3 Tips to Write Your Way Through Menopause

3 Tips to Write Your Way Through Menopause

Getty/Perawit Boonchu

An author and teacher offers tips for those of us moving through menopause and shares how writing can be a powerful tool for processing this transition.

After having missed my period for a few months, I ended up at the doctor’s office for a pain in my tailbone.

“Is this pain part of perimenopause?” I asked her. She told me no and sent me for an MRI; the pain was from sitting for hours while writing my new book. But the truth was, at the time I had no idea what was or was not part of perimenopause. I thought perimenopause should be called “party menopause” because the whole thing seemed like a surprise party: You walk into a dark house, flip on the lights, and surprise! No period! No sleep! No temperature control! No organization! No memory! No waistline! And there’s no issue too great or too small to get upset over. Welcome!

My friends and I often gather over wine and cheese to discuss our changing bodies, share tips about hormones, and play a game called “Is This Menopause or…?” where we ask each other questions like, “Is this menopause or dementia? Because I cannot remember the name of this person I’ve known for years.” Or “Is this menopause or teen acne? Because I have pimples popping up all over my face.” Or “Is this menopause or adult-onset ADHD? Because I can’t get organized or concentrate for more than two minutes.”

We share information and the names of experts so we can get a grasp on what is happening to our bodies. We read books and educate ourselves and laugh and share stories from the trenches of midlife. But here’s the thing about menopause: It is not just about hot flashes, the end of periods, or kids leaving the nest. It is also a time for reclamation, reflection, and reinvention.

Menopause as an Inflection Point

For many women, menopause brings up deep questions about life. Questions like, What is going on with me? Where do I go from here? What is this next chapter all about? Who am I now?

Menopause can be an inflection point to pause and take stock of where you have been and where you are going. Often, when women come up for air after years of busy parenting and working and taking care of others, they feel as if they have lost their voice. Losing your voice is no small matter. It is difficult to feel comfortable or satisfied or happy without a voice. Writing can help you find it again.

3 Writing Tips for Reflecting on Menopause

Writing is an easy and powerful tool to process midlife, examine the stories we tell ourselves about our worth, and embrace our unique voice. Whether you are a hardcore journal writer or simply want to uplevel your self-care, writing your way through menopause will help you get to know yourself better, unleash your radical self-expression, and reconnect to who you truly are. These three tips will help you process menopause and the changes it brings.

Use Writing to Update Your Belief System

Ask yourself what beliefs you might be holding that no longer serve you. This is a new chapter of your life. You do not need to carry beliefs that are too small for you. Write down the beliefs you hold about yourself.

If your beliefs lift you up and inspire you, great! Remind yourself of them daily. But if you find there are sneaky beliefs inside of you that make you doubt yourself or feel unworthy, cross them out and rewrite them in a way that feels supportive. You do not need to hold onto beliefs that no longer fit.

Read and repeat your new beliefs every day. It takes time to fully adopt new, supportive ways of thinking, but it is worth your time. Letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you and leaning into those that support your growth adds a sense of possibility to this chapter of your life.

Use Writing to Get to Know Yourself Better

Set a timer for five minutes and write as fast as you can without thinking, editing, or attempting to make your writing about anything in particular. Allow your mind to wander and go into whatever spaces and places it wants to. Give yourself permission to write about absolutely anything. Sometimes we don’t even know what we are thinking until we write about it. Sometimes there are things that want to be written that we are unaware of. Sometimes we don’t slow down enough to fully connect to our thoughts and feelings.

When you write with a timer, you do not need to plan anything. Give yourself full permission to express yourself and keep writing until the timer goes off. You may be surprised, intrigued, or delighted by what comes out. In any case, you will come to know yourself and what is percolating in your heart and soul when you give yourself the time, space, and permission to explore.

Write in Community with Other Women

One very powerful way to build community is to write with other women and share your work together. Using guidelines that ensure confidentiality and refraining from criticism, writing together allows us to feel seen, heard, and understood in a way that is profound and creates deep connections.

Too often we are in situations where everything feels curated and nothing feels real. As a result, we hunger for authentic connection. Midlife brings intense life changes, like the loss of parents and our own children leaving the nest. Connecting with other women by writing and sharing and acknowledging each other’s words in a nonjudgmental way is healing for the soul.

A Note of Encouragement

Many women who are new to writing think their stories are unimportant, that they are not “real writers,” or that they must climb Mt. Everest to have something to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your voice matters. Your words are worthy. And now is the time. The truth is that life is busy and the years rush by, and menopause is an opportunity to take stock of where you are now and where you are going.

Writing is an easy, accessible, and valuable tool for self-care, self-expression, and reinvention. I still encourage getting together with girlfriends and laughing over a game of “Is This Menopause or…?” But setting aside time to write, explore, and even share your work in a supportive community will help you find your voice not just on the page, but in your life.

Work with these positive affirmations for menopause.

3 Tips to Write Your Way Through Menopause

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