NAVIGATING YOUR EMOTIONS IN PERIMENOPAUSE WITH SELF-COACHING STRATEGIES

mental health perimenopause Mar 19, 2024
woman in purple jumper writing in a notebook, doing a thought download

Perimenopause certainly is a journey of transformation. It’s not just physically that we transform, but emotionally too. It's a phase where you may often find yourself on a rollercoaster of emotions, thanks to the fluctuating hormones that can send your moods and self-esteem higher than high and lower than low, all within the space of a few minutes (or seconds)!

You’ve probably heard me talk (or read my thoughts) about how I can help you with the physical fluctuations of perimenopause, and their impact on your emotions. But what if I told you that amid this chaos, there's a powerful tool at your disposal, that you can use anywhere and any time?

A method that doesn't just help you manage these emotions but transforms how you experience perimenopause itself. This is self-coaching, and understanding how to manage your mind.

THE POWER OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND LANGUAGE IN PERIMENOPAUSE

Your journey into self-coaching begins with understanding two things. First is that our brain is always focused on three things - keeping us happy (seeking pleasure), keeping us safe (which for our brain means no change, don’t do anything different) and doing these things using the least amount of energy possible.

The second thing to understand is the profound impact our thoughts, and the language we use, has on our emotional state. The thoughts (stories/beliefs) we tell ourselves - about our bodies, our worth, and our capabilities, shape our reality, how our brain interprets incoming information, the actions (behaviours and habits) that we take in response, and the results that we have.

For most of us, our primary thoughts, the ones that really influence our morals, values, ethics and ideas about our roles in society, how we should look, act or judge a situation, have been formed when we are very young. In fact, most of our thoughts are formed before we are pre-schoolers! Before we can even rebut them or counter-argue them! And, these thoughts are usually happening on auto-pilot in the background of your brain. That is, you are not consciously thinking about what you’re thinking!

Perimenopause brings its set of challenges, but it also offers a unique opportunity for us to rewrite these stories. Because the way we feel is being disrupted by the natural hormone fluctuations of perimenopause, it also offers a natural opportunity to assess or reassess our thoughts. You may have noticed this already!

Through self-coaching, we can learn to manage our mind, to help shift our internal dialogue from one of criticism and doubt to one of compassion and trust, that ultimately creates freedom for us, and ensures we are thinking what we need to achieve our goals.

MASTERING SELF-COACHING FOR EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE

Self-coaching is an art and a science. At its foundation are self-awareness, self-responsibility, and a commitment to reflecting on and reviewing our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It's about becoming the architect of your internal landscape, guiding yourself towards more positive and empowering narratives.

Important note: feeling more positive and empowering narratives does NOT mean that we never feel ‘negative’ or ‘bad’ emotions. Feeling sad, angry, annoyed, or frustrated is part of life. Life is 50:50. Without the ‘bad’, how do we know and appreciate life is good? We can’t. The key though is to not get stuck in those feelings. We don’t want to get stuck in feeling sorry for ourselves. This is where self-coaching comes in.

Like many women, my client Bec struggled with her self-image and emotions in perimenopause. She found herself caught in a cycle of negative self-talk and emotional eating, a pattern all too familiar from her childhood. She was using food and drink to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings (pain).

With my support, Bec embarked on a self-coaching journey, identifying the root of these patterns and consciously choosing to change (or reframe) her thoughts. Bec learned to recognize her inner critic and, instead of believing it, and letting it lead her actions, she started questioning and challenging it.

Changing her thoughts helped Bec create different actions (behaviours, habits) and results for herself. This shift didn't happen overnight, but with practice, Bec transformed her relationship with herself and those around her. It also helped her try new things, new ways of dealing with disappointments, and ultimately helped her shift the stubborn weight she’d gained and feel more comfortable in her body.

Our thoughts create our feelings, which guide our actions and therefore our results.

NEW THOUGHTS TO HELP MANAGE EMOTIONS IN PERIMENOPAUSE

Changing or reframing our thoughts is a cornerstone of self-coaching. It involves looking at our beliefs and narratives, and choosing to view them from a different angle. It's not about denying the challenges but about not getting stuck in the feelings associated with it, and then being able to find a way to navigate the challenge.

For instance, the societal narrative around menopause often focuses on loss—the loss of youth, fertility, and even desirability. Through self-coaching, we can challenge these narratives. We can explore the freedom, wisdom, and opportunities for growth that this phase brings. You can feel the difference within yourself when you think about menopause as the end, the loss of many things, compared to thinking about it as a new and exciting phase of life.

In the same way we can think about perimenopause and it’s symptoms as tedious, annoying, or horrific, and then feel annoyed, frustrated and irritated. Or we can work to interpret these symptoms as the messages from the body of what it needs, and address them, to help your body find balance again. I love teaching my clients how to do this.

BUILDING YOUR SELF-COACHING TOOLKIT

Self-coaching isn’t something you can just start doing all day, every day. It’s something that takes practise and persistence. Creating a self-coaching routine is part of how you may implement self-coaching. Your toolkit might include daily journaling (thought downloads) to explore and express your feelings and the thoughts underlying them, and then working to create the thoughts, feelings, actions and results you want instead. Setting aside some time (10-15 minutes) each day will help you with this.

Another client, Emma, found herself overwhelmed by the physical and emotional changes of perimenopause. Together, we focused on building her self-coaching toolkit, starting with small, manageable practices. Emma began with daily thought downloads (journaling), which then gave her the opportunity to work on changing those thoughts she had about menopause being the end, and feeling invisible. This small practice combined with the work we did in The Chaos to Calm Method to address her perimenopause symptoms, had a ripple effect, gradually improving her mood, her outlook on life, and the things she did to care for her physical and emotional self.

EMBRACING SELF-COACHING FOR LONG-TERM HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Self-coaching is more than a strategy for navigating perimenopause; it's a part of the journey to long-term mental and physical health. By learning to manage our minds and change our thoughts, we not only improve our experience of perimenopause but also set the foundation for a healthier, more joyful post-menopausal life. Self-coaching is also key for creating new habits and changing behaviours - and that’s why it’s a big part of what I teach my clients in The Chaos to Calm Method!

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SELF-COACHING?

Perimenopause can feel like a storm, but within it lies the potential for profound personal growth and transformation. Self-coaching offers the compass to navigate this storm, guiding you towards a place of emotional resilience, self-compassion, joy and purpose.

Remember, your journey through perimenopause and beyond is uniquely yours. Embrace self-coaching as a means to steer it in a direction that brings you joy, health, and fulfilment.

If you’re ready to dive deeper into self-coaching and emotional well-being during perimenopause, then listen to Chaos to Calm podcast epsiode 39 with Rowena Jayne for more insights and strategies.

Is it perimenopause hormone changes or something else making you cranky, exhausted, overwhelmed, and gaining weight in your 40s?

UNLOCK THE MYSTERY BEHIND YOUR SYMPTOMS WITH THE PERIMENOPAUSE DECODER

Don't continue to feel stuck and confused - download The Perimenopause Decoder now and gain clarity on your journey to perimenopause!