September 7, 2023

How to Prepare for Menopause in Your 40s

Life goes by quickly. Suddenly I was 40 years old and realizing that I’m in or close to the second half of my life. For me, that was an exhilarating feeling, not a scary or intimidating one. Aging is going to happen, and how we approach it has a lot to do with how we live each day. My approach is with intention and being deliberate, with care and kindness, to myself and to others. I developed the idea to “live striving for excellence each day” - not perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist. In our earlier years we think it still could; however, the older we get and (hopefully) the wiser we get, the more we can let that tall tale go. Entering my 40s also made me realize that it would be wise to learn how to prepare for menopause and that upcoming stage of my life. One of my favorite ways of thinking is “let the future me thank the past (or present) me.” So that is what I’m doing. I’m setting myself up for as good a future with menopause as I can. I'll share how I'm doing so.

Not Much Beats Outside Yoga in the Garden

Move Your Body With Me

This may sound overwhelming, but one of the best ways I have prepared for aging with success and how to prepare for menopause is by moving my body each day. It’s not a rigorous workout that I’m talking about, either. If you can’t do an hour, do 30 minutes. Don't have 30 minutes? Do 10 minutes. Don’t overthink it, please. While my favorite group exercises are yoga and Pilates (which last about an hour each), a lovely morning or evening walk is what I do on the days I’m not able to practice those. I’m generally a morning workout person, so if I don’t do something before lunch, there is a slim chance I’ll do it later in the day. Not always, but as a rule of thumb, I’ll actually get it done in the morning. Figure out when you’ll do said movement and commit. This is a really big component to successfully sliding into menopause.

Vegetable Soup with Farmers Market Ingredients

Eat Like It Matters (Because it Does)

Food! It’s one of my favorite topics. Not because I’m obsessed with overindulging or overeating, but I’ve discovered what really good quality food is. It’s become an absolute pleasure to cook and eat. Growing up, I had to eat what my family served. At 12 years old I went vegetarian. My mom didn’t know how to feed a growing vegetarian child, so I reverted to mainly pescatarian with some chicken as well. That is my diet to this day. I purchase most of my food from the farmers market for multiple reasons that I outline in this blog. When my husband and I cook, we feel like we can hardly take credit because the ingredients are so stellar. They do all the work, we just assemble. Eating healthy and consciously is a big part of how to prepare for menopause because eating style matters. Of course I still eat junk once in a while, but I don’t crave it that much when I have the best products around. Truly, I can’t say enough about eating well. If you don’t already and you’re in your 40s, time to start!

Real Friends Color Coordinate Accidentally

Connect with Awesome People; Eliminate the Fluff

Where do my role models come from? I’m grateful for the internet, books (great list here), and podcasts (check out my favorites) because I can follow people like Mel Robbins and Simon Sinek for great advice. In my everyday, I seek out humans that I simply admire. Maybe I don’t admire every single thing about them, but I find aspects that I enjoy and love and ask them to hang out. How to prepare for menopause these days requires thought, and I put a lot of thought into who I want around me. You are the average of the five closest people to you, and it’s important to me to keep those five people rotating depending on where they are in life. I’ve gotten good at identifying people who hold me back, who hold themselves back, who lift me up, who encourage me. The list goes on and on. I’ve made really hard decisions in my life to eliminate people who do me more harm than good. While it’s hard, it’s liberating. It will help me in my years to come when I need it the most. Do yourself the same favor. You'll thank yourself.

No One Interrupts Their Sleep Schedule

Early to Bed and Early to Rise Gets the Proverbial Worm

Who doesn’t love a good night of sleep? I know I do. The older I get, the more I notice that things can really interrupt my sleep schedule. Even if I think I’m doing all the right things, something could disrupt and I find myself reading in the middle of the night to pass the time. One huge thing I started and highly recommend is having my phone sleep in its own room, specifically my office. My Kindle stays next to my bed, but that’s my reading device so it’s not leaving. Any other temptation to distract me from sleeping is no longer welcome. Sleep is so important in how to prepare for menopause. Really, it’s important throughout most of our lives, but I’ve just been aware enough lately to notice it more. Not much gets in the way of my sleep schedule, and you’ll find me crawling into bed anywhere between 8 pm and 9:30 pm, depending on the day. Once in a while I’ll stay up later, but my body clock wakes me up at the same time each day. Get some sleep, ladies. It’s going to serve you well in this prep time for “the big change."

Part of Therapy is Gratitude Journaling

Keep a Regular Therapy Sesh

So much of my growth has happened in my therapy sessions over the past decade. If therapy is how to prepare for menopause, then I’ve been preparing myself since my 30s. I’ve noticed my moods getting more intense some months, and it’s very frustrating. Having a regular therapy session, even if it’s once per month, has been a big key to helping me in this transition. Like it or not, your body changes year to year, decade to decade. Noticing these sudden or slight changes is paramount to successfully getting through to the next stage. My therapist is a smidge older than I am and I feel like I can lean on her in some ways as a big sister, a confidant, and a mentor. And that includes questions about bodily changes and anecdotes in her own experiences. Find yourself a good sounding board, my friends. If it’s a therapist, get a good one who can help you relate.

My Younger Self Who I Thank for Being a Brave Soul, and the Hair Style 

Accept the Changes that Are Here and Coming

Changes are inevitable. Do I love looking into the mirror and seeing lines around my face, my chest, my neck? Not too much. But I’m embracing all of it. I definitely don’t want to look like a plastic surgery nightmare, and I plan to age without any plastic work on myself. That’s my plan for now. It could change so don’t hold me to it - I do have the right to change my mind. Accepting who I am in my physical body and in my personality have been huge in how to prepare for menopause for me. I don’t like everything about myself, but I do wholly love myself. To be my friend is to be a true friend. And having those people, although many times fewer and further between the older we get, helps us to get through and accept the wonderful human each of us is. It’s hard for me not to look forward to the many other changes that will take place in my life. Enjoying and accepting where I am and what’s coming are huge for my mental stability and health. Remind yourself everyday that you are good the way you are today, and tomorrow you’ll be better.

Getting “Old” is a Gift!

Aging with grace can be tough. I partake in purchasing skin care products, maybe buying clothes that are young for my age. Who cares? It’s part of the fun of how to prepare for menopause in my 40s. Hanging on to a little bit of youth and enjoying the ride of getting older is a fine balance. My lady friends who are going through this know I’m talking about. All of these items on this list are keys to how I’m coping and even thriving during this time of change. My future self is already thanking my present self for all that I’m doing. My plea for you is that you find your own ways of doing preparing. We’re on this journey together. And I’m here to help.

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