I’m a 32 year old woman.
I recently had my first baby.
I'm not peri-menopausal quite yet.
So for me to speak about how to manage symptoms of menopause may seem a little out of my lane. I get it.
However I am one year postpartum from my first child and after digging into research have found that what happens to the body hormonally directly after birth is almost parallel to what happens hormonally in peri-menopause.
So while I can't speak to the slowly evolving symptoms and experience of menopause, I've dealt with my own sharp hormonal fluctuations and symptoms and picked up a few things along the way.
Pregnancy comes with soaring levels of hormones. As soon as the placenta comes out, these hormone levels plummet to peri-menopausal levels within 24 hours after giving birth and it can then take a number of months to recover. Sofie Jacobs midwife in Belgium
With my own hormonal fluctuations there were a handful of actions that helped me transition to a more stable place. These actions supported my body through symptoms of hot flashes, moodiness, anxiety, low sex drive, and low energy. Here are four easy to nail strategies to help you feel your best!
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Sleep was my number one Bae. Whenever I was able to sneak in naps, I was on it!
I fully realize that there may be elements of your life that don't allow you to sleep your best. Other kids, work, partners, pets... I get it, sleep doesn't always come easily.
I would wake at every noise from my baby, hot flashes would wake me in a pool of sweat and nursing and pumping, well that shits endless. It wasn't easy. So when I did sleep I made all the efforts to maximize quality.
Stellar Sleep Tip for the Best Night’s Sleep:
I kept AC pumping to keep my bedroom cool
I had night eyes that blocked out the night lights I set up for late night feedings
Ear plugs to block out small noises
New set of PJs right next to the bed so when you’re soaked in sweat you have new clothes at the ready
Nasal strips to help me breath better, with hormone fluctuation your tissues can swell, which results in smaller airways
Took warm shower before bed to destress
Bought a new mattress to help stay cooler as I sleep
Sipped on sleepy tea with CBD in it before bed
I was NOT messing around. I spent money, and time researching options to help.
Sleep is a full on profession for me and I'm the freaking CEO. Truth is you can do all these things or some of them but the only important thing is that GOOD sleep in mandatory. If you can't get a lot of sleep then at least make it GOOD sleep.
Don’t trust me on how life changing this is. Take one night to test it out. Put the ear plugs in, drop the AC in the room, throw a blanket over the window. Take a hot shower get in comfortable PJs and we can chat in the morning.
2. Vegetable Focused Diet
I grew up on meat and potatoes. So as an adult I had a lot of the same diet tendencies. I found myself hating meat just as much as I did in pregnancy. I felt sluggish after meals and just wasn't interested in eating.
I reached out to a professional to refocus my diet with vegetables as the main attraction. She helped me make veggies the focus but also providing options for plant based protein.
With major changes in hormones heart health, bone density and mental health are affected so providing nutrients that support organ function, and reducing foods, such as such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, that impact the symptoms of menopause or postpartum worse.
With these changes I saw immediate improvements in my mood and energy levels after switching to more plant based nutrition.
3. Low(er) Intensity Strength Training
A reved up spin class or fast paced circuit style class was not going to help destress my body. Hormones are already up and down, by stressing the body more, recovery, sleep, and cravings are harder to manage. Strength training, at low intensity, will help the body feel its best and energy can be amplified instead of depleted after workouts.
FYI…..Extra stress can tend to exacerbate symptoms like hot-flashes. And no one likes hot-flashes.
4. Restorative Exercises
I found practicing meditation during pregnancy were some of my favorite moments. Just me and my little one. I was able to reflect on anxieties I was having and learned meditative practices to release them. This helped to keep my stress, anxiety and hormones in check.
Like any life stage, postpartum recovery (and menopause) are transient. As you transition from one phase of being to another, mindfulness exercises can be really useful. Learning how to zoom in on the now and zoom out on the past can help you to gain perspective and feel less anxious. Sofie Jacobs midwife in Belgium
When you break it all down these ideas aren't new and revolutionary. veggies, sleep and movement? What! You don't say!
However, they are good reminders that the basics help support our bodies through times of upheaval and transition. There is nothing that will stop menopause from happening. We have to ride it’s wave but I’ll be damned if I don’t at least doggy paddle my way through to the other side of those hot flashes.
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Lindsay is the co-founder and First Lady of AMP Fitness as well as the head nutrition coach in our FOODCAMP™ Nutrition coaching program. Lindsay implements a body-positive strategy to help each member and coaching client NAIL their health and nutrition goals. She's also a SUPER mom and is a pre- and post-natal coach for all things fitness.