Ahhhhhhhhhhh, summer, the season of sunshine. For the menopausal woman who is already walking around with her own hot flash equivalent of a personalized wood-fired pizza oven, summertime hot flashes can rival any sweat lodge. Oh, and don't forget all that time spent pent up with hormone-saturated kids. Yes, these are the months for vacations that can have you wondering if you are secretly mother Griswold in one of Chevy Chase's summer vacation disasters.
Don't despair! With a little planning and summer savvy, you can avoid this train wreck of a summer. If you play your cards right, summer months can be a time for cookouts, fun vacations, and great family memory making.
Here are my top tips for enjoying your summer to its fullest:
Beat the Heat
If you thought your hot flashes were bad in the winter, the summer heat is not going to give you any relief. When it comes to your wardrobe, this is the season to think light: light fabrics, light colors. The combo will help you stay cool. (Plus, the clock is already ticking to Labor Day when you'll have to pack up your whites!) One hundred percent cotton and linen are among the most breathable fabrics around, and if you plan to take your workout outdoors, opt for workout wear with tags that read "wicking." Heavy, non-breathable fabrics can trap sweat in between themselves and your skin, making it difficult for the sweat to evaporate and pull moisture away from your body.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to drink, drink, drink water -- especially if you are spending time outside. The warm temps and scorching sun can suck your body dry, and hydration is vital to both keeping cool and staying healthy. Keep a refillable water bottle that has clearly marked ounces with you at all times. That way, you'll be able to keep track of your water intake throughout the day.
Stay Safe From the Sun
You've been slathering up the kids for years, but are you keeping yourself shielded from the sun? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with melanomas striking more than 26,000 women a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the sun's rays are responsible for up to 90 percent of the visible changes that are commonly attributed to aging, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Apply sunblock of at least 30 SPF 15 minutes before you head outside and reapply ever two hours, the agency advises. Remember: The sun can get you even on cloudy days! Besides, who needs a tan when all of our age-induced brown spots that suddenly begin to populate our bodies begin to blend together?!
Take a Break From Stress
Need a vacation to get over your typical summer vacation? This season, schedule one that's all about recharging your batteries. Invite only those who you think will help in your mission to achieve rest and relaxation, or just go alone! You'd be surprised how much fun "me" time can be. My suggestion: If you can, go somewhere where you have no cell-phone service, so you'll be unforced to unplug for a few days. Or, if you have the strength, leave all of your gadgets at home. According to research from Michigan State University, people actually use their wireless devices more on vacation than they do at home. Talk about a wasted opportunity for a little R&R!
Calm the Kids
No matter how much we love them, being cooped up with our children for three months can be more than a little overwhelming. Your hormones, their hormones... it's a dangerous mix. At the start of summer, take my Menopause Symptoms Chart (to get it, all you need to do is to sign up for my free Menopause Mondays Newsletter) and sit down with your kids for an open chat about your menopausal symptoms, emotional needs and what you want out of your summer with them. It will help you understand each other and connect before your dueling hormones have a chance to ignite. Who knows, you might even share some symptoms with your PMS-ing daughter.
Summer days filled with fun and sun don't have to be a long-gone memory. By implementing some healthy self-care tricks, this summer can be your best one yet!
Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
Let's hang out! The first Monday of every month at 5:30pm PST/8:30pm EST, Ellen is hosting her Menopause Mondays Google Hangouts: Where the Sisterhood helps the Sisterhood. Sign up here and get ready to ask Ellen your menopause questions at this free online event!