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Set yourself free

Posted: 22nd September 2016

As women approach menopause, they can feel swamped by the stresses of life, whilst also having to deal with night sweats, weight gain and mood swings.

Local menopausal fitness coach Julia Willmott shows us that, by changing how we think, we can thrive – not just survive – through the ‘Third Age’…

Julia explains: “Chronic stress, particularly as we approach menopause, can have a huge impact on our health, as it encourages the body to produce more cortisol at a time when hormones are already fluctuating. This can lead to weight gain and a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease.

“Also, when our hormones are out of whack and we are feeling tired but wired, it's really hard to motivate ourselves off the couch and away from the crisps.”

By following these simple mindset tips, you will find making the right lifestyle choices much easier, so that you can be healthier, happier and more hormonally balanced…

Schedule some joy

When you wake up, before you check your emails and texts, schedule in your diary at least 2 things which will bring you joy - a walk in the park, a Pilates class, whatever feeds your mind, body and soul.

Get into the groove

At the end of a stressful day, replace ‘I must have a glass of wine’ with ‘I’m going to try a different strategy which will nourish my wellbeing’. This might be a potter in the garden or a Yoga DVD. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you will be making a new habit forming groove which will serve you better.

Looking after yourself

Prioritise your own physical and emotional needs over those closest to you. Think of the analogy of being on the plane: you are told to put your own oxygen mask on before you place one on your child. Why? So that you are able to function well and help others. For you to help others you need to first care for yourself.

A moment of reflection

Find a comfortable place to sit and take a few deep breaths. Slowly start to breathe normally. Keep your mind focussed on the breath. If it starts to wander, just bring the mind back to the breath.

Learn to say no

Have a ‘no’ or ‘probably not’ ready for those situations where you know you’d be acting out of obligation if you said ‘yes’. This gives you time to consider whether you want to commit yourself. When we do things under obligation, our stress levels rise. When we do things out of pleasure, they don’t.

Julia Willmott is an award-winning personal trainer and Pilates teacher who runs classes in Petersfield. She also runs retreats on menopausal fitness. See www.juliawillmott.com