What I’ve learned about the menopause

What I’ve learned about the menopause

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Things I’ve learned about the menopause

Until relatively recently, the menopause was something I’d heard of but didn’t know much about. I figured that it had something to do with periods stopping, but I hadn’t a clue when this was going to happen or what it involved.

From my own experience as a child living with a mum going through the menopause, I knew it made my mum very grumpy. My dad used to whisper ‘it’s the change’ as if that explained everything. When in reality it made no difference to my understanding at all.

I don’t remember learning anything about menopause at school.  They seemed to concentrate only on how NOT to get pregnant and so my knowledge of menopause was sketchy to say the least!

My mum tried giving me a book about the menopause when I was in my early thirties, she’d realised that by the time I was of the age to have the menopause she wouldn’t be here and she wanted to offer her support. At the time I thought she was slightly mad, but now I appreciate the love that she showed me in that gesture. So as I headed towards 50, I realised that menopause might be looming, but it was still a very abstract concept. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

When will the menopause happen? How would I know? What can I expect?

My head was full of questions. When was menopause going to happen? How would I know when I was starting the menopause, what should I expect? Did it mean that I’m going to be permenantly grumpy too? (I asked my children this, they said I always am anyway which I thought was charming!)

I’ve learned that the average age for a woman’s periods to stop is around age 51/52 in the UK. Menopause is where periods have ceased for 12 consecutive months. So far so good. Periods stop, I can manage that!

Then I read on further. It seemed that there were many, many symptoms associated with the menopause and the transitition phase in the run up to periods stopping. This transition phase is known as the perimenopause.

All manner of delightful things can happen in perimenopause from loss of libido, stress incontinence, vaginal dryness, to mood swings, anxiety, low mood, loss of bone mass, irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, you name it! I started to quiver a little. One article I found listed 34 different symptoms of menopause! 34! And to make the whole thing worse, it could last for years!

It reminded me of the time when my mum had explained what periods were and when she’d told me that they lasted around a week. I could cope for a week. Then she dropped the bombshell that it wasn’t a single, one-off once in a lifetime week, it was one week out of every four, for approximately the next 35+ years. I can still feel that feeling of complete horror at the very thought. And now I’m having to face the reverse of all this. 

Fortunately I soon found out that it doesn’t always last for years and some women are lucky enough to experience little or no symptoms other than the gradual ceasing of their period cycle. Phew!

How do I know if I’m experiencing the perimenopause?

Often one of the first signs is a change in your cycle, it could become longer or shorter, or heavier or lighter than usual. You might notice some of the other symptoms, experience hot flashes or night sweats. Digestive issues can also appear (although it’s always very important to get any digestive discomfort, bloating, cramping or changes in stools checked by your GP, just in case) 

Anyway once I’d stopped quivering at the thought of all these potential symptoms I decided to see if anything could be done to help with them. Or was I supposed to just lie there, in a grumpy heap, feeling everything shrink back and pack itself away?

yoga

What can I do to help myself during the perimenopause or menopause?

Fortunately the more I read the more I found that things like having a good, balanced, nutrient rich diet (and keeping out of the way of sugar) can help massively, as can exercise. Now after being traumatised by school P.E lessons, I am still a little nervous around the idea of exercise but it sounds like the nicer sorts of exercise can be helpful. Like Yoga and Pilates. Both are great for building strength and for calming anxiety and boosting low mood. Pilates can be particularly helpful for alleviating stress incontinence. 

relaxation

Keeping stress under control is also a key factor during the perimenopause and menopause. Unfortunately this time can also coincide with having to hold down a job, juggle child care responsibilities, cope with elderly parents, as well as be a partner and friend. So this time can naturally be stressful, especially if you never get any time to yourself. Making a conscious effort to release stress (or actively avoid stress where possible) and to build into your lifestyle pockets of time where possible to relax and unwind, of taking any opportunity you might get to nourish yourself and your soul can make all the difference.

Even if it’s taking 5 minutes a day to do absolutely nothing (or to meditate, or to just sit in the garden with a cup of tea, or to stand in the shower and let water cascade over you) As a qualified Reflexologist and Massage Therapist my go-tos for destressing are Reflexology and Massage (especially if used in conjunction with essential oils) but we’re all different. Some of my friends have recently taken up wild-swimming and find that totally relaxes them. Find what works for you and make sure you pencil it into your own diary with the same fervour as if it was a work based appointment or a meeting with a friend!

 

Resources

Check out my article What is Menopause for more information of some of the more common symptoms

NHS article on Menopause

Read my article on Simple ways to Keep Active to help you effortlessly slot exercise into your day

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Please Tell me your story!

