In my old understanding of myself, I am a perky, pleasant and mellow sort who took a long time to anger or irritate. My current reality, however, is one of a bit more emotional buoyancy. I have surprised myself with a newly-shortened temper, a wide range of energy levels (from bursts of incredible creativity to unexplained exhaustion), and perplexing tears in the midst of a sunny, cheery day. I joked with one of my friends that it is a bit like being a teenager, only now I have the experience, vocabulary, and bank account to really shake things up!
My philosophy about some of this menopausal upheaval is to not just survive, but to also embrace the lessons and opportunities as I move toward what I trust will be an even more mature version of myself. I’ve decided that self-care is in order: embracing the emotional depths and exploring the creative surges. My strategies include soothing teas, yummy treats, calming herbs, and some exciting new projects:
Oatstraw, Lemon Balm, & Sage Tea with Honey
1 teaspoon organic Oatstraw
1 teaspoon dried organic Lemon Balm or about 4-5 leaves of fresh
1 teaspoon dried organic Sage
Put these herbs into an infuser and pour boiling/hot water over. Let steep for 3-4 minutes (or more) and stir in a teaspoon or so of raw, local honey. Sip. Breathe.
Gooey, Sort-of Healthy, Feel-Good Cookies
These can easily be made as vegan cookies and you could adjust the flour to even make them gluten free! This is the recipe as I like it.
½ cup organic butter
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need a 13 X 9.5 X 2” baking pan. (I prefer glass for this recipe but you can use what you have!) Mix these three ingredients and then press to cover the bottom of the pan. This can take a little time to get it even (good for working out some stress.) Bake this for about 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
Sweet Coconut Topping
2 organic, free range eggs—well beaten (or an egg substitute)
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons organic, whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1 cup nuts of choice, chopped or sliced (optional)
Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla, stir in flour baking powder and salt and then add coconut and nuts. Spread this over the “crust” and return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a bit, and cut. These are especially good warm, but they age well too. They are chewy, gooey and great with a glass of tea!
To calm down fast, I rub a little lavender essential oil onto my temples and/or take a few drops of Skullcap Tincture. I find the Skullcap to be useful if I feel a tension headache coming on (something new in my world) or am experiencing that pounding, flushing, anger-rising feeling, where I’m afraid I might say something that will make things worse!
I have heard that the menopausal years can be a time of great change for many women—relationship shifts, children leaving home, going back to school, or changing careers. I definitely feel the pull toward reinvention and exploration. After all, half my life has passed, my kids have all struck out on their own and now is the time for me to do the things I’ve always craved. For me, my new foray into keeping bees seems to be one of the ways to feed my transitional soul. I feel calm and centered when I’m working with the bees. I love the buzzing vibrations stirring when the sun warms the hive and I feel nothing short of wonderment at the feminine focus and the purposeful way the bees move through the tasks and jobs of their short lives with a strong desire to serve the whole. All the work that goes into one drop of honey dazzles me and gives meaningful metaphor to a person’s lifetime of work!
This post comes to us from Kori, our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.