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Create a Ta Da List instead of a To Do List

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

New Year’s resolutions. They can be a setup for judgment, stress, and failure. While the “clean slate” of January 1 can certainly inspire us to set goals and intentions, it can also overburden us with expectation.

This year, why not make a “Ta Da” list looking back at 2017instead of focusing on To Do’s for the year ahead?

Your list need not focus on accomplishments (although those are worth a “Ta Da” certainly.) More important:  what inspired you? Touched you? Gave you joy?

Achievements might be just as easily be shifts in attitude, changes in self knowledge, feelings of connection, or new worldviews. All too often we don’t take the time to savor or appreciate what we have done, seen, or felt over the past 365 days. We don’t allow for the “Ta Da” before we rush on to the next “To Do”. Sheesh, no wonder we’re stressed sometimes.

So for the next few days, Menopause Goddesses, let’s compile a list of all we have done and experienced during 2017. In this eye-of-the-storm lull between Christmas frenzy and New Year’s celebrating, let’s ruminate on the past. Give yourself a great, glorious pat on the back for all that you have done and been this year.

We can work on our walloping To Do list later. For now, shout “Ta Da” out loud and celebrate all you’ve experienced over the last twelve months.

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Christmas Destressing for Menopause Goddesses

Menopause and Christmas can combine to produce exponential amounts of stress. In our constant desire for peace, harmony, and joy, Theresa-Venus and I have a few ideas for more ease and less pressure this holiday season.

1. Give the best Christmas gift ever to your girlfriends: no gift. Theresa-Venus and I did this last year and liked it so much we are doing it again. Let’s face it. Most of us at this stage of life feel that we already have too much stuff. The pressure to buy the perfect gift, then wrap it and deliver it is more than we need and can precipitate menopause meltdown.

2. Jettison the Christmas card or letter. Most of us are deluged by either chatty, newsy (read long) holiday letters or a lovely card containing nothing but a signature. Some cards have only a printed signature, which may have you wondering “What’s the point?” If you wish to send a yearly update to friends and family, wait until February 14. Frankly, most of us will appreciate it so much more and it won’t get lost in the flood of holiday greetings.

3. Do not bake cookies. With our metabolic rate slowing down and the sedentary days of winter just beginning, we don’t need the sweets or the guilt that comes with eating them. Buy those packages of little carrots shaped like tubes for snacks. Mmmmmm yummy. If you must eat cookies, know that someone else will be giving you some anyway. Do not bake any. And definitely NO cookie exchanges!

4. Do not wrap gifts. Purchase Christmas gift bags or boxes from your favorite big box or warehouse store. Place each gift in a bag and voila, all the gifts will be wrapped. You will have reclaimed several hours and taken nearly all the stress out of gifting.

5. Decorate sparingly. Try getting a smaller tree and let the grandkids decorate it. No grandkids yet? Consider no tree unless you feel that it isn’t Christmas without it.

Put less (or no) lights outside. Strategically placed Santa, Reindeer, and Angel cloth dolls can make your home festive with very little work or time expenditure. You can find these at your local craft fair, drugstore or even grocery store.

Unless you are preparing for a shoot for Architectural Digest or House Beautiful, a frenzy of decorating just isn’t worth it.

6. Have a Christmas potluck. Don’t spend all day cooking as if you were creating a second Thanksgiving. Go for a walk, have a snowball fight, play with the kids instead. Read a book aloud as a family or sing carols together.

Your friends and family will not miss any of the usual Christmas trappings and if they do? They’ll soon find that they enjoy being in the company of a relaxed, pleasant, unstressed you much more than all gifts, cookies, and decorations in which you can bury yourself.

There’s a saying most of us have heard. “This moment is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.” Sure, it’s a little corny, but it really is true. Happy holidays.

(A version of this post was published on the blog in 2009 – and it’s still relevant today.)

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Stay Cool This Holiday Season With Wicking Sleepwear: Cool-Jams Contest

Flame On © lynette sheppard

In the very beginning of my menopause journey and this blog, I discovered wicking sleepwear by Cool-Jams. Those pajamas saved me and my sanity.

Every night I would drench my cotton nightgown as hot flashes woke me from a sound sleep. Moments later, I’d be shivering in my wet sleepwear. To say that this scenario was not conducive to a good night’s sleep is an understatement! I’d change my nightgown only to repeat the searing heat – freezing damp cold act several times during the night. I was NOT a happy camper.

I got a set of Cool-Jams (I chose the tank capri set) and FINALLY was able to sleep comfortably. Wicking sleepwear does just that. The breathable fabric wicks away  moisture away from you to the outside of the jammies where it dries quickly so that horrible cycle of furnace to ice floe doesn’t interrupt a night’s rest.

