If you’ve been following along my more personal journey of late, you’ll already know I ran to Hawaii once again this past summer to detach, unwind, and hopefully figure life things out.
The quiet always works! Add in a little adventure to lift the spirits, and you have the makings of really, such a perfect getaway and experience! That’s why I keep going back.
But it wasn’t as easy of a journey as I may have made it out to be in my Insta Stories I shared while away. There was a LOT of work to do on myself.
The thing that quickly rose to the very top was my apparent lack of good HEALTH.
Right before I left, I hurt in every which way possible. From head to toe. It lasted a good 3 weeks while there too which was shocking! And really limited what I could do.
So upon returning home, a visit to my doctor was absolutely imperative so I could get to the root of why I felt the way I did. And why I feel SO much better now.
I’m the same person from when I left vs. now so what’s the difference?!
Or rather, it can be complicated for menopausal women.
But now that I know what to expect, I am now better preparing. And it’s helping!
So I wanted to share my own current health update, what I recently learned from my doctor and what I’m doing about it that helps in hopes that these answers may help your own quest for feeling your ultimate.
Please note, this advice caters to myself and in some cases, is generalizing. So if you have any of these issues, I encourage you to see your own Dr. to get the goods on you.
Why do I feel depressed one minute, then amazing the next?
Before I left for Hawaii this past year, I didn’t understand my mood. I felt pulled down into some deep dark hole that didn’t really measure up. Life was relatively ok. I sufficed it to maybe I was just stressed and overdue for a true break (something I can’t achieve at home). Or maybe even weather related. All I know is, I felt moody, low and I ached from head to toe.
The low feeling doesn’t always accompany pain though. Which is equally puzzling.
Thing is, that black hole did more damage than I realized. It made me gravitate towards every negative thought or worry possible. Most of which I made up! I was hard on myself when I felt it approach and even harder on myself when it hit. I was just mad at myself for feeling bad.
What a waste of good life, huh? But it was very real. Some days I just needed to crawl into bed and have a good cry.
But what is this nonsense with the mood swings?! I explained this all to my Dr. and she didn’t even appear surprised!
The Dr. said:
Menopausal women have this thing where depression can hit. (there’s a term for it but it was too medical for me to remember). It can visit for a short period, or take an extended stay.
How much of your life does it take up? Now that you know it will likely visit again, are you able to accept it when it visits, knowing it will pass? Or does it pull you down to the point of shutting you down for months at a time? Depression is treatable, but nothing Dr. prescribed will alleviate your mood only a day at a time. Medication is a commitment.
I reasoned my own bursts where short enough to endure. I am not on any medication and I like it that way. So it was advised to stay super active, engaged with social interaction, and try new things to keep the spirits lifted.
With some days relinquishing myself to my current state, knowing it’ll soon pass.
Since the visit:
Since I’ve been home, the low mood has hit on occasion, but only a day or so at a time, then it’s completely gone. I’ve figured out it can be triggered by something happening that causes me to overthink and stress, but more commonly, 2 days before overcast weather, the aches come on and the low mood can soon follow.
Some days I succumb to it knowing it won’t last. I allow it, curl up in bed, flick on Netflix, cuddle with the cats and just have some downtime. Literally. Occupying my mind has really helped. I don’t feel low when immersed in a show.
I’m also going to look into a ‘good mood light’ or whatever they are called. Once our rainy season hits, it’s a long haul so I want to be prepared. I’ll keep you posted on that…
I personally detest feeling low, but if that’s part of my make-up at this stage, then it is and I must learn how to work with it vs. against it. And give myself grace when it hits.
Vitamins and minerals. What do I really need anyway?
I admit, my kitchen cupboard is full of vitamins. I did a deep clean awhile back and had to throw most of them out due to expiring… which meant one thing.
I kept forgetting to take them, period. Good grief.
So I asked. What do I myself really actually NEED at this stage of my own 56 yr old game?
A blood test was ordered to determine what I may be low on.
Generalizing, most menopausal women are apparently deprived of Vitamin D.
But she suggested to not go too crazy on the vitamin thing. You can put a lot into yourself you don’t need that you can achieve through a decent diet. Vitamins and minerals should not be replacing good food anyway.
Now I realize, there are other routes to go on this one. You can visit a natural path in which they may likely give you a very LONG list of supplements to take. You may be an essential oil person swearing that certain oils have effective healing effects. Or your tests may show you truly have an issue that needs attention, period.
So who’s even right?!
What I’m doing:
I’m personally going to wait for my blood tests, and round out my diet. And get Vitamin D at the very least.
However I will be seeking out some alternative vitamins or minerals that may help boost my mood dips.
Even though I have lots, I’ve chosen to not use essential oils. I personally don’t like their smell, haven’t found them to make a large impact on my past issues, and I 100% choose to not diffuse with pets in-house.
What’s with the added weight?!
Do you ever dream of being your goal weight again? And how good you felt back then? I remember it vividly. Especially going into a thrift store dressing room while camping and anything I put on, I looked adorable. I just couldn’t look bad!
My doctor said I was about 20 lbs overweight and I believe she was being conservative. So if she says that, it must be more like 30!
All I know is, that weight gain came out of nowhere. Yet here I am. Now what?
I told her I really wanted to join a gym with a personal trainer because I am a person with physical limitations and every time I move with machines, I injure myself.
This is how it really works….
You adjust your diet to lose weight.
You work out to tone up and build muscle and strength.
Of course, they combine here and there. But you get where she’s going, right?
She claims menopausal women only needs up to 1600 calories a day. And if you eat less, your body gets use to less. Hmmm…
So if you’re feeling the need to munch at night, best to resort to fresh veggies for that late night crunch so you’ll feel full but without all the calories.
