THE BLOG
11/07/2012 02:49 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2013

Ellen's 5 Steps to Hormone Happiness, Step 5: Stay on the Path

We've come to the end of our journey and finally arrived at Step 5. After weeks of being diligent, opening up, finding a specialist, tracking your symptoms and getting the right tests for a complete evaluation of the treatment options available to you, the grand finale is here! It's finally the moment to complete the circle and arrive at hormone happiness. However, would you be very disappointed if I told you that there was no final destination? Hormone happiness is a continuing cycle.

Let's review. A commitment to hormone happiness requires that you:

If you like pictures, it looks like this:

Step 5 may, at first, sound simple, but really, it's vital to completing the cycle. It also takes us back to the beginning. Each time we complete the cycle, we have more knowledge, we are more informed and we have more experience. We know what has or has not worked. We, with the guidance of our specialist, are better able to choose the next best available treatment options. I sum Step 5 up in this phrase: "Stay on the path." What this means, in expanded real time, is this: work with your specialist to choose a treatment strategy, continue to monitor your symptoms and check in with yourself to see if you are still on the path.

I used to put my kids on the star program whenever I wanted to help reinforce positive behavior and accomplishments. It worked beautifully for helping to get them out of our bed and start sleeping in theirs and for potty training, etc. Every day that they accomplished the task positively, they received a gold star on the calendar. At the end of the week, if they had all stars, they got to do something special. After a month, new habits and skills were created.

I use a similar concept to reinforce the 5 Step program to hormone happiness. Each week, usually on Sunday before everyone else wakes up, I take a few quiet minutes to reflect on the previous week. I place two letters on my calendar on Sundays: "ME". This reminds me to take inventory of my week. I check in with myself on three levels: physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are some of the questions I ask myself: Am I eating healthy? Did I get in some exercise? Did I track my symptoms, so that I can be sure old ones or new ones are not cropping up? I rate how I feel about my health and happiness on a scale from 1 - 10. Ten is feeling good, positive and happy, because I have stayed on my path. I don't expect to be a 10 every week, but I want to try to achieve the best health and joy possible. Yes, I reward myself. My reward is more ME time! I might go get a manicure, sit and read a book or put on my fav tunes and try out a new recipe. When the number is low, rather than beat myself up about it, I try to feel good about what I have done well. Then I refocus and establish a few positive goals for the week ahead -- nudging myself gently back towards the path.

The healthy life you want is possible, and get this... you deserve it! Getting there is a process, and once you've arrived, the process is not over. In time, the cycle becomes habit, and you're living a healthy life complete with hormone happiness! This whole process is what I like to call, living. Some days it's easy. Some days it's not. I do the best I can to check in with myself and make sure I'm doing my part to live a healthy life. I have to reach out, take action, and accept responsibility for staying on my path to hormone happiness. It's as easy as 1-2-3-4-5!!

Say it until you believe it: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Lifelong pathways to lifelong health:

About Ellen Dolgen

Ellen Dolgen is a Health and Wellness Advocate, Menopause Awareness Expert, Author, Speaker, and health blogger.

Ellen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion, and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio, and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a frequent guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and is a regular contributor on Huff/Post 50 along with blogging for many leading women's health sites. Ellen has dedicated herself to women's wellness through a wide breadth of activities ranging from being a founding board member of the UCSD Student Wellness Center, working with pharmaceutical companies in helping them to effectively address women's health needs, serving on hospital advisory boards and advocating for cardiovascular health.

Ellen's motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

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