By Kate Codrington, Author, Speaker, Facilitator and Mentor
If you’re a fan of yoga, personal growth and aspire to live the authentic-self dream, then menopause might be a gift for you because its purpose is to reveal to you your own authority. No need to buy into expensive coaching plans, menopause invites you to turn your gaze inward and trust yourself, the good news is you already have access to everything you need.
There are four phases of menopause to be aware of:
- Separation: Marie Kondo your life
- Surrender: get friendly with not knowing
- Emergence: receive without giving your energy away
- Second Spring: birth into a whole new way of being
The process of menopause asks you to clear up your act, to release identities that no longer serve you, to heal old traumas, to put your own needs and creativity at the top of your list, go within and rest. This will save you money, lots of time, and you will grow more than you can possibly imagine.
This is where you find your ‘no’. Maybe you start to question things in your life that have been certainties until now, probably your relationships and your passions may not do it for you anymore. You’ll start to long for more time alone and it feels incredibly scary but to make the transition into a new, more authentic you, but the old Self has to loosen and melt away.
The radical decluttering will mean issues from your past come back for more healing. Trauma, identity issues, and childhood stuff all awaken at this time and ask to be resolved. No wonder there is an epidemic of anxiety and depression when we cannot relax into this healing process.
There’s a point in the menopause pressure cooker when hopefully, you will start to surrender to the manifestations you’re experiencing. A triggering word for many, surrender might mean more kindness, going a little slower or lowering your standards of yourself. Things are still painful, I don’t mean that it becomes easy, it’s more that we stop resisting the changes we’re experiencing:
“I have this feeling!” changes to “I wonder what I really need?”
By getting into hibernation mode and maxing out on hygge we begin to be interested in how and why we’re feeling the way we do. We start to tolerate more not knowing what the hell’s happening or who we are, and we can rest. Finally.
This helps us become more curious and less hateful towards our challenges, pay more attention to our feelings, take up healthier options, and reduce our exposure to toxic people, environments and food. We start to treat ourselves with love.
To get into the zone of surrender, we need to spend more time in the present moment, so a mindful practice of some kind will helpful, meditation, yoga, tai chi, pottering, walking ambling about with no particular purpose… anything that soothes your mind.
After some time spent in Surrender, you’ll feel your energy starting to rise and maybe the beginnings of excitement at new possibilities and ideas. Emergence is such a tender time if you rush out of hibernation and face the busy world too quickly, it’s likely to be too bright and too overwhelming. Though the longing to engage with the world again will be there, we still need to go slow and receive, something we’re not necessarily good at.
Think of the caterpillar within its cocoon, if we were to cut it open too early, to try and hurry up the process, we’d just find mush. Emerging early from menopause will pause the transformational possibilities and invite burnout instead. It doesn’t work to go back to rushing around, it’s time for a new way of being.
The time after Emergence is known as Second Spring, and holds the potential for being a new person, one who prioritises her own values and cares much, much less about other peoples’. Newly baked by menopause, our boundaries, discernment, the sense of our own needs and pleasures are renewed. This person holds the same curiosity and desire to explore as she did as a teenager, but with decades more life experience behind her.
She is awesome in her capacity to be vulnerable and to hold her authority. She is super kind to herself and from that place of being well-nourished, can offer service to the world without sacrificing herself in the process. This is where menopause takes you if you choose to engage with it.
You might notice changes to your periods which might become longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, all of which is normal. As menopause is a natural process, and most of the problems we have about it comes from toxicity:
- Sexism that makes us feel we’re never enough
- The ageism that makes us feel afraid we’ve lost ‘it’
- The chemicals in our environment that disrupt our hormones
- Food that is low in nutrients and/or disrupts our hormones
Fear and stress are the biggies that worsen all physical manifestations of menopause because the hormone picture and changes mean we’re more sensitive to stress than before. Perfect timing, right?
You’ll find that the physical challenges of perimenopause and menopause will come and go over time, the phases describe your inner needs and your capacity to care for yourself as you would a dear friend.
Navigating these phases is tough inner work that is not celebrated in our culture at the moment, so to use menopause as a tool for personal growth you’re going to need to boost your skills. There’s a massive range of tips, practices and prompts in Second Spring: the self-care guide for menopause, but here’s my personal top five:
- Rest – means different things to different people but you are going to need more of it that you feel entitled to. Take it!
- Feeling the feels – your psyche is offering your pathways to healing, your feelings are valid and want to be expressed safely.
- Be kind – treat, talk and soothe yourself as your best friend would.
- Reduce stress – this is now non-negotiable, take steps to unwind every day.
- Good company – good friends have never been so important.
Kate’s book: Second Spring: the self-care guide to menopause
Kate Codrington is a menstrual and menopause mentor, speaker, workshop facilitator, writer, podcaster and have been a therapist for nearly 30 years. She is also an artist currently weaving textiles, words, story and stitch. She is the author of Second Spring: the self-care guide to menopause published by HarperCollins.
Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Editorial Staff