WARNING: She also made a comment that I will guarantee, will stay in your head once you read it. Bypass the next sentence if you wish.
She mused when menopausal women eat all the bad carbs, they tend to turn into marshmallows.
I laughed! But could immediately relate because I was packin’ one (or five) myself. That comment will be on my mind next time I grab something bad, I guarantee that!
What I’m doing:
My daily bike rides will of course continue. It’s the only thing I can currently do that doesn’t hurt me and I feel much stronger and happier after a ride. Plus, I love them!
And I’m going to add some beginner yoga to the mix as I can. (no head stand stuff, just normal old school yoga moves).
I may join a gym guided by a personal trainer (specializing in helping around injuries) as a trial. Still debating.
And I’ll be putting PREPARE GOOD FOOD as my #1 thing each and every day once again. Because when there’s plenty of good food around, I don’t resort to the bad.
When I cut out the bad carbs again after my vacation, I dropped 5 lbs within days. This is normal because I know carbs bloat me silly. And hurt my stomach. For me, protein and veggies are best. And for my sugar attacks, fresh fruit on occasion.
Good food to me means real food. Beef, chicken, tuna, fresh vegetables, eggs, fruit and I do allow some cheese. I’d also like to try some new recipes to grow this list.
(above image from the Pipiwai Trail hike in Maui HERE)
Why do I ache?
In fact, for the first 2 weeks, I could barely walk. One instance was attempting some pretty walks along the Wailea Beach Path, but I ended up shuffling, moving super slow, then finally sitting on some pretty rolling hill overlooking the ocean instead.
Thank goodness for pretty surroundings and my camera! And let’s offer up some brave girl credit here too… for I have long practiced my health doesn’t have to be perfect for a getaway! In fact, Maui is my healing place.
But I was disappointed. I had hoped Hawaii’s weather would remove my pain.
Which eventually did happen. By week 3, it was completely gone. And what timing, as I was heading on an adventure to Molokai that remaining 8 days! Talk about perfect planning…
Since getting home, we’ve had hot, amazing weather, so I imagine that is why my aches have stayed away. YES! But one overcast day, pins poked every region of my body once again. Ugh. Back again, huh? But it only lasted a day, likely because the weather improved.
So I really do think weather plays a VERY big part in this. And since I live in rain country….
Yes, some people feel pain via the barometer readings. It can also be arthritis acting up.
Some take medication for it, but if I can do without, it’s best to stay off. Be kind to yourself during the painful moments, knowing better days are ahead.
And if you feel better in sunny countries, go when it rains at home! I like the way she thinks.
And… blood tests to rule out stuff were ordered for this too.
What I’m doing:
I will go do the blood tests.
And I admit, I’ve always wanted to ‘try’ a natural path route, so I may visit one to see what they say too.
I also think it could be food / carb related. If they hurt my stomach, why wouldn’t they hurt the rest of me? I have for the most part ditched wheat stuff, pasta (gluten free too) and tomatoes. It’s really helped.
I talked to my sister about family aches that appear to run in the family. That really helped.
I’m also testing out hot Epsom salt baths. If they help, I am debating on getting a hot tub.
And I will look into tweaking my future vacations. I have written down to adventure for short bursts during every season, but focus on good weather places when it rains at home… If my heart and soul requires adventure, I want to say yes for enjoyment, rather than hold myself back as punishment.
But for the most part, I allow some days to be down days. If I hurt from head to toe and know it will be temporary, I work with it (hello Netflix and cuddly cats) and am kind to myself vs. guilting myself into painful movement.
My new permission-to-rest mindset has greatly helped alleviate the pain and and I appear to push through it much quicker! In other words, don’t fight it.
Why isn’t my foot 100%?
Remember my foot surgery? I don’t believe what they did fixed it.
So my Dr. ordered up more x-rays to see if anything can improve things. The tests shared some issues that either grew back or were never fixed. Ugh.
So… a complete study on what can be done at this point is being put together at some big fancy place in Vancouver. I’ll be called when they are ready to see me and chat about options. So expect an exciting Vancouver city post coming your way one day soon! Maybe I’ll make a mini vacay out of it.
My doctor did remind me that surgery isn’t an exact science, so there are no guarantees with this kind of stuff.
BUT… I will not allow this hindrance to halt life. I’ll just keep living life and do things I CAN do and some harder things with moderation. Bike riding has truly saved my life on this one.
And yet another reminder to not hold back on the things you want to do… while you still can.
So there you have it!
And why I must put good health as #1 on my list at this stage of the game!
Summary on what I’m doing:
Good food prepared each AM. (adds the right fuel and keeps my head clear)
Get tests done. (I’ve delayed this for 3 years!)
Pick up Vitamin D. (hope I remember to take it)
Move daily in ways that don’t hurt aka bike. (keeps me strong, mobile and reduces stress)
Keep trying new things. (keeps my spirits up)
Keep striving for reasons to do stuff. (reasons motivate me)
Keep chipping away towards my smaller AND larger goals. (to seek continued improvement)
Start working on ‘harder things’ on the house that are long overdue. (seeing the same issues daily is deflating)
Become more social. (I’ve been visiting more!)
Go on more frequent, shorter adventures. (it’s on my actual schedule now!)
And being an empty nester? Drop the mom-guilt and be kind to myself already. It’s ok to do things for YOU. In fact, imperative.
When I didn’t take care of myself and put everything else first, I kept repeating, “What’s the point?” I lost enthusiasm for life.
All I know is, when I feel good, I feel like participating in life.
Which is really the entire point…
Where are you at with your current health? Did you find any of this advice comforting and helpful?