Getting Your Sexy Back

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Loss of libido, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness and inflammation. All of these are all too common symptoms of the Big M. And they are talked about all too little. Thankfully, the times they are achanging.

The first ever live, webcast discussion event from Vibrant Nation took place on March 31, 2015 about reclaiming sexual intimacy during and after menopause. We were proud to publicize it here. Those of you who saw it know that Dr. Barb Dupree, Vibrant Nation sexual health expert and blogger led a panel of women who shared excellent information about rekindling our sex life. (BTW, for those of you who don’t know, Vibrant Nation is the leading online community for women 45 and older.)

Great news for those of you who missed the event (and for those who’d like a refresher); we now have access to the videos. Free. Here is one of my favorites that deals with maintenance whether or not you have a partner:

Loss of libido and vaginal dryness can really derail a woman’s sex life. I can’t tell you how many letters I receive about this very issue (and the goddesses in our group have certainly had their struggles.) We might believe that this part of our lives is over.

Thankfully, there is now a conversation about these issues and ways to reclaim this vital part of our lives. We can light the spark in the bedroom once again and get our sexy back.

Full disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer network campaign for Vibrant Nation. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Vibrant Nation and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

You know me, I don’t post it if I don’t truly believe it can help our community of menopause goddesses.

To see the rest of the video segments, click here:    http://bit.ly/1EmiCAb  You can’t afford to miss these.

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Get Your Midlife Mojo Back

Butterfly Glowing © lynette sheppard

Butterfly Glowing © lynette sheppard

Dr. Joni Labbe’s new book “Why is Mid-Life Mooching Your Mojo” is absolutely my favorite book about those persnickety symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and weight gain that afflict so many of us in perimenopause and menopause.

meno mojo

As she says, you are not crazy, lazy, or finished! Not by a long shot. And she offers down to earth wisdom for getting your mojo back. It’s like having an integrative practitioner and a girlfriend in one. She ought to know, she lived it when she went through menopause.

Those of you who’ve written me over the years when at the end of your rope with all the changes know that I highly recommend a holistic or integrative medicine practitioner to learn about and treat your menopause symptoms. I also believe that we cannot travel this journey alone and advocate starting your own Menopause Goddess group or staying in close touch with your virtual community on the blogsite and Facebook page.

Dr. Joni demystifies the changes (and many of the conditions that may accompany the Big M, like thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, and inflammation.) Her plain talk approach on what’s happening and what to do about it are brilliant. Allopathic medicine (aka the regular medical model in our healthcare system) has been woefully inadequate in diagnosing low thyroid, adrenal insufficiency, and quite frankly, menopause. Working with functional medicine as a model, Dr. Joni explains how you can find relief and feel like you again.

I was lucky enough to find my own Dr. Joni (Dr. Michael Gerber) after a few rough years who tested me and helped me make simple life changes (+ bioidentical hormones, which also helped). So much of what Dr. Joni says I fervently agree with and am proof that dealing with inflammation and hormonal issues can give you back your vitality.

What I love about this book is how clear, concise, and downright helpful it is! I believe that every woman approaching this transition or having any of the symptoms that plague us during the Big M needs to read this. Thankfully, it’s easy to read, interwoven with real life case studies and humor. And you can keep up with new info on Dr. Joni’s website:  MojoGirlfriends.com.  Buy her book on Amazon – click here.

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MenoPower: Menopause at Twenty Six Never Looked Better

Kaleidoscope Rose © lynette sheppard

Kaleidoscope Rose © lynette sheppard

Menopause usually happens around early autumn of a woman’s life. Erin Kaiser’s guest post gives us a glimpse of menopause in the spring of her life. Her story is inspiring – she embraces change with all the verve in her being. I’ve often said that wise women come in all ages – please enjoy Erin’s wisdom and encouragement.

MenoPower: Menopause at Twenty Six Never Looked Better
By Erin Kaiser

In August 2013, I was a twenty five year old Austin, TX transplant, wildly reveling in freedom, madly in love, and newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After months of severe symptoms, ranging from constant vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal distention, I was finally given the medical attention I needed in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Without health insurance, I tried to go about finding medical help without expensive measures, such as ultrasounds and CT scans, which inevitably prolonged and worsened my condition. After finding a team of doctors to work with, we decided to remove the tumors, while leaving as much of the ovarian tissue as possible in hopes of preserving my youthful fertility. Little did we know, this decision would lead to the gradual removal of my entire reproductive system over the course of the next two years.

