New Year’s resolutions change as we move through different life phases, and this is especially true for menopausal women. As you adjust to this new phase of life, you may find yourself struggling to get oriented and set your intention for the new year. To help get you started, we’ve come up with seven general New Year’s resolutions that apply to anyone going through menopause. Consider adding some or all of these to your resolution list this year:
Resolution #1: I will educate myself about my health
Unfortunately, there is somewhat of a taboo surrounding menopause, which means that it often isn’t widely discussed. In fact, some gynecologists don’t even get extensive training in menopause unless they specifically seek it out as a specialty. As a result, you might feel like you know very little about what’s going on in your body in this new phase of life — and your doctor may or may not be able to help. Thankfully, there is a lot of information about menopause available on the internet, from trusted resources like major hospital networks, government health organizations and even eCommerce brands that sell menopause products. Start there to begin your menopause education, and ask your doctor for additional resources as well. If they can’t give you the menopause relief you need, do some research to see if you can find a menopause specialist who takes your insurance.
Resolution #2: I will advocate for my needs
Many women find themselves going through menopause at the same time they are balancing major responsibilities at work and at home. They are often reaching the peak of their career and taking care of kids or aging parents (or both) at the same time, all while dealing with their menopause symptoms. This can lead them to put their own wants and needs on the backburner. In the new year, resolve that you will stop letting your own needs come last in your family or at work. You are just as much a person as everyone else, and your needs deserve the same consideration that you give to other people in your life.
Resolution #3: I will make time for myself
This resolution can take many forms: making time for doctor’s appointments, making time for dinner with friends, making time to pursue your hobbies, making time to relax in the bath with no interruptions. However you choose to interpret this resolution, it’s all about making time for you and your needs — something that many menopausal women don’t do enough of. Try to take at least a few minutes every day, and a longer period of time at least once a week, for “you time.” Block it off on your calendar if that’s what it takes for you to spend some time on yourself!
Resolution #4: I will follow a healthy lifestyle
When it comes to menopause, many different lifestyle changes can help you find relief. One of the main changes is dietary — avoiding trigger foods that you know cause hot flashes, bloating, and other menopausal symptoms. Getting enough sleep is also important, as it gives your body time to heal and helps reduce your stress (which can worsen menopause symptoms). Working out can also help you manage menopause in a variety of ways. Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen weakened muscles, while exercises for a menopausal belly can help you fight off age-related weight gain. As you approach the new year, make some concrete goals that can help you follow through on these lifestyle changes.
Resolution #5: I will reduce my stress
We know this resolution is easier said than done, but it really will make a difference if you can manage it. Stress is a major contributing factor to the severity of menopause symptoms, and being under a lot of stress — especially chronic stress — can exacerbate hot flashes and other side effects. Stress management techniques such as deep breathing and exercise will certainly help, but so will reducing your exposure to your top stress triggers. Set aside some time to identify the things that stress you out the most, and brainstorm some ways that you can minimize those in your life as much as possible.
Resolution #6: I will stay socially connected
Due to all the demands on your time, it’s easy to let friendships take a backseat to work, family, and personal health. At the end of a long day, you probably want to just relax on the couch and watch TV instead of going back out to meet a friend for dinner. While this urge is understandable, it’s really important to maintain social connections outside the home, especially with other women who are going through menopause like you. In the new year, make it a goal to meet up with a friend or friends once a week (or twice a month, if once a week seems like too much to start). Get your spouse or a babysitter to watch the kids or pets and go have some social time.
Resolution #7: I will pursue my passions
Many women find themselves going through something of an identity crisis as they proceed through menopause. As their body ages and changes, many activities that they once enjoyed — such as long-distance running or adventure sports — may become too hard on their bodies. They also might find themselves slowing down and phasing out work, suddenly leaving them with a major gap in their lives. This year, make a resolution to discover your new passions (or rediscover old ones) so you can keep living a happy and fulfilling life. Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting and open up new opportunities.
We hope this list inspired some of your own resolutions for the new year. Whether you use these resolutions verbatim or adapt them to make them your own, we wish you all the best on reaching your goals in the coming year!