October 17, 2023
It’s menopause awareness month and while there are many beliefs about this transition period, not all of them are accurate. We wanted to boost awareness by sharing some practical tips and tools to help you elevate your wellness during this time so that you can feel empowered— adapting and navigating with intention, optimal health, and self-care. Keep reading as we touch on mindset, body love, physical wellness, and sexual health!
Research has found that women who have more negative attitudes toward menopause generally report more menopausal symptoms (Ayers, Forshaw, and Hunter, 2010). Guess what? It’s not too late to flip that switch! While menopause is a significant transition, it does not have to be a negative one. This is a time to prioritize one’s health, redefine one’s values, live in alignment with your core beliefs, and rediscover this other version of you. Accepting and celebrating where you have been along your journey and all it has led you to.
Body Love and Acceptance
In our society, it’s no shocking news that youthful bodies are often more celebrated, and deemed as ideal, desirable, or attractive. The facts: hormonal changes that occur during the menopausal process often lead to physiological changes such as weight gain, shifts in weight distribution, etc. Yes, your body is shifting, and it is still beautiful. If you are someone who is struggling with body love and acceptance, know this—the journey toward body love and acceptance can take time.
Give yourself permission to notice, honor, and celebrate not only the wrinkles but all of the smiles they represent. Instead of critiquing your arms or other body parts, celebrate all of the loved ones your arms have been able to embrace over the years. One way to get started with loving your body more is to carve out some time to write a love letter to your body. YES, an letter of love–write about what you appreciate about it, what you like the most, and how you hope to show love to it in the future. After you’ve written this letter, take extra time to read it slowly, allowing the words to sink deep within. You may not believe all of the words just yet, and that’s ok. We invite you to go back to it and read it again and again, whenever needed, and notice how it impacts you over time.
Movement Heals. Movement Boosts Health. Movement Boosts mood.
Increasing physical activity benefits not only our hormones, but also our brain, heart, bones, and gut. Incorporating Aerobic activities such as swimming, walking, and dancing can assist you in optimizing your health during the menopause transition. Moderate weight training can also build bone mass and prevent fractures.
Recommended activity levels are unique to each person and body so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.
Starting from scratch? Worried you won’t actually stick to a plan?
We get it—it’s important to be gentle with yourself and lean into what your body needs and can do.
We encourage you to start small, perhaps starting with small choices, such as parking further away from stores or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Perhaps consider joining a local walking group, health club, or gym providing activities you enjoy. Another option to try is connecting with a friend, sharing your goals of aiming to incorporating more movement into your life and seeing if they would open to joining you–this could be as simple as walking together, taking a yoga class, or swimming together. This can be great for accountability and encouragement as well.
Taking care of our sexual health during the menopause period is just as important as any other aspect. During menopause, one may experience an increase in vaginal dryness and in some cases, painful sex. Lower hormone levels can contribute to thinning and drying of vaginal tissues. If you experience this, talk to your doctor about the options available to address vaginal dryness.
The Office of Women’s Health (2023) provides helpful tips for improving sexual health during this period:
- Be active. Physical activity can boost your energy levels, lift your mood, and improve your body image. All of these can help increase your interest in sex.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking can reduce blood flow to the vagina and lower the effects of estrogen. This can make it more difficult to get aroused.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can slow down how your body responds.
- Have sex more often. If you choose to have sex, it can increase blood flow to your vagina and help keep tissues healthy.
- Allow time to become aroused during sex. Moisture from being aroused protects tissues and makes sex more comfortable.
- Practice pelvic floor exercises. These can increase blood flow to the vagina and strengthen the muscles involved in orgasm.
- Avoid products that irritate your vagina. Bubble baths and strong soaps might cause irritation. See your doctor or nurse if you have vaginal itching or irritation as it may be a sign of infection.
- Talk to your doctor or nurse about products to increase your sex drive if you are bothered by a low level of interest in sex.
- Practice safe sex. As your body transitions to menopause, you can still get pregnant. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy. Also, during and after menopause, use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs, or STDs).
From your mindset to your sexual health, here at Women Rise, we know that during menopause, it’s ALL important. Wherever you are on your menopause transition journey, give yourself to permission to shift perspectives where needed, listen and honor what your mind, body, and soul needs, and lean into this stage of life with confidence, renewal, and freedom.
*Please Note: The information provided on or through this website or blog is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. Engaging with this material does not constitute a client/therapist relationship*