Fast forward to March 2015. While at the beginnings of a month long Costa Rican backpacking trip, I began to have symptoms, yet again. By this point I still had my uterus and right ovary intact; the left ovary had been removed during my second surgery 7 months prior to the Costa Rica trip. I was fortunate to have family in Costa Rica who got me into a private hospital, where I received the scans to detect the tumors, and was urged to have emergency surgery to remove them, along with my remaining ovary as soon as possible. My month long adventure of spiritual healing in the rainforest quickly morphed into a much more immediate and physical path to wellness. While in the midst of the surgery, the doctors found many lesions throughout the abdominal cavity, including the uterus. It had to be removed, without my consent.

I awoke from surgery in a foreign country, with just my parents by my side. I knew as soon as I came to that my uterus was no longer with me. I was heartbroken. My beloved fiancé had to hear the news over the phone before I even awoke from surgery. Worst of all, I had not been afforded a proper goodbye to a part of myself that I very much respected.

I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist with specialty training in fertility and pregnancy massage. Over the past four years, I have formed a profoundly deep connection with my feminine essence. I’d been giving myself regular uterine massages and keeping herbal tincture and supplemental regimens just for my reproductive cycle. I literally had conversations with my uterus, and then she was gone. Sure, I had already come to terms with the imminent possibility of infertility, but I had not prepared myself for (gulp) menopause. What were my options? Freak out in hysterics, flail my arms around and scream over something that cannot be taken back? No, I knew all I could do was accept and grow. Of course, there are still tears shed. Tears will be shed for years to come, but with all that has been taken from me, much has been given.

So, here I stand! Twenty six years old, still madly in love with an endlessly supportive partner, thriving in a loving and fully accepting community, and enjoying the freedom that comes with a life centered around the potential of each new day. Indeed, I am just now starting to feel the pulse of menopause as its presence becomes more apparent. The hot flashes are REAL. I thought that term would always be some sort of fictional character looming in the latest chapters of my life story. No, it’s a truly daunting feeling, like I’m temporarily morphed into a tea kettle 5 times a day.

My tumors have proven to be estrogen sensitive, so any kind of HRT is out of the question. This brings on quite a challenge both physically and mentally. However, I see this dilemma as yet another opportunity to break the mold of the great doom of menopause that society has held over our heads. I have become the only regular with dreadlocked hair at the local University athletic facility where my fiancé attends graduate school. My physical upkeep focus has shifted from animal friendly eating and leisurely activities such as yoga, biking, and hiking to weight lifting, paleo/alkaline diet, and strict supplemental intake.

I started incorporating the color red into my earth tone privy wardrobe to increase a subconscious focus on my vibrant sexual nature. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my sex life, no way that’s going anywhere. I refuse to read anything negative or self loathing about menopause because I absolutely believe in the power I hold as a woman; in ALL stages of my womanhood. I connect with the ancient beliefs that the end of fertility in a woman’s life marks a time of greater wisdom and elevated state of consciousness. I feel my womanhood more now than ever before, because I’ve fought for it.

I am elated and filled with excitement for my future and the opportunities now afforded to me. I can’t wait to keep learning about myself and my feminine power as my journey continues. I hope to share a message of pride and empowerment brought with this stage of the feminine nature. This is not a time of mourning, but of celebration! Please join me, as our journeys are surely not ending. If we move through this passageway with a step of ambition and wonder, we have only beautiful beginnings ahead.

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Ladycare: Innovative Treatment for Menopause Symptoms

 

Back in early 2011, I wrote about an innovative device called

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

Ladycare. (Click here to read that post.) It treats menopause symptoms with no side effects. It basically is a magnet that you wear attached to your underwear.

I used it and it really decreased my hot flashes. Now four years later, more studies have been conducted and it seems that it has been of significant help for many women.

Dr. Nyjon, an integrative medicine physician in the UK,  prescribes it for his menopausal patients. Although medicinal uses for magnets have been around for decades, he postulates that it works by balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (which can be horribly out of balance during perimenopause and menopause.) As a nurse, this satisfies my scientific curiosity, although anything that works is fine by me even when I don’t know the mechanism of action.

