Relationships, Menopause and Christmas!

Two posts in one today. Menopause & Christmas. I posted some practical resources / further info to help yesterday with the menopause. Today for the 12th day of menopause we have some suggestions for helping your relationships, whether you’re menopausal or not. And, as it’s Christmas, this is also my Christmas relationship survival guide. It includes all of your relationships including parents, kids, extended family members, in-laws etc. All the tips work for everyday life but may be especially useful at Christmas. I might even manage 12 tips to go with our 12 days theme … I do love a challenge. 

Tip 1. Let people know how you’re feeling. Not in a screaming banshee sort of way, but more of a gentle ‘I need to let you know I’m woken up feeling grumpy / negative / low / anxious / irritable. I will try and manage it myself but might not be able to. Please try and bear with me.’ 

Tip 2. If you are having mood swings / irritability / brain fog / anxiety etc due to the menopause then make sure you have educated your partner on what it entails. In particular that it’s a fairly normal process and you’re not just losing your mind or turning into an odd bag. Talk to your partner or loved ones. 

Tip 3. Recognise that if you are irritable with EVERYONE, it’s probably you not them!! Sorry is a great word. 

Tip 4. Self-care. Build in some time out. Go out for a walk – on your own, or with others if that feels right. But if you need some time-out, let people know and go for it. Personally we’ve always found our immediate family of 4 operates best when outdoors so we try and always build that in every day. Or stick your headphones on and play music that makes you feel good. Or message a sympathetic friend who will make you laugh. Whatever soothes you and makes you feel good. 

Tip 5. This could be a good time to download a meditation app. Just 5 or 10 mins of focusing on your breathing can help to calm your stress hormones and make you feel better.

Tip 6. Accept that other people are not going to change and it’s not your job to try and make them ‘see sense’. If Great Uncle Jerry has been a racist all his life, nothing you say will change that. Sometimes it helps to write down in advance all the things that you can’t control and then mentally let them go. This can also include things about your life currently that are not how you want them to be. 

Tip 7. Make clear requests. Ask for what you need, clearly and in a pleasant voice, without THAT tone of voice!! ‘Please will you clear the table / look after Mum etc’. Ideally you can agree some ground rules in advance with your nearest and dearest. This can include your kids, depending what age they are, so that there are clear expectations for everyone and you all agree how you want Christmas to be. That way it has far more chance of success. 

Tip 8. Try not to criticise. Nobody ever accepts feedback & wants to change when it is delivered in such a manner. Especially try to avoid the ‘Why do you always ..’ or ‘You never … ‘ – unless you want the recipient to be defensive or criticise back or walk off in a huff. 

Tip 9. If you are feeling worked up then don’t try and talk about it at that moment. It will be a disaster. Take yourself away and calm down first. When we are feeling emotional the useful part of our brain that can rationalise and see other points of view switches off and we are left with the fight or flight response. Not that handy for a jolly Christmas. 

Tip 10. Choose a better perspective. If you start from ‘This is going to be an endurance event’, then you will be on high alert for every little annoyance. Instead try something like ‘Regardless of what goes on I’m going to enjoy myself as much as possible’. Similarly try to see the good in those you are spending time with. For example, my son’s obsession with all things gadgety is really irritating BUT he’s flipping useful when tech doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Everyone has some great qualities that they will be bringing with them, focus on those parts. Look for the pockets of joy, find the humour, smile at the good stuff. Added bonus – it’s infectious so if you bring joy others will react in a positive way. 

Tip 11. Decide in advance what’s really important and then try to let go of the less important things. If what’s really important is that Auntie Aggie has a lovely day and feels really loved, because she lost her husband, then centre the day around that intention. It doesn’t matter if you forget the crackers or the sprouts are a bit overdone, as long as Aggie feels as good as she can do. This tip is especially for your perfectionists out there!

Tip 12. Remember it’s only another Monday. And it will be Tuesday the next day. Just because it has a certain date doesn’t mean that we have to have a perfect day. Just muddle through as best you can, look for the parts you can enjoy and relish those. Say Sorry when you need to. 

And if all else fails there is always Gin & Twiglets. 

Wishing you all a lovely and peaceful Christmas. Please like / share incase it helps others. Thank you for following my page this year and I hope you’ve found the odd post useful. See you in 2018. Hugs to all, Sue XXX