How do I practice self-care during perimenopause?
Self-care refers to the mindful practice of taking care of you. It doesn’t mean endless bubble baths and face masks (although those things don’t hurt), it simply means taking the time to pay attention to your own needs. During the years leading up to menopause, called perimenopause, there’s a good chance you’re busy managing family, your career, and other responsibilities. As a result, you can become neglect your own needs.
Self-care during perimenopause means checking in on your health and ensuring that your day-to-day needs are met. This can be as simple as making a doctor’s appointment or speaking up for yourself when you need something. For example, are you experiencing hot flashes? Ask if it’s possible to turn the thermostat down. Dealing with sleeplessness? Read up on sleep hygiene and create a ritual that priorities a good night’s rest.
Going beyond your day-to-day needs, it’s important to consider your overall health during perimenopause. This is the time to quit smoking, since your risk of heart disease increases after the age of 50. Check in with your doctor about scheduling an annual mammogram if you’re over 50. This is also the time to schedule screenings for colon cancer and skin cancer. These may sound like basic healthcare needs during menopause, but they’re an essential part of self-care.
What are the most overlooked areas of self-care by women headed toward menopause?
As you probably know, perimenopause causes a wide range of changes in your body, and your skin is no exception. Menopause causes dry skin, as the moisture barrier weakens and mature skin becomes more sensitive over time. That means your skin can feel dry, itchy, and flaky.
Vaginal dryness is incredibly common among menopausal women, even if it’s the menopause symptom that is talked about the least. It’s often a neglected area of self-care for postmenopausal women, simply because they don’t know how to address it in their daily lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By adding a vaginal moisturizer to your skin care regimen, you can alleviate the discomfort that vaginal dryness causes.
Look for a water-based vaginal moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, two powerhouse ingredients that work together to restore your skin’s moisture barrier. You should use a vaginal moisturizer as often as you need it. If you’ve never used one, start by incorporating it into your skin care regimen in the morning and at night — and then continue to use it to safeguard against dryness during the day.
How do I find the time?
You might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but how do I find the time?” Self-care doesn’t need to be time consuming or labor intensive. There are ways to practice mindfulness in your daily routine.
- Ask for help. Simply ask for what you need. If you need an extra hour of time to yourself during the week, let someone close to you know and remember that it’s OK to ask for help.
- Put your health first. Prioritizing your health is one of the most powerful ways you can practice self-care. That’s why preventive care is so important — it will ultimately save you time in the long run.
- Re-examine your daily routines. During menopause, your needs change. The things that worked for you in the past, from diet to skin care, may not work for you anymore. It’s time to take a look at your daily routine and ask what needs to change to make your day-to-day life during menopause a little easier.