Because this site is dedicated to women sharing wisdom with one another, I want to share this personal video. I really resonated with singer Belinda Carlisle’s personal story of menopause hell and how Ladycare helped her. Yep, women are speaking up loud and clear. We share what works for us and hope it helps our sisters. Of course, not every remedy works for every woman, but we appreciate knowing our options.

For more information, visit the Menopause Marketplace, Natural Remedies section or visit Ladycare’s website: ladycareusa.com

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Sleepwear to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep

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One of the many trials of the menopause journey is waking up drenched. First you are hot, then as the dampness wicks away your body heat, you become frozen. This can happen several times a night.

Most of you know that I am a sleepwear junkie – I love fabrics that wick away moisture so that I don’t even wake when those HOT moments strike.

Goodnighties has some wonderful gowns and pjs that do just that. The great folks there sent me a gown to try – and it worked like gangbusters. And a bonus? I walked out in it to watch TV before bed (gotta keep up with American Idol) and my husband said, “Hey, that’s cute.” So the anti frump quality is pretty great too.

One of the qualities of the Goodnighties fabric that really interested me is that it has negative ions built into the fiber structure itself. (Negative ions are those wonderful mood elevators and physical wellbeing enhancers found at the bottom of waterfalls and in sitting by the surf.)

Their Ionx fabric has been shown to actually help with healing by increasing blood flow to achy muscles and joints. (Oh yes, yet another symptom of the Pause.) I definitely went to bed achy last night from too much hiking and chiropractic work. I meant to try and notice how it worked but I slept too well. Guess it worked really well. Oh, and I bounced out of bed this am – no aches or pains. Woo hoo.

Check out these cool pajamas and gowns on their website:   goodnighties.com

Don’t miss out on sleep due to night sweats or nocturnal hot flashes. (And they are great for travel, too.)

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A Change Is Gonna Come

Comedy © lynette sheppard

Comedy © lynette sheppard

Lisa Hartman generously allowed me to reprint her fabulous, funny essay about the Big M. It reads like she was at our first Menopause Goddess gathering. Enjoy!

Open Letter to Women
A Change is Gonna Come
by Lisa Hartman

You are not, or were not, prepared. It is likely that your body, without your knowledge or consent, will, or already has begun to, upend your perception of yourself and the universe. It will, or already does, suck.

They prepare you for your driver’s test, your SAT. There is a plethora of relationship and sex advice. How to cook, garden, use your computer, parent. Classes and books, whole sections of libraries and bookstores devoted to unraveling the mysteries of life. Why, then, the dearth of guidance and information when it comes to mid-life – the “change” – that more than half the population will face? Oh, sure, it’s out there – books, articles, even talk shows will address peri/menopause – but the event, rather, the slow unfolding process, is a sneak attack in our youth-obsessed culture. You don’t seek information or educate yourself before the fact, when it could help you. No, you seek it at 3 am, in a panic, and devour it in the hope that something, anything, can save you now. No one will prepare you, and on the eve of your commitment, your mother will say, “Now that you mention it, it was difficult at times. I do remember crying for days on end.” Thanks for the heads up, Ma.

The female body is an amazing piece of work. It has ferried you this far, with its cycles, its ebb and flow. Perhaps it has given you children, the miracle of life, and nourished them. You have nurtured and loved, children or not, and built a life on the foundation of this body. A brilliant machine – I get it. But what is all this noise about “intelligent” design? Really? There is intelligence in these screaming, chaotic hormonal fluctuations? Intelligence in the crippling of my sanity? Sometimes, it seems more like a freshman design project. At a party school.

Here is what will happen:

Your teen daughter will look at you, hand on cocked hip, head in that “Girlfriend?!” tilt. Eye rolling will increase, as will stomping and slamming. You can’t blame her, of course – she is having her own design issues at the moment and you are useless.

Your young adult sons will also look at you, as if you have sprouted a third eye. Then they will leave. You will weep and gnash your teeth, like a madwoman, in spite of the fact that their departure makes your life much easier. All reason has fled.

Your husband will be a rock. He will shop and cook and still love you. You will catch him, however, muttering, rolling his own eyes and blowing air. It will really piss you off.

You will wake in the wee hours, drenched in sweat. You’ll strip, towel off and sleep again. In the morning you’ll recall this and think, “Hmm… must’ve been hot last night.” In February — in the northern latitudes.