I’d love to hear YOUR experience of the perimenopause/ menopause. What symptoms have you experienced (if any) and what has helped you? If you’d be open to having an honest (completely confidential conversation) with me about your menopause please email info@sarahcooper.co.uk 

New moon, new beginnings

New moon, new beginnings

new moon rituals

The new moon is a great time to begin new things, whether this a new job, relationship or  a new project! It’s the perfect time for manifesting things you desire and is often a time of higher energy levels. 

So if you’ve been contemplating starting a new blog, taking up a new hobby or asking that person you’ve had your eye on for a while for a (zoom!) date, then the new moon is a great time to start. 

The new moon is a great time to sow seeds, make plans, and make things happen! But first you need to prepare your physical space energetically. 

 

Prepare your physical environment for the new moon

  • Wash your windows to help you see the world more clearly
  • Organise your desk
  • Tidy up any loose ends – give any borrowed items back, tidy away paperwork, empty bins
  • Buy yourself some fresh flowers 
  • Light a candle or put on a himalayan salt lamp or some fairy lights for extra light
  • Fling open the windows if appropriate and let some fresh air in
  • If your home needs clearing energetically, smudge with sage (NOT if pregnant or epileptic)
  • Dust and vacuum the floors, make your house/flat sparkle
  • Cleanse your crystals and reprogramme them
fling open windows

Decide what you would like to attract into your life

In your journal, list what you would like to attract  into your life.  If there is anything you’ve been meaning to do or get, write it on the list! Now pick just one or two main things to concentrate on for this month. 

Now map out steps as to how to get from where you currently are to where you’d like to be. Take one small step towards that end goal. Note any resources you need to gather and any help you might need in order to achieve your end goal. 

Each day take another small positive action until your goal is completed. Writing the steps out can help you to visualise what you need to do in order to achieve your goals. It can also help you be able to track the progress you’ve made.

Time to take action!

The key to remember when manifesting what you desire is that you need to give it a bit of a helping hand! If you want a new job, write or polish up your CV and submit it to job search sites, if you’re hoping to win the lottery, go buy a ticket!

If it’s a new car that you’ve got your eye on, take it for a test drive, figure out how much the repayments are going to be etc.

journal

Treat yourself like a goddess

Pour yourself a bath and add in some goddess bath salts. Make sure you have clean sheets on your bed and that your room has been aired thoroughly during the day so it feels like a sanctuary.

To make the bath salts

(Suitable for adults who are NOT pregnant)

To 30ml of Sweet Almond Oil add:

  • 2 drops of Frankincense essential oil,
  • 2 drops of Jasmine essential oil 
  • 2 drops of Black Pepper oil
  • If you are allergic to nuts please use GRAPESEED oil instead of Sweet Almond oil

Add the oil mix with 3-4 handfuls of epsom salts and stir well. Pack into clean, dry, screw topped jars and write on them what is in the blend.

Mix some bath salts into your bath and swish to disperse.

When in the bath relax and close your eyes and enjoy the aroma of the bath salts and the warmth of the water. Have a towel warming on the radiator ready for when you get out. After towelling yourself dry massage some good quality moisturiser or foot balm into your feet.

To find out when the next new moon is click here.

How to have a perfectly imperfect Christmas this year

How to have a perfectly imperfect Christmas this year

Warm socks by the fire

How to have a no-pressure Christmas this year

After the year we’ve all had the last thing we need on top is extra pressure to have a ‘perfect’ Christmas. So take the pressure off yourself and create the kind of Christmas that works for you and your family.

Be Realistic, life is NOT like the movies!

If you believe what you see on the movies everyone else is having a jolly family time with everyone looking doe-eyed at everyone else whilst having a nice relaxing game of monopoly in front of a roaring log fire.

However the reality is often more like over-tired children having a tantrum, grandma falling asleep in a corner after having her third helping of sherry trifle, dad trying to think of a reason to walk the dog for the third time in as many hours to escape the mayhem and mum wishing she was able to have a lie down in a darkened room with a good book and a glass of prosecco! 

People who usually spend a couple of hours at the most together every day are suddenly expected to be together in one room feeling happy and jolly for days on end and so it’s no wonder people end up with frayed nerves over the holiday period. 

So be mindful that what you see on films is probably NOT what is happening in household across the land.

Christmas Crafts

How to be really crafty this Christmas

Now there are certain programmes on Channel 4 telling you how to make all kinds of wonderful crafts for Christmas. If that’s your thing, great but if not don’t beat yourself up about it. 

Do what makes sense for you! If you want to hand make Christmas cakes and Christmas pudding and honey glaze everything in sight then great, but if you’re tired or poorly or time-poor or just want to spend time with the family rather than tied to the cooker you can buy a lot of things pre-prepped or frozen. Or if you’re feeling energetic they can be prepared in advance and some things can be frozen at home. Yorkshire Puddings and cauliflower cheese freeze well in advance.