I still wear wicking sleepwear, even though the worst of menopause is behind me because these pj’s are just more comfy overall. (I’m wearing them right now as I write this post.) The microfiber fabric is soft and silky; it feels wonderful.

Here’s the really good news:

The wonderful folks at Cool-Jams are sponsoring a contest for Menopause Goddess Blog readers. They will give away a $50 gift certificate for Cool-jams Sleepwear to one of my lucky readers. To enter this giveaway… just visit the Cool-Jams site and let them know which style you like best. You should select” Cool-jams Contest” from the dropdown menu (under Regarding) on the Contact Form and enter which item you want to win in the comment section.

The contest begins today, November 22 and lasts for 2 weeks. The contest ends December 10 and the winner will be chosen and notified on December 11.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! Stay cool, goddesses.

Click here to enter the contest.

PS. Cool-Jams has several pertinent articles on their Resources page: Click here to see the articles.

 

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Sleep Apnea in Menopausal Women

Please read this important and informative guest post on sleep apnea in women by Alex Deckard. Better still, have your spouse or mate read it if you suffer from the symptoms and determine if testing might be for you.

Sleep Apnea in Menopausal Women by Alex Dickard

The symptoms of menopause are well known: weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, migraines. Some people assume slowing down is part of the natural aging process and accept it. Even though our bodies do change as we age, you should be aware that some symptoms related to menopause could be an indication of something more serious.

Symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, and migraines might be from a more dangerous culprit: sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s sleep is interrupted. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the upper airway partially or completely collapses during sleep. To catch your breath, your brain sends a signal to slightly wake you up. Central sleep apnea happens when your brain doesn’t send the signal to breathe. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both.

Everybody knows how languid you feel following a poor night’s rest. Now imagine experiencing that every day!

25 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but sleep apnea is typically seen as a man’s disease. A 2013 medical study from UCLA found that women are less likely than men to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. In fact, women are more likely to have sleep apnea misdiagnosed with depression, hypertension, and hypochondria. Because women aren’t in as many clinicial trials, doctors don’t recognize sleep apnea symptoms.

Fortunately, a recent study found hot flashes and night sweats may be linked to an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea in middle-aged woman.

Sleep Apnea in Women
The answer as to why men do not have this problem can be found in the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone is known to decrease insulin and increase muscle mass. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect helping to manage stress hormones for men.

While women have some testosterone, they are much more dominant in estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are not known to have a stress managing effect on a woman’s body. Estrogen also has an anti-inflammatory effect — as women move into menopause, estrogen levels tend to drop, making falling asleep a lot more challenging.

It turns out female hormones are likely to play a role in women of that certain age group experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea.

Estrogen and serotonin (one hormone that transmits nerve signals) are directly related. When estrogen is higher in the body, so too is serotonin. When serotonin is lower, due to a drop in estrogen from menopause, the signal from your brain to muscles, including your tongue. When the tongue relaxes, the airway is blocked causing breathing problems. Here lies the complicated relationship between menopause and sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Testing

For a middle-aged woman, it can be difficult to determine if your symptoms are due to sleep apnea or a hormonal imbalance. Most people seek out sleep apnea testing because a loved one notices the stoppages in breathing.

A sleep test is the most effective way to diagnose a sleep apnea. Most people pack their overnight bag and head to the sleep lab. A polysomnogram will detect a wide range of sleep disorders. A sleep test in a laboratory can be expensive (up to $3000), and many people have difficulty sleeping outside of their bed with so many sensors.

Fortunately, a study confirmed that at-home sleep tests are just as effective in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. In-home sleep tests costs a fraction of a lab test (around $250), and you can sleep in the comfort of your own bed.

A home sleep test uses a finger probe to measure the blood oxygen level and pulse rate. The device can also measure the patient’s Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI), which is the number of times in one hour an individual experiences a pause in breathing for ten seconds or more. AHI is the primary unit of measurement to determine the severity of sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment
While a cure for obstructive sleep apnea might not be possible, there are different types of sleep apnea treatment. Some lifestyle changes can help such as eating better, abstaining from smoking and alcohol, and losing weight.

There are surgical options that shrink or remove excess soft tissue. Speciality mouth guards move the lower jaw forward to increase the size of the upper airway.

The most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. CPAP or “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure” delivers pressurized air to keep your airway open. Because it reduces the number of apnea episodes, CPAP machines allow you to experience REM sleep.

Undiagnosed sleep apnea creates or exacerbates a host of other health conditions such as: headaches, diabetes, depression, anxiety, heart disease, weakened immune system, and more. Sleep apnea treatment can improve your long term health and your day to day life.

