As we head into World Menopause Month, for the second year in a row (having just learned about it last year), I’m reflecting on why it’s important and what it means to me.

You know from my previous blog posts that I’ve been trying a few different things to help ease my perimenopausal symptoms. From seed cycling to intermittent fasting…to a few other things I’ve been meaning to blog about, but haven’t…I’ve been dabbling (flitting, really) among an array of non-pharmaceutical approaches.





Well, now I’m trying daily (sort of) meditation. Not necessarily because I wanted to or because I’m oh so enlightened. Really, it was in direct response to a ‘stage 2 hypertension’ reading that pretty much scared me straight, and validated my concern that the stress-related eye twitch I’d been experiencing the previous two weeks was, indeed, my blood pressure screaming to get my attention. “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!!!


The realization that I could stroke out at 46 years old if I didn't get control of the situation, spurred me to immediate action, and I began a very diligent, if not earnest, 12-day streak of self-care that included:

  • Practicing Mindfulness - 10-minute guided meditation and deep breathing exercises;

  • Aerobic Exercise - Breaking a sweat by getting my heart rate up through exercise (whether walking the neighborhood in the new 'bob-and-weave, put up your mask' method inspired by COVID, or jumping around my bedroom to aerobics on-demand);

  • Managing Food Intake - Resuming intermittent fasting on a 16:8 cycle drinking 8-12 8oz. bottles of water a day

  • Limiting Alcohol Intake - Reducing daily COVID shot of Tequila (don't judge) to 2x/week

While I've stuck with the intermittent fasting, water intake and limitation of alcohol (REALLY!), I've wavered on the daily meditation and exercise, and have not yet been able to get back on a consistent track. I also started virtual therapy to talk some of this stuff out, because the stress and strain of being a Black woman and mother in America is TAKING ITS TOLL.


If you spend any amount of time on social media following issues important to women, you already know that we’re showered with motivational and reassuring self-care memes, .gifs and influencer quotes…Every. Single. Day. And while I appreciate all of the empowerment championing and validating that’s being put out in these posts (honestly, my iPhone is filled with them), I’ve come to realize that “self-care” and loving oneself properly is tough work. Especially if you have inclinations that lean toward self-indulgence, and deeply resent the deprivation of gluttony and bad habits that discipline and mature boundaries represent.

But I suppose that’s where the reality of adulting (I am middle-aged, after all), and a healthy dose of self-awareness kick in... What do I expect to change if I don’t make -- but more importantly – commit, to the effort? Even so, when I think about what self-care means to me and the healthy longevity I envision for myself, I become a bit overwhelmed, because it’s A LOT.

Self-care means:

  • Stretching EVERYDAY

  • Seed Cycling EVERYDAY

  • 10-minute Meditation EVERYDAY

  • Taking a Multi-vitamin EVERYDAY

  • Intermittent fasting EVERYDAY (which means black coffee EVERYDAY)

  • Exercising EVERYDAY

  • Limiting my sugar intake EVERYDAY

  • Eating a balanced diet EVERYDAY (a cheat day here and there to be expected, of course)

  • Always making sure that I'm as attentive to my mental and emotional well-being as I am my physical health.

And so it goes, my reluctant realization that self-care isn’t a series of nice and healthy things to try every once in a while, it’s in fact, a lifestyle. I know it can be done...and I know a lot of women who have the personal wherewithal to take this 'lifestyle change challenge' head-on. But I prefer to eat my elephant one bite at a time and have decided to recognize World Menopause Month as an opportunity to commit to a plan of self-care that pushes me beyond my comfort zone (even on really bad days), but doesn’t set me up for failure.


So, what are my personal goals for World Menopause Month???

  • Meditate for 31 consecutive days

  • Recommit to seed cycling (the acne and chin whiskers have come back with a vengeance)

  • Continue with intermittent fasting (16:8 makes the body feel great!)

  • Aerobic exercise five days a week

  • Keep a daily log to hold myself accountable

  • Stick with virtual therapy until...

Last, but not least, “Fall down seven times, get up eight."


However YOU define self-care for yourself, do it with all the encouragement, loving kindness and support that the memes are meant to inspire. - XOXO







Like most of us going through perimenopause (or The Long Hot Summer as I like to call it), one of the things I’ve found most frustrating about my experience, is the lack of readily available, relevant information. While it’s been encouraging to see the rise of ‘Femtech’ drive a greater focus and investment in women’s reproductive health, I’m still left wanting more. That’s why I was excited to learn about the inaugural launch of the FemAging 2020 HealthTech Report, which focuses on the health needs of women 40 – 65 years old, and those serving them through unprecedented research and product innovations.

Published just last month, the report also highlights how COVID-19 has compounded the stress and anxiety of women navigating perimenopause and post-menopause. According to the report, “60% of women ages 40+ are concerned about COVID-19’s impact on their short- and long-term stress and anxiety levels. But there are few FemAging Tech solutions focused on behavioral health and wellness.”

Spearheaded by Denise Pines, founder of WisePause and president of the California State Medical Board, the report includes representative insights on the particular needs of women of color – African American, Hispanic and Asian – and the disappointing lack of resources available to these groups.


MMM: I love that you state that “women’s health is not just about fertility”. Why did you think it was important to do this type of report?

DP: We produced this report for two reasons. First, we want to bring older women’s health and wellness needs into the light. This is why we commissioned the FemAging Index, a uniquely nationally representative survey of 1,000 U.S. women ages 40 – 65 that will be repeated annually. Significantly, the FemAging Index takes a look at what older women of color want, a generally overlooked population in innovation research, investment and development.

Second, we want to accelerate and improve innovations targeted toward older women. This is why we are introducing a new industry sector with this report: FemAging Tech. This sector features innovations such as clothing, nutritional products, wearables, sensors, diagnostics, devices, pharmaceuticals and digital applications developed specifically for women ages 40+.

MMM: Who do you think will benefit most from the insights captured in FemAging Tech 2020?

DP: The rise of the FemTech sector is a positive thing, but as you alluded to in your previous question, to date, fertility and parenthood innovations have received more than $2.9 billion in investment. In contrast, solutions assessed that are targeted toward older women – including those entering perimenopause and menopause – have received an estimated $445 million, with the majority of funding going to pharmaceutical and device innovations. What makes this investment gap startling is the population size is almost equal in numbers.

The global population of women 40+ is growing daily, and an estimated 1.1 billion women will be of perimenopausal age by 2025. These women have tremendous economic and social power. It’s time to put their needs front and center.

MMM: What’s next for you in your crusade to democratize menopause for the masses?

DP: Well, FemAging 2020 is only the beginning! We plan to conduct representative surveys annually and update our list of individuals and companies making strides in the FemAging Tech sector. Of course, each year we hope to add even more innovators to our current list of 20.

I’m also excited to host the second annual WisePause Lifestyle Summit this September. Originally this was an in-person live event – due to the physical distancing measures, we’re taking it virtual hoping to reach even more women by streaming. You can learn more about some of the great programming we have planned and check for regular updates at www.wisepausetour.com.

You can download a PDF copy of FemAging 2020 here.




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.


Becoming Wise,

Denise



menopause made modern

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