Life Crisis, Perimenopause & Staying Fit

crisis and perimenopause

How I stayed fit during a major life crisis in the midst of perimenopause

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog with my personal life. I continue to recover and thrive after a major life crisis and the continuing journey into deepest, darkest perimenopause!

This past summer my long time partner had a major health breakdown. The fall-out from this left behind a wake of upheaval that I won’t enumerate here — but all occurring without my being able to do anything about it, as the caregiver.

He is doing a better now as we separate out our lives and allow the deep love and friendship that was always the core of our relationship and intimacy to shine through. It is a continual process of transcending old, habitual patterns of relationship and co-dependency, while maintaining sufficient self-care and healthy habits to keep my head above water in the midst of perimenopause, allowing a new form of the relationship to evolve. But I’m here to say it IS possible!

What I discovered this time is that I don’t have to completely compromise my health and wellness even in the midst of the most devastating life changes and upheavals. You will feel and suffer the effects of a life crisis on your body and mind, but if you can maintain intelligent and healthy self-care steps during this time, you will have a better time of recovering from the crisis.

Did I have to be willing to do things differently and look at things differently? Definitely! I learned to let the energy and depression of this crisis move me, slowly but surely, into a new moment and life.

1. First, I had to let go of old habits that I thought made me ‘secure’.
– I had to stop using foods that made me nutty and numb (sugar!), and
– reach out to a wider community of people in order to get through the ordeal.

The isolation and shame I had felt about my situation had to be completely tossed in order to get the help I needed and to maintain the focus demanded to get through this ordeal. If you have access to a counselor I highly recommend using the support of a fellow human being who remains objective during your crisis.

2. I had to learn to take care of myself first, then others.
– I had to say ‘no’ to people I normally felt obligated to help since I was in so much need of help myself. This included getting extra sleep when I could
– Giving myself a break and nurturing myself when I had the time — but always in healthy ways. I took lots of baths, and was fortunate to be able to go to an Acupuncturist once during this time which helped tremendously with the added issues of perimenopausal mood swings and digestion issues.
– I made sure to take vitamins, particularly B12 and the amino acid stress buster, GABA.

3. And to my surprise, I did some sort of workout regularly, however minimal or simple. This helped TREMENDOUSLY with managing stress and anxiety. I can’t magnify enough how important the one thing you tend to let go in times of crisis actually saved me. Stretching, running, walking, T-Tapp Primary Back Stretch, getting to the gym a couple times — whatever worked. I had no mind or judgement about it. I just needed to move the fear, anxiety, anguish and depression from my body and mind.

4. It also meant watching what I ate, and in some cases, making myself eat when I was too distressed to eat (not a normal scenario for me!). I made sure to eat more protein and to limit carbs. At the time, I couldn’t stomach much raw food so I ate healthy, warm meals with lot’s of vegetables and beans. I had two eggs every for breakfast when I ate it.

5. Most importantly, I made use of my Spiritual practice and meditation during this time. If you have some sort of religious, spiritual, or contemplative practice, this is a good time to lean in to it! Not only did it help to calm my mind and body chemistry, it gave me a way out of the desolation of my current situation, and allowed me to objectively take steps to help both myself, and therefore my partner.

Post Crisis is the most important time
I don’t want to go too much into the biochemistry of stress in this post, but suffice to say it is important to help the body recover from the elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol that are inevitable during a crisis. It’s important to allow yourself to shift gears and allow for deeper healing AFTER the main crisis is over. This is when you may start to actually feel the effects of the crisis on your body and find yourself breaking down in different ways.

I had grown so accustomed to the elevated levels of adrenaline and daily crisis that when the dust began to settle, I found it very hard to slow down, receive again, feel again and accept that things were changing. I also experienced my body starting to gain weight, and I was struggling with various levels of reaction and emotional upheaval.

Getting the help of a Naturopath or a trusted medical practitioner is invaluable at this stage. Get a full blood panel and if you are hypothyroid like I am, get your thyroid levels tested again. Crisis can throw your body and it’s chemistry into a tail spin so it is important to find out how and treat it. After my blood tests it was discovered that I needed to back off on my thyroid medication and that my D3 levels were extremely low. I was also put on a series of weekly B12 injections which started to put a floor in my life again.

 In conclusion
Allowing myself to go through this crisis and life change, and taking a few steps beyond my comfort zone, I can say that I’m recovering from this crisis and re-building my life. A tremendous amount of energy is being released for this change to happen and I no longer feel alone and isolated.

Please feel free to share your experience of navigating life crisis as a perimenopausal woman. And be sure to give yourself a hug and reach out for help if you are currently going through crisis and unexpected change.

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Dorothy

BrightyBodyFitness.com provides tips and information for staying fit and happy naturally during perimenopause and beyond, using the T-Tapp workout and more.

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2 Responses

  1. Trixxi says:

    THANK YOU!!! I found this blog and have a lot of the same thing going on in my life right now. I’m 46, have had hypothyroidism since 1995, am dealing with both aging parents who are very sick. the recent and sudden death of my brother, and I’m a single mom of 2 teens. Lately I have been feeling SO stressed out and feeling very fatigued, achy, depressed, and just icky. I have gained over 5 lbs in the last month and suspect my thyroid is all messed up from all the stress. I am glad to see that I am not alone and I have taken similar measures as you have suggested to help myself. Ther is light at the end of the tunnel, YAY!

    • Dorothy says:

      Hi Trixxi,

      You sound like you are dealing with a LOT! Make sure to get the help you need, whether going to the doctor to get your thyroid levels checked, your family, friends, a counselor or otherwise.

      Going through all this with stressed out hormones is just so overwhelming and a double wammy, isn’t it? Hang in there! There is light at the end of the tunnel, and NEVER assume you don’t deserve to take care of yourself. Be healthy and well.
      Dorothy

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