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Menopause blog 4 lost your Mojo?

Well it’s not surprising… We’ve hit that age when our parents probably need more care and support, they are much older, frailer and more vulnerable.  If you have children they will be stressing over GCSE’s, A levels, University, travelling the World, relationships, work, finances etc which impacts your purse and tests your metal and without doubt if you’re working, you will have a role of responsibility or will have continued pressure to improve, when you’re probably maxed out and knackared (from low quality sleep given the 5 hourly, hot flushes you experience during the night on a regular basis).  To top all that off, your husband’s most likely going through a bit of a ‘mid-life crisis’ too. Apparently, men experience ‘hormone dips’ resulting in an ‘andropause’! https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/male-menopause/). He feels left out because you’re spending what little bit of ‘you time’ available training for your Triathlon much to his shock and or horror. It’s not a wonder you don’t feel very romantic when they do! This all puts strain on your relationships which manifests itself in raising your cortisol levels, hence you feel even more stressed further impacting your perimenopausal symptoms.  You’re so busy you start forgetting things, you’re constantly tired and your partner and kids start complaining that you’re ‘narky’ and ‘menopausal’. Fact is you are, but it’s not a nice thing to hear in this tone. It’s an insult, an accusation not sympathetically understood but angrily insinuated that you ‘should do something about it’. Thing is, we want to!

The truth is, that during the menopause “Mojo wanes”

Fluctuating levels of oestrogen can make you cranky, edgy and even at risk for depression until brain chemistry stabilises after menopause. “Brain fog” can make it harder to concentrate and remember things, and sleep problems make you tired.  However, Fellow age groupers; ‘Exercise is a known stress reliever and mood booster. Research has found that people who exercise are better able to deal with the ups and downs of aging, Serra said. “You feel better about yourself because you’re accomplishing what you can … and that makes you more able to deal with these other stressors, both physical and mental, in your life. (B. Snyder Berkowitz 2017) ”

What needs to happen is for our significant others to ‘back off’ and have a bit of empathy. Julie Dennis (https://juliedennis.net/) has written a useful resource book ‘The Hot Flush Freedom Challenge’ and the last chapter ‘the final word. Let’s hear it for the boys’ (p107 – 109) is written for your other halves and in the nicest possible way, explains what you’re going through, (the key symptoms of the peri-menopause) and makes suggestions on the types of support that you need through this phase of life; e.g.

Meg Matthew founder ‘MegsMenopause.com’  has added a vlog which shows her talking to her daughter about the menopause which she believes all women should do which is both informative and encourages empathy:  https://megsmenopause.com/2019/03/31/motherhood-vlog/

What other practical things can we do then to get our mojo back? Well I reckon;

  1. Accept that’s not you it’s your hormones. It’s a phase, we’ll get over it and be kind to yourself!
  2. Continue training. Exercise is important to get those endorphins flowing. However, (and I’ve been there) sometimes it’s just not feasible so take a few days off. Maybe you need it? Training with sleep deprivation and dehydration can take its toll, so rest up. Rest is where the magic happens right? Give your body a break, it will do it good. https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/how-to-beat-that-workout-slump-5-tips-to-rejuvenate-your-motivation/ Just be mindful to shut that chimp up! (Steve Peters 2012) Meet up with some friends or spend time with family. Spoil yourself make up some healthy food, drink more water (I know, I’m raising my eyebrows too… But wine will just exacerbate your mood and further dehydration so you’ll feel like rubbish the next morning. Is it worth it? I always regret it and vow never to do it again, another raise of my eyebrows!)
  3. But what if that chimp just won’t shut up? I mix up my training. I suggest you go to a club session your training buddies should motivate you. Or if swim, bike run, is unthinkable, go the gym and do a class. The music will be fun, you’ll be burning those calories, it will focus your mind and stop you procrastinating.
  4. Have a new life challenge or set some different goals. Triathlon is a fantastic mix of Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, Half, Full, anything in between on and off road. Why not try an Aquabike, Aquathon, Swim run Otillo, Duathlon, Quadrathlon? Or hit the individual disciplines for a while and take a break. That old saying ‘a break is as good as a rest’? If this is just too stressful join the ‘fitness and well-being’ brigade. Just stop racing, instead focus on keeping fit and healthy. Racing is added pressure mentally and both time and finance heavy. If you’re suffering from anxiety why put more pressure on yourself? Rather focus on having improved mental well-being, feeling calmer, stronger and more flexible. Taking a ‘sabbatical’ from racing could help you come back stronger with and improved perspective? Hear what this forum said about breaks: http://forums.transitions.org.au/topic/72910-taking-a-break/ or https://www.triathlete.com/2012/09/training/triathlife-with-jesse-thomas-take-a-break_62277. Food for thought.
  5. Positive Mental Attitude, PMA. Try to be a glass half full person https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/headshrinkers-guide-the-galaxy/201203/is-your-glass-half-empty-or-half-full and remind yourself about what a great person you are. List your achievements sporting and otherwise. Michael Neill (life coach) suggests you meet your own needs in this simple exercise:

And if it’s persistent and long lasting,

  1. Go and see your doctor and tell them. They will discuss options with you and together you can choose a way forward which could be medication e.g. prescribed HRT or you could choose the alternative route and investigate natural alternative therapies such as Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt/alternatives/. I’ll delve into this area in another blog. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for your fellow ‘hot woman’ please don’t hesitate to contact me or send a comment. I really need triathletes who use HRT or Bioidentical therapies to get in touch (TPMTriathlete@gmail.com.) and share their progress this would help inform us all please share your stories.

Until next time, The Peri-Menopausal Triathlete x

Ps: Heads up this week on BBC Breakfast TV : BBC Breakfast To Focus On Menopause With Live DGRI Episode:  https://www.dgwgo.com/entertainment/bbc-breakfast-dumfries-galloway-hospital/

 

References

Dennis. J ‘The hot flush Freedom challenge’ 2017 Practical inspiration Publishing

Neill. M ‘Feel Happy Now’ Hay house 2007

Peters. S The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness.  Vermilion publishing 2012

Snyder Berkowitz. B  ‘How menopause affects athletic women’ By The Washington Post  Mon., Jan. 2, 2017 https://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2017/01/02/how-menopause-affects-athletic-women.html 9.5.19