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For something that happens naturally to your body, menopause sure feels like it’s trying to destroy you. Like you’re mutating from within and when the metamorphosis is complete you’ll be a whole new you: or maybe have superpowers, at least. Right?!

And to some degree that is exactly what’s happening as women age through menopause and beyond. You could look at it like a right of passage, much like we tend to view the start of menstruation – okay, that’s how our mothers and grandmothers viewed our first period, we were kind of horrified and embarrassed. Here we are again, at a time in our lives when we think we’ve finally figured out who we are and where we’re going, and just like when we were 13 years old (or younger, or older, because there are no rules here, turns out), our bodies are smacked with physical and hormonal changes, which bring with them emotional and mental health baggage galore.

FUCK MENOPAUSE FBWhy didn’t they teach us about this in school?! Wouldn’t this have been more important than, say, calculus? What you do know about menopause leading up to experiencing it yourself is that your body is preparing to stop menstruating and that this often includes hot flashes. But there is SO much more to it than that, and the side effects can really throw you off your mindfulness journey, leaving you bewildered and feeling alone. Listen to your body and keep an eye out for these symptoms, and talk to your doctor about how you can find balance once again.

Menopause, like menstruation, doesn’t have an age restriction. The average age to reach menopause – a status recognized when you haven’t had your period in at least 12 months – is 51. But you can reach menopause much earlier or later. You can expect the symptoms of menopause to blanket your mind and body from a few years before you reach the pinnacle to a few years after: or longer, or shorter, of course.

Symptoms may include: hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, mood changes, depression, anxiety, dry skin, facial hair growth, bladder weakness, headaches, muscle cramps, body aches, inflammation, weight gain, trouble losing weight, fluctuating weight, and a decreased or increased desire for physical intimacy. Sounds like every day of your 30s and 40s, right? Which is what can make the actual onset of menopause a bit of a surprise. You’re kind of like, “Oh, I thought the fact that I have teenagers and elderly parents and a full-time job was why I feel mean, gained weight, and can’t sleep.”

Additionally, menopause can put huge stress on your mental health. And with that, also a strain on your personal relationships. Go ahead and Google “menopause ruined my marriage” and see that you aren’t alone in feeling this way! If fractures in your relationships – that includes friendships and business relationships – are compounding your overall menopause experience, pick up the phone and call your doctor ASAP to discuss this natural-disaster of chemical imbalance.

The good news is – and yes there is good news – that many symptoms can be supported, if not directly treated. This is why it’s important that you pay attention to your body and talk to your doctor whenever something changes. Just like your everyday life, the food you eat, the tea you drink, and the exercise you get can affect your symptoms. So keep track and work with your health team to find the right combination for you to get through menopause as balanced as possible.

Take a Mandalas4You class to help you take a breath and recalibrate your foggy brain. Host a live online workshop with a group of your fellow menopausing friends, or take an online class right now.

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