MENOPAUSE AND COVID-19
Always remember, menopause is a physical and emotional roller coaster ride even when nothing else in the world is going on. So COVID-19 puts us at greater risk in both arenas. Our stress levels already run high during menopausal years because we feel we can’t control what’s happening to our bodies. The weight of this moment is raising our stress and anxiety to new heights.
Overnight we went from going to the office to working from home, college kids unexpected returns from their dorms, waiting in endless lines at to the grocery stores to stock our pantries and freezers, wearing face masks and gloves, averting hugs and handshakes, washing already dry hands with obsession, and worrying that you’re the prime target age for this out-of-nowhere virus that has no cure.
So how do we chart a course into the unknown during our COVID-19 meno-pause?
Some women are secretly happy to claim this unexpected time out. Consider the perpetually exhausted mid-lifer who hasn’t been taking care of herself — now she can. And I don’t mean getting your hair and nails done, I mean gifting yourself with quiet time and space that’s not compromised by constantly being “on call” for others.
Other women find that working from home virtually means they are working even harder, unconsciously weakening their immune systems at the very time we need our bodies to be strong. Midlife is the crossroads when nutrition and physical movement become even more important. It’s the time chronic diseases get diagnosed, maintaining healthy weight becomes more difficult, and our value at work often diminishes. The current COVID-19 lockdown restricts aging women’s normal physical activities due to gym, park and beach closures. And our craving for COVID-19 comforts during these increasingly stress-filed times, leads us to consciously or unconsciously increase our consumption of sugar and alcohol.
Last week the Mayor of Los Angeles announced that Angelinos will be sequestered until May. That’s another 30 days. So, what can we do? Start today and take daily walks, challenge yourself to cook healthier meals, substitute a mocktail for a cocktail, start a journal — begin it with being grateful to be alive, move furniture around, read a novel, plant a garden, make a bucket list, clean the closets, start a hobby, finish something you’ve put off for years, sign up for a class on Udemy, listen to an inspiring TedTalk, get lost on the Internet, enroll in online yoga, meditation, or rhythmic breathing, download a new app, but don’t cut your bangs. You get my point, be creative, reconnect with yourself and make a change now not later that honors the life you’ve been given. This is the “wise pause” butterfly effect that will help you reap blessings for many years to come.
Up next week: Ask the Doctor answers…
“I don’t have hot flashes, I have cold flashes, what does that mean?”