There will be nights when you don’t sleep at all and you feel madness creeping in. Or maybe rushing in. You will drink Rescue Remedy and chamomile tea and toddies and you will somehow survive, but you will never forget just how close you were to the abyss. It will temporarily cripple you.

You will make appointments and say “yes” to parties and dinners, calm and lovely, but you won’t make it to half of them. 11:00 Friday morning? We don’t know what that looks like yet.

You will weep over everything and nothing. You will feel sad and silly, hopeless and giddy all at once. It will make not a lick of sense.

Your doctor will look at you, a 45-year-old woman with night sweats, insomnia, anxiety and crazy eyes, and say, “No, it can’t be perimenopause if your cycle is still regular.” She will be wrong. You will hate her.

You will see the world, by turns, as a glorious Eden full of unlimited possibility and a dark dead-end hell full of worst-case scenarios. You’ll be right on both counts.

You may find previously mundane tasks, like driving and waiting in checkout lines, maddening and nearly impossible. And you must not venture, too often, into the depths of brightly lit, big-box stores. I am noticing now, when I dare to peek, that these places are filled with young parents, retirees, and men. Where are my sisters?

You will look at the people in your family and wonder, “Who are they? Why are they here? What do they want from me?” Keep this to yourself.

You will want to be alone and you will want to do nothing. Chase it. You will also want to turn the world upside down with the creative storm in your head. Chase that too.

You will reconnect with old friends and you will overshare. It will be a relief and a delight when they do the same.

You will see another doctor who, after an hour wait and a 10-minute visit, will hand you a prescription for an antidepressant. You will hate him.

You will find sex alternately mind-blowing and non-existent, emphasis probably on the latter. This is because your brain vacillates between two messages – “Take me immediately,” or “Touch me and die.” – emphasis probably, unfortunately, on the latter. Your body may scream, “Take me immediately!” when, and if, you ovulate because biology wants you to propagate the species. Clearly, there is no real link between biology and common sense – I have propagated the species four times now and am currently just trying to keep everyone alive, myself included.

Your joints will be like those of a crone. Your hips, thumbs, knees will all complain. You will Google this and read entirely too much.

You will begin reading obituaries, which will remind you of the great sport you had, years ago, ribbing your Grandmother about this same activity. You will feel guilt and remorse.

Your good dog will sense your new vulnerability. She will place a gentle paw on your lap and gaze into your eyes. Your bad dog will crank up the stress with his incessant barking and toxic stench. Note the genders.

You may, for a time, ignore the messages from your body. You will cook, clean, chauffeur, cater large events, stay up too late, and nurture everyone’s happiness. And then you will fall down. Your body will stop asking, suggesting. It will keep you down until you tend it.

You will sniff rose oil and tape dried beans to the acupressure points on your wrists. You will drink foul Chinese concoctions and slather wild yam cream everywhere.

You will, at times, hear the voices around you as a cacophony and you will want everyone to shut up. Don’t tell them.

You will become unhinged. You will suddenly, bizarrely, love all romantic comedies.

You will want to drink. A lot.

Here is what you do:

Read Susun Weed. She’s odd, but she’s right.

Go easy on the caffeine and the alcohol. Drink tea and a glass of wine with dinner, if you must. Leave the espresso and the tequila to the grad students.

Find a fabulous acupuncturist with supplementary degrees in nursing and nutrition who happens to be married to a guy who does cranio-sacral massage. Do everything they tell you.

Eat fish pills. My acupuncturist said so.

Walk. Don’t stop. Everyday. I have recently noticed, now that I am one, the hordes of middle-aged women walking, everywhere. Mostly alone. This isn’t the chatty stroll with friends and strollers of days gone by. This is a purposeful, “walk to save my sanity”. You can see it in the eyes, the set of the jaw. It works, better than anything else.

Have your Vitamin D levels checked, especially if you live north of the 40 degree latitude line. Supplement accordingly, immediately.

Keep a journal of the madness. You’ll see how it tracks with your cycle, somehow, and at least be able to anticipate the worst.

Eat really well. You know how. Just do it.

To those of you on the early side of this ride, those in your 20’s and 30’s, take heed. This train is runaway and headed straight for you. If I knew now what they should have told me then, I would’ve armed myself. If the body is in great shape when this design flaw kicks in, it will be a much easier wave to ride.

