Silver Linings?

I write this at 5am, in our temporarily quiet home while everyone is asleep. I used to get frustrated when I woke up early like this. Now, I relish in the peace and quiet. Before I had kids, I remember talking with a mom-friend who said she recently started getting up at 5am to write. It was the only time she had to herself. A long time lover of sleep, I was disgusted at the thought. I totally get it now…

This isn’t specific to perimenopause, but in my practice I do counsel women on seeing the bright sides of certain negative situations (like when your body wakes up earlier than your soul wants to). In this example, waking early offers an important opportunity for ME-time, something we all have less of as we age and have more and more responsibilities (whether or not that involves kids).

Another example is PMS. Long ago, I read Christiane Northrup’s book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. It inspired me to look differently at the phases of our cycles. She talks about PMS being a time when our bodies are more sensitive to the world around us. This is an obvious statement, I know! I don’t mean sensitive as in emotionally reactive, but sensitive as in more perceptive and more receptive. It’s like the blinders are taken off for a few days. This is uncomfortable.

But Dr. Northrup writes about it being an opportunity for us to receive information, process that information and make decisions. It’s a unique time and an opportunity to be introspective, realize what is and is not working for you and come up with an action plan.

Perimenopause, for many women, feels like PMS on steroids. For many of the women I meet in my practice, I probably wouldn’t recommend taking action based on their PMS experiences (most would end up in jail, I think). I do like Dr. Northrup’s idea, though, that during those days that we are more sensitive, we can’t ignore the daily annoyances of life. Some of these irritations are silly, some are really big and yet we go about our day-to-day lives and try our hardest to push through and not see them. I talk to women who are in unhappy relationships or jobs that are not fulfilling. PMS can be a time to reflect on these areas of our lives and at least set an intention for change.

I would recommend not acting on that plan until the PMS is over, however…And talk to your girlfriends and mentors and therapist to make sure you don’t sound like a crazy person.

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