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Hormonal Imbalance
Wellness

Surviving the Female Lifecyle: Holistically & Naturally

I am well in to my 40’s and the ‘M’ word has started to become the topic of conversation with many of my friends. I feel that it is time to lift the taboo on the subject, talk about it and share experiences and tips to survive what has always been branded as a horrible time of life.

I am a Health and Happiness Coach and approach both holistically and as far as possible naturally, without medical intervention. From my personal experience and in doing research, I have determined that you do not need to suffer in relation to your reproductive life cycle and you don’t need a pill to thrive. In fact, it can be simply enough to understand that your sexual hormones are out of balance and that you can take responsibility to look at your daily habits, your environments and work out what is causing any hormonal imbalance in your life and implement much needed change.

In my workshops, I walk women through 5 steps to determine where they can make small, manageable changes that can have profound impacts not only on their hormonal imbalance but also in their life. The key is to assess yourself for each step and determine what 3 changes you can make in each category. At the end of the assessment, you have your own bespoke plan to prepare for and survive the different phases of menopause.

Step #1: Reset Your Diet: Eat fresh, Whole, Organic, Mainly Plant Based and Home-cooked

The right nutrition is your number one reset button for a healthy body, mind and to rebalance your hormone levels and relieve any menopausal symptoms: night sweats, brain fog, interrupted sleep, lack of sleep, cramps and skin conditions.

What can you eat more of:

  • Home-cooked FoodGood fats: Eat oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil. A lack of good fat is linked to poor skin, hormonal imbalance and can reduce inflammation and cramping and improve your brain capacity.
  • Colourful vegetables: These are a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which are good for your digestion, bowel movements, skin and immunity.
  • Water: Keeping hydrated with clear fluids will help with focus and clear brain fog but also help with detoxification – night sweats are often a sign of toxicity!
  • Healthy proteins: Protein is the building block of DNA and will help keep you satiated, eat a varied diet with protein from organic meat, fish or vegan sources.
  • Home-cooked food: Processed food and refined foods are full of sugars, salts and preservatives which can cause problems with hormone balance.

What can you eat less of:

  • Sugar: Your body will produce more insulin in response to sugar, which then produces more oestrogen and testosterone and therefore more hormone imbalance!
  • Gluten: For some, this can cause inflammation of the digestive track and cause problems with hormones.
  • Dairy: Hormones and antibiotics in milk (even some organic) and dairy products will cause fluctuations in hormones and can lead to heavier periods, more cramping and sometimes ovarian cysts.
  • Pesticides: Pesticides are big on hormone disruption – so buy organic as much as possible, especially with the ‘dirty dozen’ and wash your fruit and veg!
  • Alcohol: This increases oestrogen and also reduces your ability to store vitamin B, causing mood swings; it can also have a negative impact on your sleep.

Step #2: Raise Your Heart Rate for 150 Minutes a Week

Exercise and moving your body can really help with PMS related symptoms and hormonal imbalance. It not only helps your mood by releasing endorphins, but it is also good for your bone health and strength, your mental health and it can also be instrumental in stress relief.

What can you do more of:

  • Healthy ExerciseMove: This doesn’t mean always going to the gym; you can be raising your heart rate by gardening, running around after children or dancing in your kitchen.
  • Mix it up: Balance out your activities and do a blend of high intensity with some weight training as well as some stretching.
  • Sweat: Rather than doing more sessions, increase your intensity within a shorter session and sweat! Get the toxins out now rather than in night sweats.

What can you do less of:

  • Procrastinating: Plan it and make exercise a priority. No matter what.
  • Exercise you dislike: Just because your friend runs, doesn’t mean you have to! Do something you like and you are more likely to do it.
  • Stressing about exercise: Review your week and see how much you actually move. You may be doing more than you think.

Step #3: 8 Quality Hours of Beauty Sleep

Sleep promotes the parasympathetic state where your body gets to rest, repair and most importantly, rebalance. Conversely, lack of sleep can unbalance your hormones further.

