The Mindful Menopause

The mindful menopause

Type ‘on average how long …’ into Google search and the four words that automatically completes the search inquiry are ‘… does the menopause last’.

The answer (from the NHS, just in case you were wondering which site comes top of Google’s results) is that menopausal symptoms last an average of four years from your last period.

Which is a staggeringly long time to be sweating through the night courtesy of an internal blast furnace , lurching from Dr Jekyll to Mrs Hyde in the blink of an unpredictable eye, struggling to sleep and piling on weight quicker than a baby Orca.

It’s enough to say that while there are a lucky few (and let’s be honest, they’re a don’t-know-just-how-lucky-they-are lucky few) whose bodies seem to effortlessly deal with what is pretty much the hormonal equivalent of a Hadron collider particle accelerator operating non-stop 24/7 for 1500+ days, the majority of the world’s female population find the menopause to be a very different experience.

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Is Romance The Victim Of Your Failure To Engage?

Red Heart

Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy Our need for togetherness exist alongside our need for separation. Marriage is not the end of romance, it’s the beginning

Esther Perel

No-one who’s completely sane likes having a difficult conversation. There’s not much joy to be had in criticising the behaviour or commitment of someone else and a lot of us go out of our way to avoid those moments of confrontation.

Sometimes we can get away with that avoidance. Maybe, in the broad scheme of things, saying what you really think or feel serves no great long-term purpose, either because the issue is time-limited, or resolution will have no material effect on our lives.

But where there are problems between you and the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with, whether in marriage or otherwise, failing to be completely honest can have a really negative – or, if left unresolved, catastrophic – impact on the health of the relationship.

My work helps and encourages couples to stop avoiding the difficult conversations that keep a relationship healthy. Without them, unwanted resentment, anger, rage and blame slowly creeps into the relationship because neither person will say, I feel hurt when …  

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Do You Know The Value of ‘Brand You’?

Do You Know The Value Of Brand You?

Ask the owner of any successful business what their most valuable asset is and the smartest among them will give you a one-word answer: brand.

Brand is not a one single thing; it’s a collection of attributes – some physical, some material, some emotional – that together create the relationship that exists between a business and its customers and clients.

Any business that understands its market will invest in developing and defining its brand – and it will (or should) go to extraordinary lengths to protect it.

The reason is quite simple: a business’s brand represents the personality of that business, and personality is about values, ethos, ambition and loyalty.

If I asked you what brands you admire, there’s a good chance some familiar names would make the list.

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The Truth Behind The Triple Smackdown

The Truth Behind The Triple Smackdown

Here’s the truth about life. Sometimes it turns up wearing camouflage gear and a balaclava, armed to the teeth and hell-bent on hurting you.

Or at least, that’s what it feels like.

We all experience this at least once in our lives. And if it only happens once, then consider yourself fortunate, because it happens to most of us more than once.

This is the moment where everything seems to be going well and apart from the minor day-to-day issues everyone’s dealing with all the time, there’s not much to distract you from the rather pleasant job of enjoying life.

And then, suddenly, everything seems to go to hell in a hand cart in a very short time.

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Children’s Emotional Resilience

Young Business Girl On Stage Lifting Barbell

When you were learning how to ride a bike as a kid and you fell off and skinned a knee or an elbow, did you just brush yourself down, get back on and try again, knowing that eventually after some practice, you’d get the hang of it?

Or did you do what most of us did, and cry a bit and refuse to get back on the saddle until your mum or dad forced you to?

For most of us, learning to ride a bike was a painful and undignified affair that involved much wobbling, some falling off, lots of tears (some of pain, most of frustration) and a good deal of anxiety before we got to the elation of two-wheeled, confident independence.

In fact, for kids, most learning experiences are like that.

But many people seem to think that children develop resilience purely through the act of failing. That’s not the case. Children actually develop resilience by learning how to deal with failure successfully.

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Trauma Is Chemistry

Ice Cube In Flames On A Spoon

Hands up if you ever played doctors or nurses – and focus at the back, there … we’re talking about role-play when you were six, not cosplay when you were, well … older (that’s a whole different article).

