Society, body image and perimenopause
Ageing women is not something we embrace well as a society. We love to worship the fresh, dewy visage of youth. We aren’t great at showing ageing bodies in a positive light. Mostly we are sold something to “fix” the signs of ageing. So, it is no wonder that as Women we struggle in our midlife years to feel confident in our bodies as they shift and change to the next stage of our lives.
Whilst there is a growing awareness about menopause, perimenopause is a lesser understood stage that describes the years leading up to menopause. Generally, this transitional phase begins between the ages of 36-45 years and can last for up to 10 years. It is a period of time which sees both physical and emotional changes for women.
Sometimes described as “puberty in reverse”, perimenopause brings with it a range of different experiences signalling that our fertile years are coming to an end. Fluctuating hormone levels during this time can cause an array of signs in our bodies letting us know that changes are afoot. You can read more about these in our Guide to Perimenopause
Ovaries are working on an unpredictable, part-time basis. Some cycles will go smoothly, others are mistimed, confused choreography
Dr Nicky Keay.
Body Image during Perimenopause
The Butterfly Foundation explains that our body image is formed by the “thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs we have about our bodies and how we look. This includes our shape, size, weight, gender identity, and the way our body functions for us”
It is perhaps little surprise then that if you are experiencing even just some of the possible changes of perimenopause then it will indeed impact your body image!
What will help during this time and build a more resilient body image?
In much the same way we would extend care and empathy towards a teenager navigating puberty (or at least try to!) it is important that we extend the same degree of compassion towards ourselves and our changing bodies. Sometimes increasing our understanding of perimenopause can be enough to foster more of an appreciation for what our body is going through. Plus it can help us to feel gratitude for the fact that our bodies are navigating us through this phase of our life as best they can.
Compassion can be the foundation we need to begin taking other steps to better support ourselves during perimenopause. Compassion can help us to get the most out of this important window of opportunity to optimise our mental, emotional, and physical health.
If you are concerned about the experiences you are having it is important to consult with a Practitioner who specialises in Women’s Health. They understand the changes your body is going through and can support you to come up with a plan to help ease the transition.
There are several important lifestyle factors that can support you during this time, including exercise. If you would like some further tips for developing a positive relationship with exercise and a healthier body image you can find articles I have written on this topic here