What can you do more of:

  • Woman Taking a Bubble BathBedtime routine: Prepare your mind and body for sleep; take a bath, read, massage your feet with essential oils, do some quiet mindfulness or sleep meditation.
  • Overnight fasting: Eat your last meal 12 hours (at least 10) prior to breakfast and allow your digestive system to rest; this can alleviate bloating or cramping during the night.
  • Journaling: Commit your thoughts, concerns, worries and gratitudes to paper and let your brain relax and promote a sense of calm.

What can you do less of:

  • Digital detox: Reduce screen time 60-90 minutes before bedtime. The blue light emitted stimulates our brain, rather than winds it down.
  • Drinking: Alcohol, although can make you relax, can also impair your sleep with dehydration and digestive issues. Caffeinated drinks can disrupt sleep and too much water or any liquid before bed can have you needing to visit the bathroom.
  • Lying awake: If you find yourself awake in the night, unable to sleep, focus on your breathing or try a sleep meditation.

Step #4: Stress Reduction: Self-care is Healthcare

Chronic or prolonged periods of stress will trigger and exacerbate even the slightest of hormonal imbalance. The key to stress relief is determining the cause and then finding your own blend of strategies and remedies to relieve it.

What can you do more of:

  • Woman Enjoying CoffeeSelf-reflection: Do an honest review of your life: work or career, relationships, social, exercise and health. Are you lonely, unhappy, bored? Determine the cause of any stress or anxiety and take action to relieve it.
  • Find your joy: Write a list of all the activities that bring you joy. Keep the list close and ensure that you do at least one of the activities each day.
  • Acceptance: See ‘the change’ from a different perspective; this is the end of one chapter, but it is also the start of another! Avoiding or denying the menopause is futile.

What can you do less of:

  • Feeling guilty: Give yourself permission to prioritise your selfcare needs. Denying yourself ‘you time’ can lead to resentment which is not only harmful to you but others around you.
  • Saying yes to everything: Trying to be superhuman, when we are mere mortals, will only cause stress and burn out. Simplify your life.
  • Dreading menopause: Start to see this as a time to re-invent yourself and determine who you want to be and how you want to shine.

Step #5: Supplements, Herbal Remedies & HRT

Taking responsibility and accountability for your own health and management of any menopausal symptoms through diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation will take you a long way to improving your experience. However, you may feel that you want to try some supplements or treatment for specific side effects and there are many, many to choose from. These are just a few. As with all supplements, please take specific advice and guidance, particularly if you are on any medication.

Supplements:

  • Herbal SupplementsEFA: Omega 3 and 6 for brain function, relief from headaches, and weight loss support
  • Vitamin D & B bone health and mood balance
  • Probiotics for good digestion and metabolism
  • Multivitamin containing calcium (bone health), magnesium (sleep, cramps, energy)

Herbal remedies:

  • Dong quai is good for energy and well being.
  • Chaste Berry for PMS symptoms and regulating periods
  • Black Cohosh for night sweats, cramps, dryness
  • Liquorice Root to regulate oestrogen and progesterone and can help with fatigue

While this article has been focused on natural and holistic ways to relieve the symptoms of menopause, there will be a time that you may want to get tested through your doctor and get a light touch of treatment. While research and development improves all the time, one pill or gel or course of treatment may not fit everyone so it is worth doing your own research on the benefits and draw backs of synthetic hormones.

At the end of reading this article, you should have a list of actions you can take to rebalance your hormones in a natural and holistic way. This is your personalised plan to prepare and/or even survive the amazing changes your body will go through in menopause. You can refer to this at any time, but at this moment, ask yourself, what is the ONE thing you can do right now that would have the greatest impact on your health and happiness and WHEN are you going to start implementing this change?

If you have specific questions, please contact me through the magazine or via ali@heal-yourself-happy.com.

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