The Menopause Diaries: Self-care is not something that comes naturally at this stage of life

Helen Seymour is in Peri-Menopause, or at least she thinks she is. In her new weekly column, we follow her on her journey towards the Menopause, learning as she does all about the big M


Frankie said “RELAX”.  Frankie clearly didn’t have three kids, a mortgage, sick parents, a psychotic co-worker, and a puppy with worms.

Taking time to relax, properly relax, not just sit down with a cup of tea and Netflix, is hard. Which is why most of us avoid it. Think about it. If I gave you the option of 30 minutes Meditation, or 30 Minutes with a flat white and Instagram, which would you choose?

It is hard work to switch off the brain, which is precisely why we resist it. And yet we have never needed to more than when we are in menopause because the hormonal changes that go on inside our bodies are tremendous. Our bodies are using up an awful lot of energy, just trying to stay in balance, and our nervous system is very stressed.

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Proper, daily relaxation for 30 minutes is essential. Here are some ideal ways:

JOURNEY INWARDS

Everything we do is external. Take 30 minutes to meditate, give thanks for what you have, and ask for guidance. Find your own spiritual posse. Find teachers you love, who can help you. For me, David Ji is the man when it comes to meditation, and I can’t get enough of Gabrielle Bernstein. I’m listening to her audiobooks in the car, which are transforming long commutes into Spiritual Journeys.

Related: How to stop the middle age spread

SLEEP

Read “The Sleep Revolution” by Arianna Huffington. It will put you to sleep. In a good way. Seriously. Order it now. It’s the grown-up equivalent of the children’s book “Go the F**K to Sleep".

EPSOM SALT & ESSENTIAL OIL BATHS

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Does what it says on the tin. Excess adrenaline, caused by feeling nervous and anxious, is believed to drain the body of magnesium, which is a natural stress reliever. The magnesium from the Epsom Salts calms our nervous system, while the essential oils will uplift, relax and restore. Have at least one of these a week, preferably in candlelight.

ZEN ZONE

Yes, this is a thing.  A Zen Zone is basically “anywhere nobody else can get in your face”.  It can be in your bedroom, where you can light a candle, play soft music, burn essential oils, do some relaxing yoga stretches. It can be a park bench on a sunny day where you practice deep breathing techniques in the fresh air. It can even be your car. Park somewhere quiet, roll back the seat, close your eyes. Listen to a guided Meditation, have a 30-minute power nap, or simply close your eyes and BE.

Related: I'm hoping Carole Vorderman's doctor will help with the Peri-Menopause headache

YOGA

Yin, Kundalini, Iyengar, Restorative, online, in a class … just do it.

HERBAL REMEDIES

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Such as “Stress Relief Daytime” by A.Vogel, which contains fresh extracts of Valerian Root can be used to calm nerves and reduce stress. Carry in your handbag. Also, “Spiritual Warrior” by Laurel Skin. Powerful.

COLD WATER

Run your wrists under cold water. Dab cold water behind your years. This is a quick fix you can do anywhere. There are major arteries right underneath the skin, so cooling these areas can help calm the whole body.

Related: How to tackle the dreaded dryness down under

HOT TOWEL WITH YONKA PHYTO-BAIN

My nervous system relaxes just thinking about this. Sold as a “Bath & Shower Oil” but do not waste it on those. Put a small amount of hot water into the sink and pour a few drops of Phytobain in. Mix with your hand. Place a fresh face cloth into the scented water, soak it well, squeeze it out, then press it against your face and inhale deeply. Repeat. Repeat again.

GARDENING

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Nothing grounds you more like pushing your hands into Mother Earth.

These are just a few. There are many more. What’s important to take out from this is the need to commit yourself to 30 minutes of proper, daily relaxation. So, find what works for you, and be like Frankie.

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