By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
Contributed by Farra Allen, MA, Psych
Red Hot Mama indeed, your body temperature is up – you’re HOT! Your emotions are running high, anger is up – you’re HOT! Your sex hormone levels are down – you’re NOT HOT! You are in a major life transition, sometimes it feels like a crisis, sometimes it feels like you can’t get out of that feeling you don’t want. Your stress level goes up, both physical and mental stressed increasing. Your mind goes on overtime and the emotional swing may resemble a roller coaster with more dips than climbs. As your children leave and your reproductive glands go, so does a big part of your self identity which you’ve had for so long. It’s more difficult to maintain that figure. How do you manage to feel good about yourself? You may be looking to re-claim your true Self (I separate the word and capitalize the S to emphasize this when appropriate).
Even if you are years away from menopause, you may be experiencing many of the same symptoms. As you pass through the natural phases of life, your anxiety level increases; you’re losing sleep and wondering why? You may be asking what’s wrong with me? You are beginning to move into a natural life cycle called perimenopause.
The rest of you are in full bloom “mid-life crisis” and you can’t change that.
What do you do?
You may know what to do. Exercise will indeed lower your stress level. Eating the right foods, taking helpful nutritional and herbal supplements, and getting sound medical advice will also help. Adequate sleep is imperative as depression can easily set in when we are sleep deprived. You may even know that meditation and/or praying aids you. If you are able to give to yourself what you need whether that be a massage, a facial, a body treatment, or even retail therapy (shopping), etc., etc. Whatever makes you feel better is what you need to be doing. You know that and yet you don’t always do it.
The real issue: How do I do it?
Especially when you are already feeling down, how do you feel good enough about your self to do what you need to do? Most of the information you read focuses on what to do, however does not tell you how to accomplish this not so small feat? Before you can even take step one, you need to have motivation, “possibility.”
There is hope
As you lose estrogen, another pre-existing hormone becomes more dominant. “The percentage of testosterone increases,” says clinical psychologist Judith Sherven. “As a result,” says Sherven, many of her female patients report feeling “…more energy, more ambition, and more gumption… what’s happening in a woman’s life may also account for a renewed sense of self. Particularly for women who have stayed home with children, as their familial responsibilities decline, they feel a drive to create something new!”1
As a coach, I offer clients a new way of looking at the same set of circumstances. When your perspective shifts, all of a sudden there is possibility where there was none prior to that. Psychiatrist Robert Tan (associate professor of geriatrics, University of Texas) concurs, “After completing their family raising duties, a lot of females have the urge to spend the next phase of their life challenged in new ways. They may return to school, start a business, or otherwise launch themselves into another productive phase.”2
You should approach your transition as not only a hormonal change which you have no control over, but as a psychological change as well. This perspective opens up a world of possibility for you. You are abreast of loss, and yet this opens a new door.
Who are you?
This being the age old question that many find difficult to answer, there are ways of going about discovering it. Begin to look at what you naturally provide your friends. If you don’t know, ask them. What do you naturally want to contribute to others? What are your unique gifts? What do you love to do? What is your passion, your purpose? What do you value most? Who are you “being” distinct from, what are you doing, have done, or not done? Focus on what you do have control over. You can begin to forge a new Self, an identity predicated upon your essence. This new Self identification can be a reclaiming of the Self that may have become dormant especially if caretaking has been the order of the day. Most importantly appreciate your Self for who you are NOW.
What do you want?
What are you up to? Maybe you have been so busy attending to other’s needs. The question is, what do you need? What do you want to make happen for your Self? If you were to give something of value to others, what would you like them to have? You can do this NOW. You don’t have to wait. Many of you may feel like life has passed you by, it’s not too late. You can even integrate what you want to give to others into your current life as it is now. Look to see how you can do that.
Where do you start?
- Formulate a strategy, a plan of action, concentrate on what you can change and that will move you forward.
- Set up a step by step process that will enable you to achieve your goals and desires, even your dreams that may have been shelved along the way.
- Take baby steps, ones that you can accomplish. If 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times per week is your goal, start with walking, then fast walking, then jogging then you can move into aerobic exercise. You will gain momentum along the way and you will feel more optimistic.
- Start that new business you have wanted to do for so long. Successful people do what “failure” won’t.
“It isn’t easy to face your fears, but you have to do it to save your life,” says Rhonda Britten (life-coach and author of Fearless Living, Fearless Loving, and Change your Life in 30 Days).
How do you make it happen?
- Make the choice to change your life, you can do it.
- Commit to your goals, to who you are, what you say and what you are going to accomplish. Until you really commit, you cannot gain the support from the Universe to accomplish your intentions.
- Muster the courage and willpower; this is what it is going to take. You are bigger than what you think.
- Remember who you are, tap your strengths, your passion, and maximize that to give you more of what you need to get the job done.
- Take action, this is most important as habits and old stories that run in your head can best be altered through direct action. This begins to anchor in a new belief and furthers you down the path of getting what you want and deserve.
- As you begin to accomplish steps, take more chances. If you are uncomfortable, look for a new perspective that will enable you to feel better about the step and take the risk.
- Stay persistent, if you don’t succeed one day, look at it as if everything that comes your way is in some way leading you toward what you want even if it doesn’t look like that at face value. Go with the flow, resistance will only slow you down.
- Own your power, ask for what you want, declare your Self and stand strong for “being all of who you are.”
- Allow into your life what you have set out that you want. Choose what you have NOW and stay positive and optimistic. You will then attract the very things into your life that will bring you the most fulfillment.
In summation, it’s one thing to know what to do; it’s another to know how to make it happen. For some, this second step is enough, for others we may need more. Many times we are bombarded by so much it is difficult to sort it all out. Most go through their entire lives without having a clear understanding of their purpose and their passion. Once one gains this clarity, we still need a strategy, a plan of action which
will deliver for us the result we want. We need to find a way to integrate our passion into our existing lives and/or create a structure for fulfillment to live our dream and juggle everything else in our life. Furthermore, all of us have some unconscious patterns that at least slow us down if not stop us from attaining these objectives and we then get tired and have a tendency to want to give up. Life is too short and especially at this stage of the game we deserve to live a life that is personally fulfilling. When you make that choice to get the support you need and to somehow, someway make it happen for your Self NOW, no matter what it takes THEN AND ONLY THEN YOU WILL…Feel Good about your Self.
1Midlife: Crisis or Opportunity by Elizabeth Heubecck, MA, WebMD, August 10, 2005.