Let’s be honest: along with menopause comes a *lot* of feelings. (And no, we’re not just talking about those cliché mood swings.) Navigating a whole new phase of life and all the physical and mental changes that come along with it can be a challenge for anyone, so we asked Dr. Kristie Overstreet of Frame Therapy, clinical sexologist, certified sex therapist, psychotherapist, and creator of the Ideal Intimacy Method program, to break it down for us. Here are the five most common feelings that come with menopause…and how you can work with them, not against them.
We fear what we don’t understand, so when it comes to menopause there’s so much that can be confusing and unknown.
Try: Writing down all of your fears about menopause. Many of these may start with “What if…” Writing out all of your fears will help them feel less overwhelming and then you can begin to explore how rational each of these are.
We worry about losing control of a bodily function as we get older. Especially when it comes to sex, we easily get embarrassed when our bodies don’t respond like they use to.
Try: Asking yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen if _______ happens?” For example, what’s the worst thing that could happen if I experience vaginal dryness or urinary leakage during sex? The worst case scenario you’re imagining is worst than the actual event happening.
We feel like we’re the problem during menopause, from mood swings, to feeling more irritable it’s easy to blame ourselves for all that is going wrong around us. This can result in feeling shame about who we are.
Try: Reframing our Inner Critic by asking ourselves, “Would I say that to a friend if she was going through this?” This can help you be kinder to yourself.
Most of us like to have control of what’s happening around us and to our bodies. The journey of menopause disrupts any type of control we may feel we have of our bodies resulting in feeling more anxious.
Try: Practicing mindfulness and meditation while working on acceptance as you go through this new pivot in your life.
We’ve been complaining about our periods since we were teens so now it’s finally over. We’ve been looking forward to the time when we no longer have to deal with cramps and all of the problems that come monthly. It’s time to celebrate our entry into the next journey of our lives.
Try: Writing 10 things you’re grateful for as it relates to your body. Starting this gratitude practice helps you focus on what’s going well versus what’s not.
Check out Frame Therapy at tryframe.com to learn more. (And as always, please talk to your doctor or therapist about your own mental health concerns.)