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Book Review: Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis

I’m guessing that many of you have already downloaded a free copy of Juju Hook’s fabulous midlife book:  Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis. If you have not yet done this, go right now and get it – you pay only shipping and handling: click here for free copy.

I’ve finally been able to read the whole book – and it’s a treasure. Not only is it uproariously funny, Juju offers brilliant suggestions for making this the best time of your life. I actually learned a few great techniques (whoda thunk it?).

Juju wants us to rock Primetime as she refers to our Second Adulthood. This is the time to tap into a new confident and passionate way of being. Juju helps us remove our self-imposed roadblocks such as the lies of midlife and worry about what others think. This is our midlife guide to a vibrant US! Find out how to celebrate the rest of your life with Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis.

 

 

 

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THE LIES OF MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN BRAND

We have a special treat for this blog post: amazing Menopause Goddess Juju Hook shares her take on the Middle Aged Woman Brand. Even better, she has written a new book called Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis. It’s a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at the Pause. Here’s the best news: she is giving away the book to all Menopause Goddess blog readers – all you pay is shipping and handling. And to whet your appetite , the first chapter is enclosed at the end of this post. Link to get your book is also at the end. Enjoy!

THE LIES OF MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN BRAND by Juju Hook
I’ve never once in all my years heard a woman gush, “Oh, my God! I can’t WAIT to be 50!” Have you? It’s such a shame, really. Because midlife is where it’s at. We’re so much better in midlife… at everything.

In fact, I have a theory that if you want something done right—something that’s complicated, that requires multi-tasking, or secrecy, or duct tape—then you call a midlife woman. There’s simply no one else as prepared and qualified as the women in our menopausal posse, is there?

Here’s the thing, though. This all came as an absolute shock to me. That I’d be happy at 50. That I’d love life more than ever. That I’d be thrilled about beginning again in so many ways… that I could finally give myself a chance to be whoever I wanted to be.

Because the whole world told me it was gonna suck.

The world told me I’d be irrelevant. Invisible. Diminished in capacity. Hanging around doing things I felt “meh” about, because my ship had sailed.

And when I walked away from a 25-year-career to write the book I’d always wanted to write, the world fed me more than a handful of lies. The same lies, over and over again. What’s more, when I reached out to other middle-aged women, they were being fed the same sack of lies.

For more than 25 years, I was a brand strategist. And I have never seen a brand more in need of an overhaul than the “middle aged woman” brand. The messaging is off. The unique selling proposition is entirely out of whack.

So I decided to do something about it. To re-brand middle age for women. To tell the truth about how amazing this time should be. To pull the rug out from under the anti-aging industry… the liars, the nay-sayers, and the Chicken Littles. I shined a big fat spotlight on 3 problems and 6 lies that plague us all. That aren’t our fault. And that are easy to overcome, once you see them in the light of day.

In this moment, you have more power and potential than the world wants to give you credit for. But I see you. And I think you’re the bee’s knees.

Join me inside, Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis: The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime… We’re about to rip some shit up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s Chapter 1:

Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis_Chapter1

Once again, click here to get your free book: Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hormone Linked to Menopausal Weight Gain

Finally, we have some promising research into the why of (and hopefully soon, the remedy for) menopausal weight gain. And it doesn’t have to do with calories or lack of exercise or all the other causes postulated up until now. As nearly every menopausal woman knows, dieting and increasing exercise often do little to help with the meno pot. It’s deeply demoralizing and can make one want to just give up.

During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop but levels of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, remain high. This mismatch has been associated not only with weight gain but bone loss as well. FSH is the hormone that helps the egg develop and ripen in your ovary just prior to ovulation. These levels drop just after ovulation and increase again prior to the next ovulation.

Just prior to and during menopause, FSH levels remain elevated. Hence the weight gain and weird fat distribution coupled with bone loss.

A new study published in Nature has examined the use of an antibody to block FSH in female mice thrown into menopause when their ovaries were removed. They were fed a high fat diet, yet lost weight, upped their metabolism, and gained bone mass. While this is exciting news, the next step will be to try the experiment in larger animals, then humans. We may be some years away from realizing any benefits from this research but at the very least, we can feel vindicated.

That said, our best bet right now is healthy eating and continuing to move! Weight training with light weights, stretching, and walking will keep us at our optimal fitness level. We can eat less meat, more healthy carbs like quinoa or brown rice, and healthy fats such as almonds, legumes, and avocados. Oh, and a little dark chocolate and wine, just sayin’!

Read more at Medical News Bulletin.

