Gardening, mowing the lawn and plucking weeds, can seem like simple enjoyable tasks in the summer time, except if you are menopausal!
Nothing like trying to work in the garden when it is already 80 degrees when you already deal with your own personal heat wave. You try to pull out a few weeds (this is assuming you have the energy after night sweats have kept you awake or if you suffer from menopause insomnia) when you just feel overwhelmed with the heat, and actually get dizzy and give up.
Well there are ways around this. If you are dealing with menopause and all its associated symptoms, one of the best natural menopause remedies is exercise. Gardening is a great form of exercise, because not only do you like it, but you are likely to do it for longer and burn off some of that menopause anxiety that is so common.
As a gardener myself, I found this whole menopausal thing a bit much and annoying, but I have managed to work around it. Rather than give in and not do anything which can then trigger menopausal depression, you just have to get a bit creative.
So here are a few tips, to get outside and in the yard and do some gardening even if you are menopausal!
1. So, the first thing I did was get a good large hat for working outside in the sun. One that covers the back of your neck and shades your face. You may look silly, but believe me, heating up the back of your neck and top of your head is not going to help any menopausal symptoms! You already feel like you are running your own furnace even when it is cool outside, so you don't need the direct sun on the back of your neck. You can even wet your hat to keep your head cool, if you really feel the heat.
2. Change your schedule. Get outside and work in the early morning hours. If it is the weekend, maybe don't run the lawn mower at 6 am, your neighbors may not be too thrilled with that, and if they ever thought you were the crazy lady next door this will confirm that!
So get outside and start your gardening at 6 am, as long as it is light outside, and you probably are waking up early anyways since this is also a common symptom of being menopausal. Grab your morning coffee or whatever you normally get and a bit of breakfast if you can stomach it that early, if not, then have a glass of water and then get outside, you can read the weekend paper later when it is really hot outside and you have done your chores.
Keep all your gardening supplies in a bucket or on a wagon you can drag around with you, so you don't spend the next 1/2 hour getting frustrated trying to get rid of weeds with no tools and get frustrated. At this point in your life, and this time of morning you don't need frustrations. You want your gardening gloves, hat and tools all close by. So if nothing else, the night before, make sure they are organized.
Spend the next hour or so working on your garden. At this time of the morning, work on any areas that would normally be in the direct sun, then as the sun gets stronger, move around to shadier areas.
You can also switch your schedule so that you are working on your garden in the evening hours. But personally I find there are more mosquitoes then, but this is your choice. If you would rather work by the moonlight then go for it! Just watch out for the night critters!
Once you have got some gardening done and that sun is getting stronger and the day is heating up, then come inside. You will feel good for accomplishing your chore, and you will have got some exercise. If you are tired then have a nap. By the time the rest of the household gets up, you will have already put in a couple of hours in the yard, they will be amazed! You will have got some good exercise, and hopefully feel in a good calm mood.
3. Hot head. If you find in the summer months that your head just feels so hot during this menopausal time, and the heat outside is not helping, then not only put your hat on, but get a hand towel and wet it down with cold water. Wrap this around your neck, especially the back of your neck, and you should begin to cool down, keep wetting it as you need to.
4. If can tolerate soy milk, do your early morning chores while it is still cool, then come in, have a cool refreshing shower, and have a soy latte. Which is soy milk heated up with a teaspoon of instant coffee in it. It tastes really rich, but is low in calories but high in protein, which is good after exercise. But the added benefit is that soy has been known for reducing hot flushes and that general heated feeling.
It has been said you need approximately two cups per day. So if you are not a big fan of soy milk on your cereal, at least try using it in other things like the soy latte or cook your oatmeal with it.
5. Purchase lightweight and loose fitting cotton clothes for working in the garden in the warmer months. You don't want to be wearing tight t-shirts and denim shorts. Get some cotton loose ones, you don't need to be making a fashion statement here, you want to feel good right? You know those over sized one size fits all t-shirts that are not very appealing to wear in public? Wear those, and even if you have to buy those plaid golf shorts, just something easy to take on and off when it is hot. You don't want to be fumbling with belts and such, and don't wear your bathing suit, as these fabrics are not very absorbent and you will sweat more.
Gardening and being menopausal can be challenging, but just a few tweaks to your day and the way you approach it, will make you feel better. Even if you are super tired because of a bad night of hot flashes, if you can get yourself outside to do a few garden chores, you will feel better for it and you will burn off that menopause anxiety, and you may just sleep better tonight.
So don't let being menopausal stop you from doing the things you love like gardening. If you get up really early, and you happen to notice someone else down the road wearing a big floppy hat, loose golf shorts and big loose t-shirt, weeding her garden at 6 am, then you know you are not alone! There are many more in this club!