Women’s Health at Midlife

By Sandy Kruse

"Any symptoms you feel now from all the stresses of life is your body’s subtle way of telling you that you need to figure things out"

Calling all you ladies mid-40s and up —exhausted, worn out, burned out; even finding you need to end your evenings with a glass or two of wine just to relax? Careers that keep pushing you harder. Family demands that never seem to lighten up. Driving kids all over the place. Teens that seem to need you more now than when they were toddlers. I’m not judging you; I do have something to share with you.

Any symptoms you feel now from all the stresses of life is your body’s subtle way of telling you that you need to figure things out because it won’t get any better.

It may sound like I am the bearer of bad news. However, it’s not all bad news because now is the best time to change things when you feel these subtle hints. We all know we can’t remove all of life’s stressors, but we can remove some of them if we are honest with ourselves. We can also do a lot to mitigate the effects of these stresses on our bodies.

How do you know if you need to make a change in your life?

"if you’re constantly on the go, you’ll never be quiet enough to listen to your body speaking to you until maybe a crash"

You must get quiet to hear what your body is saying. Unfortunately, if you’re constantly on the go, you’ll never be quiet enough to listen to your body speaking to you until maybe a crash.

Try meditation. If that doesn’t work for you, take time to do some breathwork throughout the day. It’s not enough to do it only at night or only in the morning. Try Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 method, which is easy to learn and do. Another practice is walking in nature without headphones. Listen to sounds and watch the nature around you.

Suppose some of your symptoms include anxiety, not sleeping well, digestive issues, PMS or severe menopause symptoms, or sheer exhaustion (so common but not normal with midlife women). In that case, you can do things to mitigate the impact of stress on your body. There are great adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha – I use this in my practice for those who are stressed and wired. I also love rhodiola for women who are stressed and tired. Some women need both because they feel both! Get your regular panel bloodwork done with your family physician and check essential things, including B12 and vitamin D, along with all the rest.

"Don’t cut things out of your diet just because they’re touted as “bad” and eat a variety of different foods"

I will always say eating whole, real food is essential. Never mind the fad diets. Cook at home as often as you can. Don’t cut things out of your diet just because they’re touted as “bad” and eat a variety of different foods. Listen to what your own body says about your food, not social media.

Exercise is important, but it’s all about the right kind of exercise for this time in your life. This might be more gentle movement like yoga or Pilates, and you’ll have to skip the heavy cardio for a while until your adrenal glands can handle it. A little strength training goes a long way at midlife, and we need to incorporate this somehow using bodyweight, resistance bands and/or weights.

Note this important fact – once your ovaries are out of commission and no longer produce estrogen and progesterone, these hormones must be produced by your adrenal glands. This is an important factor going into menopause – keep those adrenals healthy and strong.

Make sleep a priority. Turn off the devices by 7 pm, use blue light blockers, remove or do not use any LED lighting in the home at night. Candescent lighting in the evening is best if you can find the bulbs or light some candles. Don’t have exciting or overly engaging conversations too close to bedtime. Yoga Nidra breathwork is fabulous at bedtime.

Streamline your supplements to ensure you’re taking therapeutic-grade, 3rd party tested quality supplements targeted just for your needs.

See a functional medicine practitioner or holistic health practitioner who can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms if you’re having trouble.

SANDY KRUSE of Sandy K Nutrition is a registered holistic nutritionist and podcaster who works primarily with women over 40. Sandy shows them through customized, balanced programs she constructs that you can age gracefully, healthfully, and beautifully. > sandyknutrition.ca > @sandyknutrition