Rebekah is the founder of midlife co-creation community MPowder. Together with medical practitioners, holistic experts and individuals in menopause, they formulate, test and launch products and programmes designed to support us at every stage of our menopause journey. Last month we invited Rebekah to speak about the life stage as part of a morning of movement and community. Following a dynamic pilates workshop and some nourishing treats kindly supplied by our friends at Bamford, we got down to the business of unpicking menopause - from a biochemical perspective and our individual stories. Here Rebekah shares her 3 top tips for menopause following the discussion - and what we all need to know about our brilliant bodies.
1. We learn best when we share our personal stories.
Research tells us that 75% find it difficult to talk about menopause. But I'm always struck by the value of sharing lived experience. We can all google 'what it is' - but it is often when we get the chance to hear the stories of others that we identify what our own bodies are trying to tell us. It's why sessions like this one are so special. I have the privilege of listening to people share - but I also get to see that light bulb moment; the moment when someone recognises a symptom that has been troubling them, or an emotional response to life. Suddenly there is an explanation that makes sense of how they feel. They go from feeling confused, scared and alone to empowered.
2. The best first step if you have 'stopped feeling like you'?
Make your doctor your friend. And accept that you will need to prepare for an appointment. The good news is that there is more information available to us than ever before. I always recommend that, prior to your appointment, you take a symptom questionnaire like the one HERE. And that you track how you feel for 3-4 weeks if you can. Go into the session with a list of symptoms. But also track how you feel. There are some great apps that can do this for you. Or you can simply keep a notepad by your bed and do a little health check-in yourself each night. Menopause is a whole body and mind experience. And the more information you can share, the more likely your doctor is to be able to swiftly identify what they want to explore further. To hear from a doctor on how to best prepare for a conversation about menopause, check out our conversation with Dr Clare Spencer HERE
3. The best first step to supporting your body in menopause?
Assess how you digest stress. Our hormones are always vulnerable to external stressors but in menopause the impact is heightened. And when we are stressed or anxious our body responds in order to protect our most vital functions. This means our digestion is suppressed, our sex hormones are suppressed further - and sleep and rest is harder to find. The good news? Small changes can make a big difference. From committing to a morning ritual of meditation, to simply focusing on how you breathe. From finding a form of movement you love to taking more time in nature. Work out what works for you. From there, use food to nourish not punish. Now is not the time for harsh diets and restrictive regimes. Focus on getting as much goodness on your plate as you can. Consider smart supplementation to elevate your nutrition and compensate for our reduced capacity to absorb nutrients during this period of transition. MPowder offers a unique wholefood-led complex for Perimenopause and Menopause designed to deliver a critical foundation layer of goodness. Then, to find out more about the everyday herbs that can support us in menopause, listen to our naturopath and herbalist Dr Vera Martins share her favourites HERE.*
But the most important thing that I hope people take away from the conversations we have as a community - from workshops like this - is that midlife is our superpower. Our bodies are phenomenal! And we have so much to give. All that accumulated wisdom. Increased empathy. Increased purpose. We deserve to thrive in menopause, rather than simply survive. And feeling well is entirely within our reach. We just need to listen to our bodies when they're whispering, so they don't have to scream.
*Note: Nature packs a powerful punch! Always check with your practitioner before introducing a new supplement or making changes to your diet - particularly if you are on medication or have an underlying health condition.
Rebekah Brown - Founder MPowder