I have spent almost three decades building, birthing, nursing, and nurturing four children –and I’m still not done. I’ve earned my crazy pants and deserve a break, some respect, and some space. Our culture doesn’t know what to do with us. We need a mid-life version of the “Red Tent”, perhaps a year or so of escape, where the women who have made this journey can lend a guiding hand, maybe a lantern – or a drink. I’m told that there are great things on the other side of this bridge. Until then, keep in mind the positives:

Menstruation will eventually stop. Looking forward to that.

Your family may remain a bit wary of you. This can be useful.

You will, hopefully, prepare the young girls and women for the ride. If we don’t, who will?

I hear that there is a calm, present power that comes after menopause. We learn new things about ourselves, and our priorities shift, supposedly. It is a rich, complicated thing, this mid-life journey. Meet it with a smile and drink it up – or just kick its ass.

For more of Lisa’s writing, click here for the essay and she assures me that it will be easy to navigate to more from there.

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Sex After Menopause? You Bet!

Vibrant Nation Live Event
Is sex a big issue for menopausal women? You bet it is. Our Menopause Goddess group was not obsessed with sex during the Big M. We were obsessed with why we were no longer obsessed or even interested. Libido took a vacation for most of us and it was disconcerting to us and our spouses.

We women deal with so many physical and emotional changes during and after menopause. Small wonder that some of these changes can take a real toll on our relationships, including our sex life.

To complicate matters, it’s often difficult to find straightforward, trustworthy information about how to deal with issues like changes in our libido, pain during sexual intercourse. Hey, that very lack is how our Menopause Goddess group and this blog came into being.

That’s why I’m excited and delighted to share with you that Vibrant Nation, the leading online community for women 45+, is having its first ever Live webcast discussion, Sex After Menopause. On March 31, 2015 at 1:00pm EST, Vibrant Nation sexual health expert and blogger Dr. Barb DePree will lead a panel of women in sharing their stories and advice for getting that spark back in the bedroom.

As most of you know, I am a big proponent on women sharing information with each other. Come join our down-to-earth discussion about reclaiming our sexy.

Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Pfizer and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

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Metabolism Stuck? Time to Go For The Burn

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My favorite nutritionist, Haylie Pomroy has a new book out. Called “The Burn”. The subheading is “Why Your Scale is Stuck and What to Eat About It.”

The Burn delineates three different “burns” to get you past the plateau and/or kickstart your metabolism. Based on your body symptoms, you choose the burn best for you. Or you can ultimately choose to do all three.

The I-Burn is to reduce inflammation – that’s the one I believe that I need first. At our annual goddess gathering, we all made a commitment to eat in a manner that reduces inflammation overall for the coming year. Even if we don’t have overt symptoms, we know that much of disease and dis-ease can be directly related to inflammation’s effect on the body. With this 3 day burn, you’ll reset and lost 3 pounds.

If you have swelling, puffiness, fat accumulation in weird places, mood swings, this might be the Burn calling your name.

The D-Burn is for detoxification. Gas, bloating, irritable bowel, constipation. If these symptoms plague you a little or a lot, this might just be the remedy you’ve needed to move the needle on that scale. A clean digestive system is a must for optimal health. Thankfully, this is not much of an issue for me, but a good detox now and again is important to keep the GI tract running well. Haylie tells us that we will lose 5 pounds over the 5 days of this burn.

The H-Burn is for hormonal balancing. Most menopause goddesses certainly need rebalancing of our hormonal states more than once. Dry hair, hair loss, low or absent libido, hot flashes, weight gain – hey sounds like a day in the life of a menopausal woman.  I definitely need to do this Burn second.

The H-burn takes 10 days – and takes off 10 pounds. I’m less concerned about x amount of pounds in x amount of days than I am about resetting my metabolism and cleaning out my systems. I think of it as getting the sludge out.

As an RN, I love Ms. Pomroy’s focus on science and WHY the burns help get the body working optimally again.

As a woman, I love her no-nonsense approach and her non-judgmental style, realizing that hey, we all need and want a margarita fest or a nacho/buffalo wing fun hog evening once in a while. And as a HUGE fan of her fast metabolism diet – which I still follow as just the way I eat now – I’m more than willing to try the Burns.

And as a lazy girl, I love that she gives me no brainer recipes and how-to info so that I don’t have to think too much. Perfect.

Sound too good to be true? She challenges us to notice how hot we look on a Friday night and after a weekend of fun food and drink how that changes to puffy, not glowing, tired looking versions of ourselves.