Most of us acted out the part of a doctor or a nurse or a dentist when we were kids, and I bet that even though you probably won’t remember or associate it in this way, when you did, it was often just after an appointment with your own doctor or dentist.

More than that, I’d be willing to stake a little money on the fact that on those occasions, you acted out whatever treatment you’d just received. An injection, maybe. Or drilling a tooth.

Even now, you probably think that was just a simplistic process of taking a ‘new’ childhood experience and contextualising it in your own relatively new world.

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Why It’s OK To Just Tell People To F*** Off

Shutterstock 648177022

When you ask most people what advice they’d give to their younger self, you tend to hear a lot of words from the self-affirming end of the spectrum: be more confident; trust yourself; be proud of who you are; be true to your own beliefs. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

When Michelle Lee, a feature writer with New York’s Allure magazine, asked Dame Helen Mirren the same question as part of a press junket for her new movie The Leisure Seeker a couple of years ago, she was probably expecting something equally inclined to the gently persistent art of self-validation.

What she got instead was, in true Mirren style, something much more direct, though no less heartfelt:

“I’d advise her to tell people to fuck off more and stop being so bloody polite.”

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Infertility, PTSD…..and me

Ivf Acronym On Colorful Wooden Cubes

We tried for a baby before turning to IVF for three years. In that time we had nothing for 18 months and then two missed miscarriages and an ectopic.

To say we were pretty desperate by the time we made the decision to go for IVF would be an understatement, and we had four cycles in 2014 that culminated with the transfer of Baby Bee on December 29th that year.

It would probably come as no surprise to know that I was unbearably anxious throughout my pregnancy, and so we scheduled a C-section for his due date so I could avoid any  additional labour anxieties.

As it happened, the dramas were few and far between. His due date came, I was unzipped and – at last! – there he was. My beautiful, bouncing, baby boy.

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The Perils Of Co-Habiting With Your Hobby

Beautiful Landscape With Tree Silhouette And Reflection At Sunset With Alone Girl And Bike Under The Tree

“Well, there were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the famous (or perhaps infamous) Panorama interview that Princess Diana gave to Martin Bashir and that answer, in response to his question about whether she felt Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, was a factor in the breakdown of her marriage.

Relationships can be crowded enough with just two people in them, never mind an unwanted interloper who sucks love and mutual respect from them. But it’s not always other people who overcrowd a marriage or long-term relationship.

Sometimes it’s obsession.

We all know someone who’s discovered a new passion. Their enthusiasm for whatever diversion they’ve stumbled across converts them into instant experts – crusading evangelists for whom every road leads to Damascus and the conversion of others.

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Are You ‘Fed’ Up With Twixtmas?

Female Feet Standing On Electronic Scales For Weight Control In Red Socks With Christmas Decoration

How are we doing over there? Have you managed to make a dent on the mountain of snacks and nibbles that made your cupboard look like a post-apocalyptic food store (who knew the shops would only be closed for just one day, right?)

If you’re like most of the country, you’re probably wedged into an armchair watching The Sound of Music (which, by the way, you hate), ploughing through a tin of Quality Street you don’t need or want – because, well, it’s Christmas, dammit! – and muttering darkly about losing weight.

Over the past few weeks there’s been a lot of online chat about exactly this subject. How to rid yourself of the extra pounds that pile on while you digest the aperitif that is Christmas and await the entrée that is New Year. A time of year known by some as Twixtmas and by others as the somewhat ruder perineum. Go ahead and look that up. We’ll wait.

It occurred to me that there was a common theme to all the social media, blogs and online articles, which was the assumptions they made about what causes weight gain and what motivates us to then lose it.

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Additional Credits

Video by Weeks360.

Photography by Liz Bishop Photography.

Production by Mark Norman at Little Joe Media and Joanne Brooks.

Hair by Jonny Albutt.

Make up by Olly Fisk and Nabeel Hussain.