Can I tell you about the time menopause fatigue almost got the best of me?
A few years ago, I was completely overwhelmed. For most of my life, I was known as the "perky" one, with plenty of positive energy to give to the world. I was a high-powered entrepreneur working in health and wellness, and got into a comfortable rhythm of treating my body right to reap the benefits of having great energy during the day.
However, as soon as I hit perimenopause, everything changed. I kept trying to fake the superwoman demeanor, when really, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. Starbucks became my afternoon pick-me-up, whereas before, I never drank a second cup of coffee.
My life started to feel incredibly busy, but not very productive, let alone fulfilled. I felt tired all evening, but when it was time to go to bed, I'd get a burst of energy and couldn’t sleep.
The next morning, after hitting the snooze button, I really had to muster the energy to drag myself out of bed. I felt like I was in a total fog.
Mind you, I'm a health coach! So I was eating well, and doing all of the things that have kept me healthy for years. However, at a certain point, my old tricks no longer worked. The truth is— my body was changing, and it needed new routines, new nutrients, and a new mindset. I needed to listen to the new information my body was telling me about what it needed, instead of driving myself further into a state of depletion.
Finding holistic resources for women like me who were going through "the change," perimenopause, or menopause was really frustrating. Everything I came across felt outdated, and downright depressing.
From my health coaching training, I knew how discomforts like weight gain, stress, anxiety, poor sleep and more could be alleviated through healthy lifestyle changes like nourishing food and movement.
So why couldn't this same approach: making diet and lifestyle changes for better health, be taken with menopause? Who says we have to suffer as much as we do?
I wasn't trying to avoid aging, but at the same time, I wasn't ready to fail my body, or let it fail me. I plan on feeling youthful, energetic, and beautiful for many years to come!
My gut told me it was possible, and I felt determined to find a solution to fight menopause fatigue so I could not only feel energetic but feel like myself again.
It was a long road, but along the way I felt encouraged by stories of women who were able to reduce menopause fatigue and other symptoms through diet and lifestyle shifts (and in some cases, reverse premature menopause itself!)
Once I applied my findings to my own diet and lifestyle, I started feeling immediate relief. I couldn't wait to share my strategies with my clients who were struggling with the same things.
Curious to know what helped reduce my menopause fatigue, so I could sleep through the night and feel energized throughout the day? Enjoy these simple shifts below.
I used to start my morning by drinking coffee. I knew that I should drink water first, but could never get myself to drink it.
Now, my morning elixir is what gets me out of bed.
Studies are divided on whether or not coffee is good or bad for you, but for women over 40, it may worsen night sweats and hot flashes. If you have hormonal imbalance or suffer from adrenal fatigue, caffeine can increase the production of cortisol— known as the "stress" hormone, which can increase feelings of exhaustion and restless sleep.
Listen, I love coffee, and am not willing to permanently give it up. But after making myself less dependent on it, I've realized I actually feel more energy from this elixir, than what I previously enjoyed through coffee.
The ingredients in this elixir are known to boost your energy and your mood. Maca is a powdered form of a South American root that is particularly supportive for women over 40. Studies show that it can help enhance energy, heighten libido and provide relief from menopausal symptoms.
Stir ingredients together, and enjoy! This mixture can also help to alkalize your body and provide a lasting energy boost.
This was a big one for me.
I loved the ritual of having an afternoon pick-me-up. Let’s face it, when you meet up with someone at your favorite cafe, it’s so tempting! So, I recommend you find a replacement.
A few ideas include a decaffeinated chai (I love it with oat milk), or an unsweetened ice tea.
At home, my replacement is fresh green or beet juice, or an infused water I make at home by tossing in mint, sliced oranges, lemon, or other fruit and herbs I have on hand. Check out these energy-boosting infused waters. They give me more energy without the crash, acidity, or restless nights.
Like many women I know, I used to drink wine throughout the week.
In fact, it was a great ritual for me to decompress after a workday while taking a bath. I thought it was so relaxing, but I didn't notice how it was contributing to my restless nights.