If you have a very small family, you might find that it makes more sense to buy a chicken or turkey crown or a turkey roll. Or do away with the turkey idea and have your favourite meal instead. There’s no shame in having a curry or Christmas buffet or pizza if that’s what you prefer. Especially if no one in the family is that keen on a roast dinner! 

Make your own traditions

This year especially is the ideal time to make your own family traditions. One of our family traditions has been to have Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve. This has meant that we can spend time with the children on Christmas Day itself and we can either pick at the leftovers or have something quick and simple for Christmas day meals (often cheese toasties or pizza) which means that everyone can celebrate together.

It can add a layer of calmness to the day. Having a special lunch (with enforced eating of sprouts!) amongst all the excitement of Christmas can be a step too far for some people! 

 

My mission and Philosophy

Discuss Arrangements Ahead of time

This lets everyone be clear on what is happening and there are no misunderstandings. This is especially important this year with people forming social bubbles over the holiday period. 

This could be an opportunity to think who you would like to spend time with (especially if you normally end up spending it with people you don’t really get on with! Now maybe the chance for you to pull up the drawbridge, hunker down and have the family Christmas you’ve always dreamed of! 

 

Little ones will find it useful to know what is happening when and also what is expected of them. The more gentle guidance you give them the calmer they should be.

 

Christmas Walk

Take some time out just for you

During the day it can be helpful to take some time out for yourself! You don’t need to be constantly at it all day. It is your day too. If you need a nap or to do some yoga, read a book or fancy a short walk then do it! 

If you have children factoring in some quiet time can be very helpful. It’s also a good idea to get them out of the house for an hour or so by going for a walk or taking them to the park to let off some steam. 

How to have a perfectly imperfect Christmas this year

How are you going to create a perfectly imperfect Christmas this year?

Please let me know by leaving me a message in the comments below

7 Great ways to ground yourself

7 Great ways to ground yourself

What is Grounding?

When we are feeling grounded we have a strong connection between mind, body and soul. We feel connected, focused and strong. It offers us a layer of security. When we are grounded we are less affected by the moods, emotions and unreasonable behaviour.

When life throws you a curve ball you field it with grace. It doesn’t knock you completely off your feet. It’s a bit like big, strong, solid trees. They simply sway in the wind without breaking or falling over.

How can you tell when you’re not grounded?

You feel nervous and flighty and find it difficult to concentrate. Tasks are almost impossible to complete. You might be locked in a cycle of overthinking. Making any progress will be almost impossible. You might hoard material goods. You might be an overthinker who finds it hard to get anything done.

So what kind of things help you stay grounded?

Here are 7 great ways to ground yourself.

 

1.Focus on something for 5 minutes.

Give your undivided attention to something specific even if it’s just the lyrics to your favourite song, or the taste of the coffee that you’re slowly sipping. Or focus on the feeling of your body on your seat. If you’re outside, try listening to the sounds of the birds in the trees, the passing of the traffic, the sounds of children playing in the park.

Wear Red Lipstick to ground yourself

2. Wear the colour Red.

Red is a powerful colour also associated with the Base Chakra or the core of our entire being. Paint your toenails red, wear red underwear, wear red lipstick. Or wear a splash of red, like a red tie or scarf.

7 great ways to ground yourself

3. Just Breathe

Take time to focus on your breathing, take big, slow, deep breaths and as you exhale let go of everything that you no longer need. Imagine it being released into the atmosphere. Imagine every in-breath filling you with positive energy, love and light.

4. Diffuse a Calming Essential Oil or Burn incense

Diffuse a few drops of a calming essential oil in a diffuser. Good ones to try are Frankincense, Lavender or Rose. Burning incense is also very grounding and smells divine.

5. Use a heavy blanket

Use a heavy blanket on your bed to help weigh you down and keep you feeling secure. You can buy weighted blankets but an ordinary heavy blanket will still work.

6. Eat a light snack and drink a warm drink

Having a small snack and warm drink is great for bringing you back into your body and for returning you to your grounded state.

Walk barefoot on grass to ground yourself

7. Walk Barefoot on Sand or Grass

Kick your shoes and socks off and walk on grass or sand for 10 minutes. This allows you to feel any negative energy to flow through your feet back into the earth where it can be discharged safely. It also allows you to recharge with positive energy. Gardening is also very grounding. There is something amazing about getting your hands dirty with soil.

Visualisation to help you ground yourself

Imagine that you have roots going down from the soles of your feet, through the earth right to its core. Firmly connecting you to the earth and its energy.

Visualise a shaft of light from the crown of your head reaching up into the sky, above the clouds and beyond as far as the source of all that is. Feel safe and secure knowing that you are grounded to the earth and all that is in a safe, positive way.

