Before we close for the festive period I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2024…& of course add a few words if you have time to read!
My goodness what a year - anyone else feel like it’s wizzed past extraordinarily quickly, or is it just me! Probably a poor excuse for the lack of timely newsletters throughout the year but one I’m sticking to!
As it’s that time of year a wee nod to a useful stocking filler for that special person in your life & provides an opportunity to get a few twinkle lights in there!
Available from all the usual outlets
https://tinyurl.com/4xt9cf8k and if anyone is in Edinburgh the delightful
https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/ now stocks it - what a wonderful book shop to go and browse in!
So what’s been happening this year…
Looking at the positives I would say Menopause awareness has definitely improved, undoubtedly helped by a cohort of celebrities reaching a certain age and becoming involved, accompanied by the obligatory media coverage.
But…we have also noticed a significant shift within the workplace this year with, not only more organisations coming on-board seeking education for their staff, but in their approach and thoughtfulness as to what their staff really need.
To explain - we have for some time encouraged organisations to provide not just one off educational sessions but to think about the wider picture…what a truly holistic approach to health looks like and how to provide further insight & support within the workplace. I’m delighted to say that this has resulted in us providing talks on a much broader range of topics as well as an ever increasing return to face to face sessions within the workplace; providing a combination of sessions whether that’s talks on the menopause, support with stress management, sleep management or providing taster sessions of complementary therapies such as reflexology, acupuncture or hypnotherapy.
Enough about the workplace I hear you say what about me as an individual without that workplace support - what can I do for myself? In one word…lots!
Before I get going remember one thing…please don’t try and change everything overnight!
As an individual, to make consistent & sustainable changes to your lifestyle which result in a better quality life, aim for tweaks & nudges not dramatic changes, otherwise there is the danger of falling at the first hurdle!
Keep that in mind and it will help enormously.
What should you be focussing on? Well, to start with, yourself rather than everyone else for a change - sound familiar?!
In an ideal world you want to be keeping an eye on:
Reduce stress levels…easy to write down I know…but how?
Through a multitude of different avenues. Look at your diet, exercise levels, sleep patterns, alcohol & caffeine intake for starters. What coping strategies do you have in place if you feel snowed under with life - have you looked into options like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or complementary therapies? My colleague Dr Becky Smithson has just written a very useful post on CBT, have a read .
Nutrition…what should you be focussing on? Firstly don’t exclude any of the major food groups or go on faddy diets. Your body needs to be nourished and requires energy to work properly and it’s up to you and you alone to provide the best options. Make sure you have a protein rich diet with plenty of fibre, reduce sugar content and refined foods as much as possible (but everyone needs the odd treat!). Don't forget about a calcium & magnesium rich diet. Focus on getting your nutritional content through your diet rather than relying on supplements, they are easier for your body to utilise, but don't forget about vitamin D - that's the one supplement we do recommend taking. A really good podcast to listen to for some great insights is https://www.well-well-well.co.uk/podcast - you might have a bit more time over the festive period.
Exercise…some of you will be inwardly groaning at the very thought, but your bodies do need to move! Sometimes you just have to think out of the box to find a form of exercise that suits you and provides all the benefits you need. It doesn’t necessarily require cladding yourself in lycra either.(I know I’m not a fan either!) If you don’t like running, cycling or swimming nor have the coordination to play racket sports how about skipping, twirling a weighted hoolahoop - both easily attainable on your back door step, or what about dancing around the kitchen to your favourite tunes for a prolonged length of time? It’s that time of year again when strictly is upon us…some of the fittest fleas on the planet and supple! Essentially, find something you enjoy, raise that heart beat and do it regularly. Again - it’s up to you - it’s your body!
Then we come to those stimulants, tricky, I know over the festive period when there’s nothing more enjoyable than enjoying a wee dram with friends. Nothing wrong in that at all but just be mindful of how much you’re actually having, are you hydrating well throughout the day and importantly do you give your body the odd break and have alcohol free days? Guess what…it’s up to you - it’s your body! Keep an eye on that caffeine intake as well…just saying.
Then there’s sleep - obviously so important & very restorative, but can be a problem for many. This is a topic which we need to and will cover in a separate blog post but for now focus on simply giving your body chance to sleep.
Think about the basics - what environment are you trying to sleep in?
Is your bedroom for sleep and sex only, not an extension of your office?
Take all tech devices out of there, that’s anything like your phone, TV, laptop. Have you had a relaxing lead up to bedtime?
Have you got one of those busy brains - try doing a ‘brain dump’ before turning that light off - write down (paper & pen not phone!) All the things you’ve got to remember to do the next day.
Just a few things which you can do for yourself that can make a huge difference and again, you are in control of.
Finally rest & relaxation - do you get some without the need for props like alcohol or other stimulants? Does your body really get to slow down, reduce those stress hormones and genuinely breathe a sigh of relief? Sometimes it takes practise…if you’re out of practise try giving yourself just 15 mins timeout a day and slowly increase, you will definitely feel the benefits.
There are many avenues to try. How about popping your feet in a magnesium flake footbath or add to a bath (very calming mineral). Listen to music, try meditation, go for a walk in the countryside, invest in a complementary therapy session…the list is endless but you just have to take that small step yourself and commit to taking the time out.
There you go a few things to think about as well as rushing around getting the Christmas shopping done, ordering the turkey, making the bramble gin (I’ve just decanted - delish!) and trying to complete that enormous, ever expanding to do list!
Just remember at the end of the day your health is so much more important than getting yourself in a tizzy about things…Christmas will come and go life will go on…please give yourself a moment now and again.
Finally…thank you for the continuing support we receive, we very much appreciate it. To all of you we’ve met & worked with over 2023 a huge thank you, it’s been such a pleasure.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2024.
Any information is as accurate as possible at time of posting and is for information purposes only. The information and support that Let’s Talk Menopause provides is for your own personal use. It is not intended to replace or substitute the judgement of any medical professional you may come in contact with. You should always seek advice from you healthcare professional regarding a medical condition.