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Finally! Natural Relief for Insomnia

Sweet Dreams © Dewitt Jones

Insomnia wreaks havoc on so many perimenopausal and menopausal women. One woman I met told me that she took HRT just to try to combat it. She said that she felt nearly psychotic from lack of sleep. She didn’t want to take hormone replacement or Ambien, but felt there was no choice. I get it!

Thankfully, my insomnia didn’t last too long. But I know women who are plagued with it still. It’s miserable to be hot, cranky, AND sleepy.

We recently had the chance to try a new, natural product – Sleep Spray. The folks at Verified CBD Oil sent a sample and one of our satellite goddesses grabbed at the chance to test it. She flat out loved it! Slept through the night the first use!

Sleep Spray’s active ingredients are CBD oil, GABA, and Valerian. Stevia helps the taste.

Here’s the short skinny on what these ingredients are:

CBD oil, also known as hemp oil, interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic, it doesn’t make you high. This makes it a safer, less controversial alternative than medical marijuana, while still offering significant health benefits.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.

Valerian root has long been used for insomnia and anxiety. It even is said to have some benefit in reducing hot flashes. I drank Valerian root tea early in perimenopause but while it didn’t seem to affect my hot flashes, I felt calmer.

It’s super easy to use – just spray it under your tongue right before bedtime. It absorbs and works quickly with no grogginess in the morning according to our goddess and numerous testimonials on the site.

This could be a godsend for menopausal women – try it and let us know how it works. This is how we find out about ways to ease this transition – by women sharing wisdom.

Oh, and I saw that they also have an anti-anxiety spray – boy, I sure could have used that early in my journey! If anybody tries that, we’d love to know how it works for you.

Here’s the website: Verified CBD Oil Sleep Spray. Sweet dreams!

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Stay Cool Without Calling Attention to Yourself


Hot flashes and just heat in general are hellish for menopausal women. Often, we find ourselves, mopping ourselves with kleenex or fanning ourselves with the nearest sheet of paper. It just plain sucks.

I found myself in just that situation a few years ago. One of our beloved elders had passed away in Molokai. A few thousand showed up for her memorial service held in a community center on the island. While we could open the doors, it was Hot with a capital H in there. Luckily, I had my secret weapon: the BlowMeCool fan. I’d charged it with the USB cord and dropped it in my purse for just such a menopausal emergency.

I turned it on, holding it in my hand. It was barely noticeable visually, it was QUIET, and blissfully blew loads of cool air right onto my beet red face. It saved my bacon that day and so many others. We’ve carried it in the Menopause Marketplace for 5 years or so.

Now, there is a new, blue edition (the first iteration is orange.) It’s sturdier and the blue color makes it even more unobtrusive. It’s less transparent so the inner workings are less visible. It costs a couple dollars more, but having tried it when the company sent me one, I can definitely recommend you buy the blue one if you can. If you are truly geeky and you want to see the innards, by all means buy the orange one.

And Menopause Goddess Blog readers get a 10% discount just by adding this code at checkout:  MGB18.

In this video, creator Brian Burge explaining why he developed this wonderful fan (spoiler alert: his wife went the the Pause).

Click here to order. And don’t forget to add our Menopause Goddess Blog discount code: MGB18. You won’t be sorry!
 

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Must See Film “Love, Sweat, and Tears” Released on DVD

love, sweat, and tears

At last, Dr. Pamela Dee Gaudry’s film, Love, Sweat, and Tears is going to be available on DVD (release date is Aug. 22 but you can preorder now.

This is a groundbreaking film – and addresses how to keep intimacy alive and thriving during and after the Pause. A host of celebrities and entrepreneurs in menopause remedies augment Dr. Pam’s humor and wisdom.

The DVD is only 29.95 – I wish we had had this film some 15 years ago – it would have been so helpful to the Menopause Goddess group. We had to stumble and fumble our way through (although we wouldn’t have missed our collective journey for the world.).

Dr. Pam’s plain talk is refreshing and appealing. The humor in the film resonated with us goddesses – reverent irreverence helps us along this transition.

I will say that the film spends less time on symptoms of menopause other than romance and intimacy – but if she’d covered every aspect in depth the movie would be several hours long! Those of you who are in or through menopause know what I mean!

I highly recommend that every woman approaching, during, and even post menopause view this DVD. You might want to start your own Menopause Goddess Group and see it together. For hints on how to do this, just put Creating a Goddess Group in the Search box here on the blog.

Order the DVD on the Love, Sweat, and Tears website. You can also rent or purchase the streaming video via iTunes or directly on the website. Click here for more info; Love Sweat, and Tears Film.

And if you missed our blog posts where Dr. Pam shares her personal story, here are the links:

Part I: An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

Part II: An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

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