When I cut it out, I almost immediately began sleeping better. And when I had alcohol, it not only caused me to not only wake up in the middle of the night, but it also attributed to my moodiness, anxiety, and overall depressed state.
I have replaced my evening wine with what I call my sleepy time tea. If you’re not ready to give up alcohol altogether, try eliminating it on work nights and replacing it with a healthier alternative. Notice how you feel.
I have to admit that this one is still a challenge for me.
But when I choose to ignore this, I usually pay for it the next day.
It is so difficult to not get that last-minute dopamine rush. It feels so good, yet it’s a fleeting feeling that can wreak havoc on my sleep. The blue light emitted from screen makes your body and brain feel more awake, which disrupts your circadian rhythm.
A good replacement is to read a book (a real, physical book) or listen to a story or a podcast. This is a great way to wind down and to help prepare your body for sleep. If you haven’t listened to stories I recommend the ones on Calm. But, make sure your phone is out of your reach so you won’t be tempted to look at it!
Let go of the idea that you’re supposed to do everything, and do it all perfectly.
Practice telling your boss you need a more realistic deadline. Get out of the habit of overextending yourself so life for everyone around you is easier. Ask for help. Put on your oxygen mask first. Have a notebook by your bed so if you wake up with a great idea or forget something you can jot it down, take a deep breath and go back to sleep.
A lot of women don't immediately see the connection here, because we're so used to doing it all, and being in a perpetual state of stress. A lot of us honestly don't know what not stressing feels like.
Now is THE TIME to make your health your priority, and let anything that is not in alignment with that fall by the wayside. I know it's more easier said than done, but choose one thing at a time, and you'll never look back.
When you're feeling tired, exercise can feel like the last thing you want to do.
That's why I have to make it a non-negotiable by putting it in my schedule.
Every Sunday, I look at my week and I make sure I have some movement 6 days of the week. I give myself permission to have it be any type of movement.
My favorites: yoga, barre, or bodypump class, a walk, or a bike ride.
If you can’t find time, download an app, search YouTube or dust off those DVD’s and commit yourself to 5 minutes.
By only committing to 5 minutes and giving yourself permission you are honoring the small steps, making it all seem more attainable. Chances are, you'll end up moving longer because you'll start to feel more energized. Remember the first step is always the hardest.
When you eat big, heavy meals in one sitting, your digestion has to work very hard and thus takes more fuel, which can leave you feeling tired. When you eat smaller meals and take more time to chew your food, it gives your digestive system a more realistic timeframe to do its work. This alone will give you more energy.
I also recommend not eating within 2 hours of your bedtime. If you are used to having an evening snack you might try having a ½ serving of your favorite protein shake. This will help you to sleep better, feel fuller and boost your metabolic rate.
I couldn't meditate for years.
It took me a lot of practice to even get into the concept of mediation, but now I honestly couldn’t live without it. It drastically helps reduce my stress and gives me more focus and energy throughout the day.
A simple way to begin is to sit in a quiet place and close your eyes.
Take some slow breaths in and out and focus your attention on your breathing. You can put on some music, or if you’d rather have a guided meditation, there are a lot of apps out there. I am currently using Calm and Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations.
Trust me ladies, I know it can feel overwhelming to make changes, and I can totally relate.
Start by slowing down and noticing what isn’t working. Then, test out one of the tips above, and check in with yourself to see how you feel.
Make sure to test it out for a couple weeks so you have an accurate assessment. Tell yourself that you're simply testing it out, and if it doesn’t work then you can always try a different one.
At the end of the day, if you're suffering from menopause fatigue, the most important thing is to keep in mind that you can reverse these symptoms.
With any natural solutions, it takes time to really reverse the course that your body has been traveling in for the past few decades. It takes patience to trust the process. But if you're doing it right, you will notice immediate relief. The relief you experience should help you put one foot in front of the other to do more of what makes you feel good.
Need a little support? Click here to receive my Menopause Masterclass (for free!) It includes 3 days of coaching videos so you can learn the secrets to making menopause your excuse to get into the best shape of your life: mentally, emotionally and physically! (No restrictive diets or grueling workouts necessary.)