There’s still a lot of stigma around menopause. So when people talk about “the change” in euphemisms and whispers, or avoid mentioning menopause at all, it’s easy to internalize feelings of embarrassment and shame. On top of that, menopause can come with frustrating, exhausting symptoms. And we may feel like we’re entering a new relationship with our bodies — the end of cycles and pregnancies, along with new health risks. With all of these factors, it’s easy to see why some of us start to feel uncomfortable about our bodies around menopause.
If you’ve noticed that your body image and self-esteem are low, you are not alone, but it’s time to take some action. Here are a few things you can do to help build a happier, more confident relationship with your body:
- Exercise and eat well. Doing these fundamental things makes you feel better, which can help you be happier and more at ease in your body.
- Take time to do things that make you feel good. It could be yoga or meditation or even getting a new haircut or setting aside some time for a luxurious skincare routine. For those of us who’ve spent years caring for everyone else, taking time for ourselves might feel uncomfortably indulgent at first. But stick with it—you are worth the time, and you deserve gentle care, too.
- Do something that’s meaningful to you, and that reminds you of the wonderful things your body can accomplish. You might like to plant a garden (check out community gardens if you don’t have the space), take on a home improvement project, volunteer for a cause you believe in, or work toward a new exercise goal.
- Remember the parts of your body that you love. Instead of focusing on the things you like least, take a few minutes to write down the things about your body that are worth celebrating.
- Treat menopause symptoms if they’re getting you down. If hot flashes, sleep disturbances, or vaginal dryness are making you uncomfortable in your body, there are lifestyle changes and medications that can help.
- Talk with people who are going through the same changes. For most of us, menopause comes with some aspects we don’t like, and some that may be welcome. Either way, it can help to simply talk (and laugh!) through it all with people who really understand what we’re going through. Reach out to friends and family, or search for support groups. There are online groups for menopause in general, and groups especially for women who’ve experienced menopause early through surgery or other medical treatments.
Are you struggling with body image issues? If so, please reach out to an Ovia coach. We’re experts in the changes that happen around menopause, and we’re always here to help.
- The North American Menopause Society: https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/women’s-health-and-menopause/get-positive-about-body-image.
- Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause/4-ways-to-boost-confidence.aspx.