Keep Your Brain Working

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 13, 2024

From the Editor…Karen Giblin- Keep Your Brain Working

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

-Eartha Kitt

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

Keeping our minds agile is sometimes difficult to do during the menopause transition. Memory lapses and fuzzy thinking are quite common but most women’s concentration and memory return to normal after menopause. And all our memory problems should not be blamed on menopause.

However, when our hormones start fluctuating at menopause many women feel that their brain is not working at its very best. Fuzzy thinking, problems with concentration, memory lapses are quite common during menopause. In fact, some call these “menofog” symptoms.

Personally, I sometimes feel as if I were in the Spring of my senility. It’s when I can’t remember where I put my key, cell phone, eyeglasses or even what I have walked into a particular room for. And it really ticks me off when I go to a store to buy something, and walking out because I have forgotten to buy it.

I have learned that it is vitally important that I keep my brain in tip top shape. The things that have helped me to do this is by eating a healthy diet, getting regular daily exercise, reducing stress and, for me, taking hormone therapy which has helped me because it has alleviated my hot flashes, night sweats, improved my sleep and my mood. But hormone therapy may not be for everyone. And I have followed the increasing evidence that suggests that I need to challenge my brain like the phrase says “Use it or lose it.”

Some strategies I’ve incorporated to challenge my brain are by:

  • Keeping a calendar to record my appointments and daily to do lists and marking tasks when they have been completed.
  • Writing things down – notes or lists which helps me to remember information.
  • Keeping items, I’ve typically lost in the same location all the time.
  • Clearing the clutter to minimize distractions by turning off TV while I am reading instructions, silencing my phone while I am working on a project.
  • Repeating names and things to myself until I memorize them – repeating and rehashing!
  • Engaging in social activities.
  • Stimulating my brain by learning new things, keeping it engaged and challenged– by taking an adult education class or auditing a college course; attending lectures and exploring the cultural life within my community; or traveling to new places. In essence by never staying stagnate!
  • And, by taking care of myself by staying physically active, getting a good night’s rest, limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking

In closing, please remember that it is never too late to start developing habits that can offset memory related changes.

Good Health to You All,

Karen Giblin