Watch my YouTube Video on Grounding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TOD8GsAS7o&t=4s

How to create the life you want

How to create the life you want

How to create the life you want

Before doing anything it would be a good idea to take a few deep breaths, to really connect back with yourself and your own intuition and to think about what you truly want. It’s important to listen for that little inner voice who knows what you want and what you need. You may be surprised by what comes up for you. But go with it. You will instinctively know, deep down, what it is that you need. How you’d love your dream life be.

Take stock of your current life.

Take a few minutes to think about what you like doing, what is working well and what you’d like to do more of.

This could be something like you’d like to work from home one day a week, or have a later start. Or it could be that you’d like to travel more or have more time for friends, family and hobbies.

Maybe you’d like to find a volunteering role at an animal sanctuary, or change career to one that helps more people. It could be getting a monthly massage or hiring a cleaner. There really are no rights and wrongs here. It’s just about figuring out what you need then finding a way of making it reality.

If you’re not used to working instinctively maybe get a piece of paper and a pen and write down the first thing that comes into your head. That’s what your instinct is telling you.

Artist at work

What would you like to do less of?

 There are chores that we’d rather not do and meetings that we’d rather miss. (Maybe, dare I say it, friends that we’d rather not see!) I challenge you to think about what is on your ‘I’d rather not, thanks’ list and then find ways of dodging these things, permenantly wherever possible. 

It could be you need to buy a dishwasher if you hate washing up (or marry someone who does like washing up!) or buy a chest freezer if you hate going to the shops frequently. Or maybe doing online grocery orders, or to get your local farm shop to deliver a fruit and veg box once a week so you’re not having to battle with the crowds.

Clearly visualise the life you want

Take a moment to really picture in close detail exactly how you’d like your life to be, from getting up in the morning to going to work, cooking dinner and how you’d spend the evening. Imagine the log fire you’d like to curl up next to, the dog at your feet. Imagine the dinner you would eat, what your bedroom looks like, what car you’d like to drive. Picture everything in minute detail. Imagine you living your dream life.

The more clearly you can visualise this, the more likely you are to make this turn into reality. Once you have a clear picture of what you’d like your life to look like in your head, take steps towards making it happen. Magnetise yourself so that you accept things that take you closer to the life you want, and repel anything that doesn’t.

yoga

Consider how near you are to creating the life you want?

When I first thought about my ideal life I realised that actually it wasn’t so different to my current life. The main changes that I’d like were to form a daily yoga practice, to get paid handsomely for my writing and to make more soup. Maybe with an occasional visit to France for some nice vin et fromage thrown in for good measure.

Whilst some people’s dream lives may be way more glamorous than that, for me having my dream life isn’t a huge distance away! It could be that your dream life is only a few simple lifestyle tweaks away too.

Goal Map how you’re going to create the life you want

What do you need to do to get the life you need? It may be that you need to retrain to get some extra skills to land your dream job. Or it could be that you need to get some work experience in that sector first. It could be creating systems at home that work more effciently, or working more hours over fewer days thus having more days a week off. Or it could be buying something that saves time or money to make your life generally easier. 

reading

Create new behaviour patterns to take you nearer the life you want.

Sometimes we need to create new habits or patterns of behaviour to support the life that we want. If you always come in and switch the tv on after work, then find yourself slumped in a heap four hours later after rewatching that box set for the third time, you may need to create a new behaviour to help you reach out for the life you want.

If, like me, you want to write and get published, it would be helpful to actually get your bottom near your desk with your hands near the computer keyboard! If you want to get fit, going for a walk at lunchtime, or to the gym after work would be more beneficial than slouching on the sofa!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Take small steps to create the life you want

This may mean getting out of your comfort zone, doing something different to what you normally do or facing your fears. This in itself can be really scary but as you reach out of your comfort zone your comfort zone will start to expand and what scares you today will be second nature in a few weeks or months. So keep at it! 

Cancellation Policy

Reassess your life goals every so often

It is good to reassess life goals every so often as they can change, our priorities can change as can we! I remember at one point in my life wanting to have a vast library of books and wall to ceiling bookshelves in every room.

Now I prefer to use my iPad to read from and can’t think of anything worse than having thousands of books hovering around!

At another point in my life I craved having someone serve me cocktails under a palm tree on a desert island and then my three children arrived (more or less all at once) and then my dream was to have an entire cup of tea which was still hot and a trip to the loo on my own in peace! 

What you want from life will naturally evolve as time goes on. Things will get added, others crossed off and that is fine! Go with the flow and keep on listening to your heart and you’ll be just fine! 

Over to you!

What does your dream life look like? Please leave me a message in the comments or feel free to email me on info@sarahcooper.co.uk

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