Honestly, how I look is of less interest to me than it used to be. My “hot” days are mostly in my rear view mirror. These days, I just want to feel vibrant and strong. As my husband says,  “healthy is the new buff”.

Alas, I cannot do the burns just yet. Living on this tiny dot in the Pacific means that I can’t get a number of the foods prescribed for each one. So my burns will have to wait until this summer when I am on the mainland with access to so much more. Stay tuned. Better yet, try the Burns and let us know how it goes for you.

For more info, visit Haylie’s site or buy the book on Amazon.

Haylie Pomroy’s site

Amazon.com  The Burn

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Get Fit in One Minute? You Bet!

Sunny Day © lynette sheppard

Sunny Day © lynette sheppard

In this guest post, Kahlee Shaff shows us how to get and stay fit a minute at a time. Her Exerly program is absolutely doable without expensive equipment or gym memberships. At the end of the post, find a free trial code for Menopause Goddess Blog readers. I’m up for it – are you?

Take the One Minute Challenge – Tailored For People 50 Years Plus!



By Kahlee Shaff


Hard to believe that a one minute challenge is considered a challenge at all. However, with simple daily challenges you can significantly improve your fitness level and more importantly, your habits by incorporating one minute challenges along with motivational messages that can help you succeed in becoming fit at 50 years +!

Meet Exerly – A new online and motivation program developed for people 50 years +. Exerly sends you daily one minute challenge exercises demonstrated online that you can watch to help you learn to do the moves correctly.

DailyChallenge_email

Exerly evolved from a conversation about my passions and what I thought to be my God given talents. What I did not know at that moment was that four months later I would take a huge leap of faith by resigning from my position with a wonderful company to launch a new company. This leap of faith along with my gift for teaching, passion to improve the lives of others, knowledge and love for exercise, and desire to motivate people over 50 years led to the development of Exerly. 

Exerly delivers tailored exercise, motivation, and support conveniently to members online. Exercise is inserted into daily life through online Minute Challenges and Classes with Friends. There is no need to pause in one’s busy life, set aside time to exercise and go somewhere or use special equipment or exercise tapes.

An Exerly subscriber Elva Durbin, Philadelphia said, “I like the whole thing even the one minute pushup.” And it can be done from the convenience of your home or while you’re traveling or visiting family members.

Most people see exercise as an additional activity that requires you to take time out of your day to exercise, to pause to go for a walk or to a gym. This makes it more difficult to stick with a routine when you’re away from home or just too busy. Exerly flips conventional thinking enabling you to continue to play and live life while you exercise throughout the day, short one minute exercises that can easily become part of your routine – helping to increase your chances of success!

Each member is assigned a personal motivator to provide daily encouragement to continue.

motivation

The Minute Challenge is a simple exercise challenge that you can do while going about your day. An exercise buddy demonstrates the daily exercise in three ascending levels of difficulty from basic to advanced, keeping in mind the reasons participants give to when they sign-up, including:

Increase heart rate
Increase balance
Build strength
Increase flexibility
Meet doctor’s orders
Receive motivation and support
Convenience

Your exercise buddy exercises with you for the entire minute while continuing to motivate, encourage and reinforce the proper form. The Minute Challenge can be played multiple times through the day.  The Minute Challenge can be replayed over and over until you are confident in the exercise.

DailyChallenge_Exercises
Prices are just $4.99 per week for the Minute Challenges or $14.99 per week for the Classes with Friends – Classes with Friends equips friends to conveniently socialize and exercise together each from their own home or office, on their own schedule, at their exercise level, while creating a little healthy competition and accountability.

To help you reach your fitness goals we’re offering readers of Menopause Goddess Blog Readers a 10-day FREE trial. To sign up, go to http://exerly.com/ and enter this gift code at checkout: MGBEX312
Kahlee is the founder of Exerly a company based in San Clemente, CA.

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Why Other Women are our Best Menopause Medicine!

Ring Them Bells © lynette sheppard

Ring Them Bells © lynette sheppard

Our group of menopause goddesses is absolutely convinced that we would not have survived, let alone thrived, during the Big M without the support and succor of one another. That’s a fact! And thanks to our sisterhood, we did thrive and are thriving still.

So it came as a profound disappointment when we learned that  so few other goddess groups had been created. We offered the tools and our support; still while readership blossomed (thank you all), the impetus for creating more groups seemed to be relatively non-existent.

