Clarissa Kristjansson Ph.D. is an internationally recognised menopause educator and certified mindfulness practitioner focused on the positive and transformative nature of this life transition. She is the host of the popular Thriving Thru Menopause podcast and author of the bestsellers, The Mindful Menopause and The Potent Power of Menopause: A Globally Diverse Perspective of Feminine Transformation.
In this blog, she introduces perimenopause and menopause and explains how it affects our relationship to things.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause, when our hormones fluctuate wildly, is a time of significant challenge in our lives. Perimenopause often coincides with the period of life when women are at their busiest: managing children of various ages, caring for elderly parents and working in their chosen careers. In addition, women go through hormonal highs and lows. Commonly they are more anxious, struggling with fatigue that seems to come from nowhere and exhausted due to lack of sleep. And, of course, fogginess, that debilitating brain fog that 60% of women experience, that creates the inability to focus, concentrate or remember people's names. Let alone know how many appointments we have booked into our diaries. Or where we put essential documents or our keys.
How does perimenopause affect us?
For many women who have always been 'on top of their game,' this change can shatter their self-confidence. When our minds, life and home are cluttered, we feel we have lost control over essential parts of our lives. In return, this loss of control can exacerbate feelings of frustration, worry and anxiety or increase brain fog. Decluttering and organising systems and support can help with the overwhelm of untidiness and disorganisation and ease the added tension on perimenopausal symptoms.
How does menopause change our relationship to clutter?
But what about decluttering in menopause and beyond?…. When eventually, our hormones level out, and many of our symptoms fade away. As we enter our mid-fifties, this coincides with a junction in our lives when children, if we have them, start to leave home. And we often find ourselves questioning our career directions and our closest relationships. In fact, many divorces occur at this time, often initiated by women. And many women have resigned from corporate careers to pursue other avenues.
Controlling the compulsion to clear
I have heard this time referred to as The Yard Sale of Our Lives. The impulse to clear can be so fierce that we wake up one morning and know that the way we have done for years, highly competent and successful, is over and no longer who we are. So strong is that menopause imperative we can find ourselves seized by this urgency without due thought. We don't want that. Menopause and that time that follows are uncompromising. Our deep self delivers a solid and clear message that we can no longer compromise who we are and what we do. This is where we need allies that understand the process of menopause as a process of evolution. Declutterers and organisers can be highly supportive in helping us to release or let go of some of the outmoded or unwanted clutter or ways of doing things that no longer serve us.
Coming to terms with a course correction
Menopause is not called The Change for nothing. Think of it as leaving one country to find another. In this new land, there are new rules, which are all laid down by you! Menopause is ultimately about you coming home to yourself. A Midlife Course Correction where old identities are left behind, and we can stand more authentically in the world. Finally, recognise who we are and what is most important to us.
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