January was not a good month for me physically. My period lasted 21 days and hot flashes started up again. At the same time I was usually freezing cold from my thyroid. The same thing happened last January. I was all ready for the final stage of peri-menopause to begin. Only it didn’t. I guess it was just a preview or a coming attraction because in February 2016 my body went back to normal.
So now we are in February a year later and I don’t know what to expect. No clue at all. I’ve read menopause is a pretty individual phase for women. Different symptoms, different things work to alleviate or lessen the symptoms. It is trial and error for each individual.
I think the hardest part is not knowing. Is this it? Will the end be soon? Or am I looking at years of crazy periods, sleepless nights and uncontrollable eating? Understandably I am feeling a bit depressed these days. Friends ask me what my doctor says. Doctor? I didn’t go to the doctor, I’m not sick. This is all normal for my stage of life. If my doctor could write me a prescription to go stay in the Adirondacks at a rest cure place I would be all over it. Breakfast in bed, a stroll around the lawns before lunch, a small craft project before a nap, a light dinner and a movie or reading before bed. No cooking, cleaning, laundry or shopping. No unlimited access to junk food. Just quiet occupations and fresh air until I pass into full blown menopause. That is the way to get through peri-menopause!
Alas, such places do not exist in this day and age and income bracket for a mother of a nine year old boy. But I did find a way to give myself a break. I gave into the depression, sort of. I took five whole days off from my normal routine. Yes I still cooked and parented and did things I had already committed to but the remaining time was all mine.
I let the days stretch before me with no plans or to-do lists. I simply asked myself what I wanted to do and I did it. Some of the highlights:
Day 1: I went back to bed for an hour to read and think after I got my son off to school. Before lunch I sat outside on my porch swing under a lap quilt with my journal. I enjoyed the cool, cloudy day and wrote down some of the many things I have to be grateful for. I planted some flower seeds my son gave me for my birthday last fall.
Day 2: I had to attend a Guild meeting I really couldn’t miss (I am the Secretary) but afterwards I stopped by Target and had a leisurely browse while picking up a few items for Valentine’s Day. After dinner I watched a cheesy Hallmark Valentine movie and ate some peach sorbet. It just felt right.
Day 3: I woke feeling rather exhilarated at the thought of the whole day in front of me. To my surprise I did my yoga and walked on the treadmill while e-mailing a friend. I watched “This is Us” and then thought I would sort through my paper organizer in my office. But on my way to my office I passed my bedroom and the sun and breeze coming in the open window looked rather inviting and the next thing I knew I was taking a nap. Until the dog barking at the UPS truck woke me up.
Day 4: After spending the morning helping out at my son’s school I felt wiped out. I came home, changed into some sweats and watched some basketball I had DVR’d. After the Heat win (Go Team Go!) I started in on the U of A basketball game. By halftime I realized I wasn’t really watching and crawled into bed to sleep until my son came home. Then I came downstairs and watched the rest of the basketball game while he had his snack and did his homework. Then I went back to bed and read until the house got quiet and I fell back asleep.
Day 5: As much as I wanted to ignore reality the truth was there were many things that had to be done. So I did them.
What did I learn during my five day break (that was really only four days)? 1. Sometimes I really need a chance to catch up on my sleep. 2. Even just an hour or two of quiet time may be enough to recharge my battery. 3. I really need to get outside more, I always seem to forget how much I enjoy my swing.
And on this Monday a week later? I feel good, ready to get back into the swing of things and not just sit on my porch swing. The break was a success.
I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day tomorrow!