The focus of the retreat was food and nutrition, this content was something I was confident about after all the work with Let’s Talk Food and Laura. The venue was picked for its beauty and intimacy created by the hostess, an experienced, vegetarian chef. Yet I think I had underestimated the wider benefits of a retreat.
We talked a lot over the weekend about taking time to ‘Mind Me’ at this time in our lives and it got me thinking more about the wider potential impact of coming on a retreat like this with time to relax, connect with other women and reflect.
Menopause happens at a time in women’s lives when there can be a lot going on. The window for normal menopause is wide – between 40 and 60 years. During these years, we can be wearing a lot of hats, making a lot of decisions, supporting a range of other people. We may have quite young children as many women are having their families later, or we may have teens or young adult children with the choices and challenges that they bring. Children leaving home and leaving us at a pivot point in our lives. At the other end of the scale we may be supporting older relatives. That is before considering our roles in work or in the community. There are a lot of strands of life.
These responsibilities and activities pulling on our attention can draw our attention away from ‘Minding’ ourselves. We get very adept at spinning our plates.
Then menopause comes along. We may notice and be a little more ready for it or we may find ourselves struggling with things then be shocked to find out the reason why. Menopause doesn’t book itself in to the calendar. It comes when it comes. To ride it out positively we need to take a bit of time to look after ourselves.
The body changes, some of those changes can be seen and felt. Other changes are on a more biological level so we cannot see or feel them, these can potentially have an impact on our health risk for later in life. Being menopausal can also affect the way we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. All of this happens with life going on at the rapid pace it does. Menopause can affect our resilience in handling all that might be going on around us or stresses and strains in life can amplify the effects of menopause on us.
Thinking about menopause in this context, with menopause still not always the easiest of subjects to talk about despite it being a natural part of women’s lives, how do we really reflect on the symptoms and how they are affecting us? How do we feel about our health going forward and the choices we may want to or need to make?
The answer. Time out with other women in a private space. Away from things that might be stressing us. Away from all the people we want to give time and energy to so we can give a little bit more energy to ourselves. The focus may be to learn about food and make new choices about how we eat but to do so in a space with other women brings other benefits too. You may not only have a small list of priorities or goals at the end but also you might have made new friends.
Does this appeal to you? Would you like to come along to a retreat in the future? Then find out more and let us know what would be important to you that would make the ‘Minding Me’ title ring true for you?