Nurturing my adventurous spirit to increase resilience in menopause. 

I feel it in my soul, even on the dull rainy days. 
It’s not just about ‘getting a bit of fresh air’. Not for me, and I doubt for you either.

Being in nature lifts me up in a different way than an afternoon on the sofa (which I also love to do at weekends).
It speaks to my adventurous side, and cultivates a source of strength that I don’t think I’ve fully leveraged, yet.

Of course, there’s the practical element of ticking another job off the list.
Like taking the dog for a walk. Posting a letter. Or just getting the steps in.

But there’s another layer to it, which I’m noticing as more and more essential to not only me but for every 40+ woman I speak with.  Women who feel a bit lost, on the inside. Feeling the hormonal shifts and not always liking who they’re becoming. 

I’ve been at that place too; not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Wanting to either go back, or press the fast-forward.
Either way, not enjoying who I am. Never quite feeling content with myself, never really feeling enough.
I still have to be careful even now, that I actively reject the compulsion for comparionitis. 

When I look ahead now, towards my upcoming peri-menopausal years, I know there’s a part of me that’s been waiting in the wings, that I know will help me through. 
I’m making the effort to take on peri-menopause as an adventure, thinking of myself as an endurance athlete going all-in, for life. 
I’m not referring to myself as an athlete in terms of exercise – I mean, my approach to life is about taking on the long-game, not a sprint. Not a quick fix.
I know it all sounds a bit whimsical but give me a minute and you might understand where I’m coming from.
It might just help you, too.

Being outdoors gives me perspective, a different kind of outlook that helps me to make decisions – from what to have for lunch, to what I want the next 12 months of my life to be about.
It’s not just about feeling the sun (or the rain!) on my face, it’s not always about slowing down and breathing deeper, either. 

Sometimes I’ll find my mind racing with ideas when inspiration hits. Or I’ll step away from my desk in frustration, and surprise myself with a surge of confidence when I come to it later.
Clarity comes to me with a backdrop of big skies. Decisions feel easier to make, and I’m somehow more willing to trust my own mind. Have you ever felt that?

I could talk to you about the hormonal benefits of being in nature; for managing stress hormones, improving my cortisol curve for better energy and sleep, encouraging calming progesterone to have it’s say.
The benefits of oxytocin from the connection to myself and others. The ‘getting away from it all’ even just for a few minutes, as decompression from screen time and my dopamine filled brain.

Whilst I love all the science behind it, sometimes intuition and personal experience feels a stronger pull.
Even if n=1, when you’re the ‘one’, then how you feel is every bit as valid as any science report. 
It’s more than simple common sense, being outdoors gives a deeper feeling of nourishing myself from the inside out.

Going further with this idea of adventure, and looking to my clients past and present… I see that every single one who came to me under a cloud of anxiety, low confidence, emotional outbursts at home and work… they all felt better, mental health symptoms lifted, physical problems were alleviated, by cultivating this feeling of adventure.

It isn’t always outdoors, but it is always about rediscovering and then exploiting your own boldness, my clients (and me!) often surprising themselves with it. Like trying out a new hobby, or joining a new fitness class.
Saying no more often. And feeling more in control of what happens, when they say yes.
It almost always snowballs and the results are often huge.

Trusting themselves more, small decisions create new experiences.
The elusive mojo returns, there is renewed energy, a sense of purpose reinvigorated, more hope and faith.
I often feel like I’m speaking to an entirely different woman from just a few weeks before.

For me, I’m encouraging my own adventures in a similar way (not all of them outdoors);
to explore new friendships, grow my own herbs, learn a new piece on the piano, go back to a childhood hobby, weekday picnics, walk barefoot, wild swimming.

No matter how small, these new experiences feel exciting to me, they give me focus outside of my problems and struggles. Not in a way to distract myself from my worries, but to encourage more from myself, to inspire myself and to be inspired by others and things around me.
It feels so warm and welcoming to recognise these glowing embers inside me.

Doing something adventurous, even if to someone else it sounds laughable, it feels to me like the antidote to anxious thoughts and middle of the night ruminations.
It directs my thoughts, pushes at my own boundaries and reminds me that I’ve much more to give, much more to feel.

I want to continue feeding this part of me that feels so attuned to the natural world around me, it feels such an important observation of myself.

Have you ever stopped or slowed down, to think deeply about yourself like this?

What did you find?

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September 2020