I sent out a survey at one time asking if groups had been successfully started, and if not, why not. The overwhelming reasons were 1) not enough time and 2) not wishing to lead a group.

I get that. Daily life can be overwhelming and adding menopause to the mix – well, it’s mind boggling. So virtual sisterhood it is! Guest blogger Ashley Ross has come up with an amazing way to create this virtual conversation and all we have to do is join in. Read on for the details – and for why this is such a great (read necessary) idea.

Why Other Women are our Best Menopause Medicine!

by Ashley Ross

There’s lots of talk these days about how feeling disconnected has long term effects on our health. Not that we need more research to confirm what we know in our gut.

We humans are wired for connection. Our digestion is better when we eat with others, and even better when we luxuriate in conversation and laughter. We feel our whole parasympathetic (rest and relax) nervous system kick in as our breathing syncs with our loved one and we drift off to sleep. We even attune with other creatures – we all know how our four-legged companions warm our hearts and bring us joy.

Here’s the flip side of all that yumminess: ongoing isolation creates a chronic state of stress in our bodies. This has to do with that same wiring – as mammals we rely on each other for survival, and there are all sorts of neurochemical and nervous system settings that require our internal ‘I-have-support’ switch to be in the on position for us to be healthy. Simply put, we need a band of loving companions to feel better.

Here’s my last pertinent scientific fact, and then I’m going to talk about menopause. Beyond our regular human wiring, we women are even further wired for each other, as the famous UCLA 2000 Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, not Fight-or-Flight study shows. Simply put, we women turn to each other in times of stress.

As we all know, there are a few stressors that rear their ugly heads at perimenopause. I like to think of them as signs or markers of how we’re changing, and what needs our attention in order to make way for that change. Physically, this may mean making dietary and lifestyle changes that are more attuned to what what our body needs as we move from a reproductive hormonal profile to a healthy mature woman’s hormonal profile. Emotionally we might need to make changes that allow us to tend to our own needs before we tend to others’ needs – like putting on our own oxygen mask first so we are able to help others.

But it goes further than that. There’s another stress at menopause that most of us don’t recognize – like a fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in water. Just this morning I was listening to Dr. Mario Martinez describe how in Peru the word for hot flashes is translated as “shame” – where they are common – while in Asia, where they call menopause “The Second Spring”, far fewer women report experiencing them. This seems to indicate that how the culture around us describes menopause (“the waters” we swim in) influences how we experience it.

So here we are – no-nonsense, take-matters-into-our-own-hands, truth-seeing menopausal women. We want to do something about this sorry state of affairs, where we each feel like we’re going through our own private trial-by-fire. Many of us are turning to the internet to give us some answers. Most of what’s out there are “the waters of there’s-something-horribly-wrong-with-middle-aged-women”. Then there are sites like the Menopause Goddess Blog, where we can take deep breath of fresh air as our questions are answered sensibly and with love. Thank you and bless you, Lynette!

But we’re getting something more. Simply by reading the same helpful information and hearing the same real-life stories as thousands of other women around the world, we become part of a community of women who feel like we do. These women recognize that there must be more to this rite of passage, this time of change, and they are so grateful to finally have a way to think about perimenopause that’s not all gloom and doom about life going downhill from here.

However, I think we need more. I think we need to sit together at this turbulent time. It’s as simple as that. It’s for that reason I created the Conscious Menopause Circles – first in my community and now online too. As I’ve seen in these Circles, something profound happens when we come together at this time of our lives to talk about these changes that we’re experiencing – changes in how we’re feeling physically and emotionally and in our lives.

After sitting in Circle after Circle for the last few years, I can confidently say that healing happens, and that the Circle itself provides the medicine. Women begin to feel less stressed and alone as we explore what it means to change – what’s lost and what’s gained, how disorienting it feels and what we can do to feel more grounded as we go through it. We talk about how we feel about ourselves and our lives at this time, and we share remedies for hot flashes and down-the-drain libidos. The Circle delivers its
medicine as we hear each other’s stories and struggles and discoveries and ponderings.

I invite you, Menopause Goddess readers and lovers, to see if this feels like the support, the adventure, the container for you to discover how else you might experience menopause. Join us if you’d like to go through this rite of passage with women around the world, if you want to take your seat at the table and discover and contribute to our collective global menopausal wisdom. Click here: Conscious Menopause Circles

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