Denise Pines is the President of the Medical Board of California, founder of WisePause.com and co-author of FemAging 2020.
Menopause is a physical and emotional ride even when nothing else in the world is going on. So COVID-19 puts us at greater risk in both areas. Our stress levels already run high during menopausal years because we feel we can’t control what’s happening to our bodies. The weight of this moment is raising our stress and anxiety to new heights. Overnight we went from going to the office to working from home, college kids returning home, running to the grocery stores to stock our pantries and freezers, wearing face masks, no longer greeting someone with a hug or a handshake, washing already dry hands with obsession and worrying that you’re the prime target age for this out-of-no-where virus that has no cure.
So how do we chart a course into the unknown during our COVID 19 menopause?
Some of us are secretly happy to claim this unexpected time out. Consider the collectively exhausted older woman who hasn’t been taking care of herself—now she can. And I don’t mean getting your hair and nails done, I mean making an appointment with yourself to guarantee that the quiet time and space needed to give to ourselves is not compromised by constantly being on call for others. Other women find they are working even harder virtually, unconsciously weakening their immune systems at the very time we need our bodies to be strong.
Midlife is when nutrition and physical movement become even more important. It’s the time chronic diseases get diagnosed, maintaining healthy weight is difficult, and our value at work often diminishes. The current Covid-19 lockdown restricts aging women’s normal physical activities due to gym, park and beach closures. Our craving for Corvid-19 comforts during these increasingly stress-filed times, leads us to consciously or unconsciously increase our consumption of sugar and alcohol.
In Los Angeles, the city I live in, the Mayor announced that Angelinos will be sequestered until May 15th and even then, parks, beaches, restaurants and retail will have very limited access. So what can we do? Start today and take daily walks, challenge yourself to cook healthier meals, substitute a mocktail for a cocktail, start a journal, begin it with being grateful to be alive, move furniture around, read a novel, begin a garden, make a bucket list, clean the closets, start a hobby, finish something you’ve put off for years, sign up for a class on Udemy, listen to an inspiring TedTalk, get lost on the Internet, enroll in online yoga, meditation, or rhythmic breathing, download a new app, but don’t cut your bangs. You get my point, be creative, reconnect with yourself and make a change now not later that honors the life you’ve been given. This is the wise pause butterfly effect that will help you reap blessings for many years to come.
Denise Pines 2019 WisePause Tour