Having a healthy mindset as we enter the third age is more important than ever. Often, peri-menopause hits just at the most stressful time: caring for children and elderly parents, juggling work, relationships, a household..and on top of this dealing with the incredible changes our bodies are going through.
In this time of hormonal fluctuations, adrenal health is paramount and will affect the whole of the endocrine system.
Chronic stress encourages our bodies to produce cortisol from the adrenal glands. If this is an ongoing situation with no release, our bodies are encouraged to store fat,, our glucose and insulin levels rise, and with this our risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Plus we feel rubbish.
The good news is that there are many strategies to help us build a healthy mindset, which in turn will help us manage stress.. This will result in healthy adrenals, a good thyroid balance, good weight management, a healthier metabolism, more energy, sex drive and less ‘brain fog’. We will feel GREAT!
So what can we do…
‘Get into the (new) Groove’
At the end of a stressful day, replace ‘I must have a glass of wine’ with ‘I’m going to try a different strategy which will nourish my health and well being.’. This might be a potter in the garden or a Yoga DVD. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones you will be making a new habit-forming groove which will serve you better.
Radical Self Care is a key component to 3rd Age Health. Prioritise your own physical and emotional needs OVER those closest to you. Think of the analogy of being on the plane: we are told to put our own oxygen masks on before we place one on our child. Why? So that we are able to function well and help others. For you to be ‘present’ and healthfully care for others, you must first care for yourself.
Do some Life Laundry
Who in your life brings you joy? Who drains you? How is your work/life balance? Drill deep to work out what and who feeds your soul, what you need to get rid of and what you need to keep. Set consistent boundaries with those who take advantage of you.
Find a comfortable place to sit and take a few deep breaths. Slowly start to breathe normally. Keep your mind focused on the breath. If it starts to wander, just bring the mind back to the breath.
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If you don’t have time to sit and meditate for 15 minutes, practice mindful awareness: for example, when showering, keep your mind on the present, the smell of the soap, the feel of the water on your skin..keep bringing your mind into the present.
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Just say ‘NO’
Have a ‘no’ or ‘probably not’ ready for those situations where you know you’d be acting out of obligation if you said ‘yes’. This gives you time to go away and think about whether or not you want to commit yourself. When we do things under obligation,
Schedule some JOY
When you wake up, before you check your emails, texts, and the demands of others, write down YOUR schedule for the day. Include at least 2 things that will bring you joy – a walk in the park with the dog, a Pilates class, something which nourishes your mind, body and soul.
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Julia Willmott is an award-winning Fitpro with 10 years of experience. She specialises in women’s health and menopausal fitness. She also runs M Power Retreats helping women to eat well, think well and move well through perimenopause and beyond. www.juliawillmott.com
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