“In China the menopause is known as the Second Spring and it is regarded as a time when women often find a new and more confident voice. Women at midlife are valued for their wisdom and respected for their life experience. Menopause is considered to be a new and surefooted beginning. That sounds good to me!” So writes Aisling Grimley, founder of the website and blog ‘My Second Spring’.
As Aisling comments “I created My Second Spring to provide a voice and resource for all of us during the time of transition and growth that is the menopause. Menopause is often an uncomfortable topic, still taboo for many of us”. Below she provides an overview of what the experience of menopause meant for her and how it lead to her new career path. She also provides information on being optimally healthy post-menopause with advice on nutrition, exercise and stress management.
The word menopause is an uncomfortable one for lots of us and yet it’s an inevitable phase of life. Like adolescence, the experiences of this transition can vary enormously from person to person. Maybe that’s why it’s not much talked about and kind of dreaded by many of us – we don’t really know what to expect.
About two years ago I started to notice some crazy moods in myself – irrational and extreme irritation, highs and lows. These feelings reminded me of my first pregnancy, so my initial thought/fear was that I was pregnant – I have 4 daughters and I was 48 – so pregnancy was not a welcome prospect. Following a negative pregnancy test, I deduced that my hormone surges must be related to menopause. With great relief I opened my arms to the prospect of the menopause – bring it on!
A Second Spring and a creative urge
I quickly came to realise that I knew very little about the menopause despite the fact that I’m very interested in health matters. I knew it had a general negative vibe about it but I had stored up an idea that I came across many years ago that in China menopause is known as a ‘second spring’. I began searching online for information and found it all quite confusing and conflicting. The websites I found most appealing were based in the US and didn’t feel totally relevant to me because of that distance.
The creative urge that often accompanies menopause found me thinking of expanding my horizons beyond full-time mothering. A local, Dublin-based, menopause website became my project. It’s called My Second Spring – www.mysecondspring.com. I launched it last October to coincide with the little celebrated International Menopause Day. I spent an intense but exciting few months getting up to speed by doing a course on Digital Marketing and a Start Your Own Business course. I created My Second Spring with an excellent website developer over several months. With the launch came the need for some newly found media skills for print, radio and TV. There were lots of new challenges!
Being optimally healthy – nutrition, exercise and stress management
As well as the idea of a second spring, I had also stored the idea that if we are in good health generally, both mentally and physically, as we approach mid-life menopause could be a less challenging transition. I think a 3-pronged approach to optimal health involves addressing nutrition, exercise and stress management. With this notion in mind I visited a local nutritionist and worked on a new programme at my gym. Here are the key things that I concentrate on and you may find this approach useful too:
- I try to balance my blood sugar levels by eating regularly and reducing sugary foods.
- I’m seeking out colourful fruit and veg in season and drinking 2-3 litres of water daily.
- On the advice of my nutritionist I’m taking Cytoplan’s Super B Extra, as well as Adrenal Support, Fish Oils and Vitamin C supplements.
- Looking after bone health is vital so I’ve increased my weight bearing exercise and am taking Vitamin D3.
- I keep a journal to track moods and thoughts. Coloured pencils add to the creativity!
- I’ve looked at my stress levels and become more aware of, and ruthless about, concentrating on the people and activities that are most important to me.
Midlife provides an opportunity to take stock
I think midlife offers us an opportunity to take stock and ensure that we head into the next phase of life with as little baggage as possible. This may mean adjusting our lifestyle and habits. It could involve reassessing relationships with those we are close to especially if those relationships are draining our energy or causing negative effects, unhappiness or stress.
I learned recently that as oestrogen levels drop, the body’s chemical make-up changes and some nurturing instincts decrease in favour of self-preservation – that explains a lot! So listen to that call and make this a time for self-discovery, new hobbies a time to put yourself first for your own sake as well as the sake of those around you.
If you need some support, information or inspiration at midlife join us at My Second Spring. The blog covers a wide range of topical issues and approaches to midlife.
Aisling Grimley lives in Ireland and originally took a degree in Business Studies. More recently she spent four years training to become a homeopath and has also spent the past 6 years as a volunteer with The Community Mothers Programme run by the HSE. To find out more about Aisling and My Second Spring, plus a range of topical blogs and resources on the menopause please follow the link below.
Aisling Grimley & My Second Spring: www.mysecondspring.com
With many thanks to Aisling for this positive, enlightening and informative commentary. If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.
Amanda Williams, Cytoplan
firstname.lastname@example.org, 01684 310099
RELEVANT BLOG LINKS:
Cytoplan Blog: Menopause and Osteoporosis