School's out for the summer soon, your hormones are out of control, and you think you're going out of your mind. It's a situation that would even test the patience of June Cleaver. (If you're in the throes of perimenopause or menopause, you're likely to know who she is.)
Looking forward to a stress-free summer? Good luck with that! Perimenopause and menopause is stressful enough, thank you very much. Having your kids home all summer long is stress squared.
If you have school-age children, chances are you'll hear the all-too-familiar "I'm bored" a gazillion times over the summer months. It's enough to make a grown woman cry. (Of course, anything can make you cry when your hormones are in a constant state of flux.)
How to get along swimmingly
As if hot flashes weren't bad enough, the external temperature is giving your internal thermometer a run for the money. You can turn down the A/C at home, but you may find the rest of your family wearing thermal underwear in the house.
One way to cope with both the kids' boredom and your own boiling body is to head to the nearest watering hole. I'm not talking about the neighborhood bar (alcohol can trigger your beloved hot flashes). I'm talking about a pool, lake or beach. This will help you cool off, in more ways than one. You can simply escape underwater. You'll be both out of the sun's harsh rays and out of earshot from your kids' whining. Sweat, dunk, repeat.
A new chapter in your life
You also can escape from reality with a few good summer reads. Yes, I mean the type of books you may consider covering with a brown wrapper (and I don't mean a kid's schoolbook with a paper-bag book cover). Of course, you've got to be careful... a book along the lines of Fifty Shades of Gray can turn you into Five Hundred Degrees of Hot Flashes.
If you have teenagers home for the duration, you've got a hormonal double-whammy. Your hormones are all over the map, and their hormones are kicking into high gear. It's nature's cruelest joke, and you're the punch line. I suggest taking time to be honest with your teens about your perimenopausal and menopausal journey. Talk to them about not personalizing your emotional highs and lows or every time you seem agitated or out of patience. Many women find that sitting down with my Menopause Symptoms Chart is helpful. You may find that your teens are experiencing some of the same things you are as their hormones are fluctuating, too. Finding a common ground helps to calm down those dueling hormones and encourages support instead of more stress.
Purposeful days encourage self-worth
My advice? Encourage your teen to get a summer job. Whether it's babysitting, mowing lawns, lifeguarding at the community pool, working as a camp counselor or scooping ice cream at the corner store, it will help your teen find a productive purpose each day -- and teach him/her the value of the almighty dollar.
If you've got kids home from college on summer break, you've got to set some ground rules. While they were away at school, they could come and go as they pleased. Now that they're back under your roof (and under your skin), this could be problematic. Let's face it, you're not sleeping great as it is, with night sweats and insomnia. Add to that the angst of staying up to make sure your kids arrive home safe at night (or morning, as the case may be), and you'll be starring in the next zombie flick.
Take a chill pill. (If only there were a pill for that!)
Try to take a deep breath, kick your feet up, kick back and relax. According to research published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, exercise significantly reduces feelings of anger, confusion, fatigue, tension, and vigor. So, grab your tennis shoes and take a walk. There are many ways to cope with your menopausal stress. Otherwise, you might be tempted to kick the whole brood out of the house.
The good news? Before you know it, school will be back in session and you'll be all smiles. Well, at least for 5 minutes or so. The next minute, you'll be sobbing hysterically because you'll miss having your kids around. Ain't hormones grand?
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through-before, during, and after menopause-with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a "sister" and confidant to all women fueled Ellen's first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers' requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.
Menopause MondaysTM is a platform from which Ellen reaches the true needs of her readers through varied and substantive discussions of menopause, women's health, and the modern woman's life today as a menopausal woman. Her weekly newsletter provides readers the most current menopause news and research. With her updates, women gain access and the knowledge needed to take charge of their health and happiness. Her motto is: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. Ellen is #1 on Dr. Oz Sharecare.com Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Menopause. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, EllenDolgen.com / Menopause Mondays was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs.