Exercise | Food | Menopause

Is it hormones or just life? Hormones and the nervous system.

Is it the “change” or is it life?…At this stage of our life it can be confusing.
Before my “change” I was interested with the nervous system and how it worked. I wondered how some people can just solider on and some, like myself need at least one afternoon per week in my Pj’s watching rubbish TV! For me downtime is really important. Are these people made of hardier stuff? Is it their upbringing or is it that they haven’t had any major stresses happen in their life to damage their nervous system?
Now after my change, with a clearer head I really believe that a work life balance is more important now than ever before.
My work days start early and some clients train with me 4/5 days a week. They train before work and are still at their desks before some others get out of bed and then they are lucky to be home by 10pm! One morning I was having a conversation with one of my clients and explaining that if the body is in a constant state of stress this will raise cortisol levels and will hold onto fat stores which in turn makes weight loss a real problem. Obviously there are other detrimental effects of stress on the body!
One of my instructors overheard this and suggested trying some herbal remedies to aid sleep. When I told him it wasn’t that she couldn’t sleep it’s that she doesn’t have time, therefore only having 5/6 hours sleep per night.
A few of my female clients are in the same situation.
Sleep for some is really undervalued, I firmly believe now that I am coming out the other side of the change that stress had a great impact on night sweats and sleeplessness which in turn created a vicious circle of anxiousness, fatigue and generally feeling low. This will often lead us to reach for a quick fix, perhaps caffeine to bring us up, then at the end of a day a glass of wine to relax. These are both stimulants and will have a detrimental effect on our nervous system which then affects sleep.
For the last 6 months I have been making a conscious effort to just do some fundamental things each day to keep calm. The last 10 years have been extremely stressful and it has had a big impact on my physical and mental health. I lost my father 8 months ago, we have been clearing out our family home and my daughter decided to go travelling around Australia!
I have been feeling a lot calmer lately, some are environmental, I downscaled my business, family tensions have been kept at bay and generally making a strong effort to have a more positive work life balance, doing simple things that keep me feeling calm, happy and in control. However sometimes it is easy to slip back to old habits.
Let me share an example. I have just had a lovely 5 days off. The run up to this was a stressful time, my husband had a problem at work, I had been suffering with a candida infection, although this was misdiagnosed by 4 doctors (that is another blog in itself!) I scheduled 4.5 days clients into 3 days in order to have 5 days off, ensuring the needs of my clients were met. However, I had been doing really well on the food front.
When we arrived at our destination, the lovely New Forest, we had a few glasses of wine and ate later than I would normally like to but did try to stick to the best food choices as possible. I woke up really early the next morning, probably around 4am. I try not to look at the time these days, then felt like I had to lie there for an age before finally starting our day. That is when things starting going around one’s head. I noted I haven’t felt like this for a while.
My husband suggested that we go canoeing. Normally I would say “YAAY!” but really did not want to do it. He went and ahead booked it but secretly wished I could just lie quiet somewhere on my own! I wasn’t looking forward to it. During the car journey I was all over the place, so nervous and anxious, I thought, “O my word am I turning into one of those little old ladies who suffer with their nerves!?”
Even going into a shop to buy lunch was hard work; I couldn’t make a decision on what food to buy! I really did not like the way I felt.
Fast forward to canoeing, the sun was shining, the water calm and the birds were singing and so I started to calm down and to enjoy the experience. After the 2 hours I felt like a completely different person.
Going back to before this for breakfast I had an egg white omelette with spinach and organic chicken, no caffeine, lot of fruit and water.
With a mixture of stimulants, a crazy work schedule just before my break and my body being out of routine my nervous system had said no more!
In previous years, some months leading up to my period I would feel like this and when my period came it felt like a switch had been reset.
So was the whole craziness that I felt down to the fact of not keeping things in balance or was it a surge in hormones, but not enough to have a period? Or was it just “life?”
All I know is I am thankful that I haven’t felt like that for a long time and that going through this change I have felt calmer and more in control.
So the change/menopause for me is marking a time for change, for the better. Looking after myself, without feeling guilty. I have modified my food massively and I now tailor the type of exercise I do to how I am feeling that day.
Taking that time out on the river was a positive move and the best thing I could have done that day to reset my body after the stressful run up to it.
Please, ladies plan your time, make sure you get some “you” time and time to do nice things with nice people. Be kind to yourself with food, exercise and your time off!
The moral of the story in this story is that balance is so important during this time of our lives. Look after yourself and your body and nerves will look after you.
Your body is changing so you must change with it.
Good luck with your change!