep in general has improved with the addition of magnesium supplements. Many people are deficient in magnesium and have no idea. I take Metagenix brand, and it has helped tremendously. I have taken other brands that did little or made me sick.

This is my least favorite, and one I have gone in fits and spurts with my whole life. So once again I have increased my time walking outside. Moving, no screens, fresh air. I walk outside all year and in all weather. Obviously walking has physical benefit but doing it outdoors is a great boost for me mentally.

I open my front door and spend $20, so it was not a big decision to spend $13 a month on the One Peloton app. I don't have the bike or treadmill, but the stretching, strength, and walking are great and the instructors don't annoy me with typical fitness bullshit that I loathe. I have stretched more in the past week than I have in my life and that is not an exaggeration. What a tremendous way to get un-stuck and what the hell is wrong with me for knowing I should stretch forever yet not doing it.

I'm also considering going back to water aerobics, which I used to do with Jenn years ago at the Y and really enjoyed. 

Exercise keeps your body in excellent operating order, keeps your heart and muscles in good shape, blah blah blah. It's also a good way divert your attention away from the screens we are always in front of everywhere, which is not ever a bad thing. Being able to do that while turned out in sweats and Nike sneakers or whatever floats your foot boat? Even better.

But wait, there's more! I also spent time discussing cortisol and serotonin levels with my acupuncturist. People always talk about endorphins and euphoria, which come with longer workouts. Serotonin production though...that's virtually instantaneous, and the existence of serotonins has been associated with a reduction in stress. Which is extremely beneficial to overall health at all ages, but especially as we get older and especially as we enter peri/menopausal years.

I'm not a huge TV watcher in general, and am absolutely comfortable in complete silence, but I have started listening to music more. Many gym-goers say that music helps them get through their workouts more easily, and it definitely makes me less sedentary around the house even. It's the perfect backdrop for cooking the food I should be eating or cleaning while getting some additional movement in.

This is a little helter skelter, but I wanted to put it out there while it's fresh. Perimenopause and menopause are normal and we'll be talking about them in public and if people are uncomfortable with that the discomfort is theirs to sift through, not ours. Thank you and good day. I SAID GOOD DAY.

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