My adventure with perimenopause and three ongoing life-savers…
by Reshma Pancholi, Women’s Yoga Therapist
There are days when I find myself overwhelmed, overtired and unable to move into action quickly enough…
It’s close to 5 pm, I have 101 tabs open on my browser, a crowded to-do list and a family expecting dinner on the table sometime soon. My default action is to head to the biscuit tin, the one place I know I should steer away from at this precise time.
Thirty minutes later I realise (again) that carb-loading isn’t the answer. After a short period of sedation-by-hobnobs, I come to my senses and feel a surge of cortisol rising through my body. I rush to get those final emails out and put a slap-dash meal on the table. And, I’ll admit, some days it’s as plain as beans on toast.
Being in the ‘summer’ of my life is not as I imagined it would be. I don’t have my sh*t together’, my house is in perpetual need of tidying and, I don’t yet have that unmistakable sense of ease in my body, you know, the way some more mature women do. Instead, more than ever, I feel the strain of doing admin, making plans and then having to actually socialise (and with lockdown restrictions easing it’s all too easy to over-commit.) In a nutshell beyond the physiological changes perimenopause brings, I’m feeling overwhelmed because I know in my bones that I ought to be simplifying, passing up invitations, letting go and retreating.
Some say that this calling for quietude and extra self-care is part of the well-trodden path of perimenopause leading to menopause.
If what I’m saying resonates, then maybe you’ll also appreciate it when I say that in addition to the struggle of getting the day-to-day chores done, some women have deep confusion arising around their chosen life-path. And, at this time it’s common to see women changing their careers, leaving their partners and switching up their lifestyles…
Personally, I’m heading towards making changes to my lifestyle. Truth is, when I take time to draw inward and rise beyond the noise of the daily grind, I sense my body calling for action.
Here I share what’s working for me.
My Three Life-Savers
1. Taking rest – as a radical act.
Specifically, yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a gift from me, to me. It’s a primary act of self-care that delivers results, instantaneously. Whenever I take space and little time for yoga nidra I feel nourished, rested and resourced from within – and without doubt, it’s an off-the-chart upgrade to the biscuit tin.
‘Nidra’ is the goddess of rest, she brings rest and restoration. She asks us to create a nest for ourselves and as we lie back and listen to resting cues, we can drop into alpha brainwaves. When we emerge from sleep or rest in the liminal space, only good things happen. Find free yoga nidra here and understand the benefits here.
2. Gather – the power of women gathering is immeasurable
When women gather in circles, transformation happens – and this needn’t be a well-planned event or satsang (an image of sisters huddled closely around a candle-lit alter lovingly singing ‘Jai Ma’ comes to mind), it is as simple as a cup of tea for 30 minutes with a good friend. Of course, if you do have the privilege, time and space in your life to sit in a circle with women, I would humbly suggest you give thanks to those giving you the space and time, get set and give it a go.
By coming together as a circle of women in a commune, we create a vessel for healing and when we create a safe space or container in this way, we allow truth to speak through us and be seen.
If you’d like to join a circle online or in person, please contact me here.
3. Discernment – as a tool of divination
Not always, but usually, when I choose a hob-nob over a walnut-stuffed date I know in my heart, I know that I’m making a poor decision.
Not always, but usually, when I choose Instagram before bed over reading a book in my heart, I know I’m making a poor decision.
Not always, but usually, when I choose to engage in a negative conversation in my heart, I know I’m making a poor decision.
Not always, but usually, when I choose to sit about mindlessly instead of taking a walk, in my heart, I know I’m making a poor decision.
Discernment brings us closer to our divinity, it thins the veil of illusion.
This path is a labyrinth and I have by no means ‘cracked the code’ to fixing my struggles with perimenopause but I’m more equipped and I appreciate – my body appreciates – my efforts as I go on applying the balm of self-care as a discipline.