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"I don't have the time for self-care!"

This week (13th-19th Nov 2023) is National Self-Care Week. However, to many women during midlife, the idea of self-care might seem unobtainable, a pipe dream or even just an indulgence too far that we don’t have time for in amongst the stresses of work and family commitments. As women, we often put others needs before our own, make ourselves a non priority and even feel guilty if we do something for ourselves.

However, if I told you that self-care doesn’t have to be grand gestures like spa days, or long mediation practices, and instead can be just small, simple gestures to ourselves that we can fit into our daily lives, would this then sound more acceptable and doable?

Woman sleeping in a bed with white sheets

Self-care is not selfish:

Self-care when we are going through peri-menopause and menopause is crucial to overall well-being and a necessity not a luxury. Incorporating small acts of self-care gradually into our everyday life can have a significant impact on how we manage stress, as well as boosting our mood and energy levels.

Below are some ideas for self-care that can be incorporated into daily life. Pick what resonates with you and try and gradually make them part of your daily routine.

  1. Boost your sleep - switch off your phone 30 minutes before bed and reading a book or have a warm bath instead. Prioritising good sleep is crucial to energy levels and mood during menopause.

  2. The power of ‘No’ - before immediately saying ‘yes’ to a request, give yourself time to think if saying ‘no’ might be kinder to yourself instead. Setting boundaries is an act of self-kindness and reduces overwhelm.

  3. Food is mood - Try adding some new or different vegetables and fruits to increase variety into your diet and nourish your body. Swap your daily biscuit or chocolate bar for fruit, nuts, seeds or yoghurt or simply start by replacing milk chocolate with dark chocolate if you need a chocolate fix.

  4. Breathe deeply - take regular breaks during the day to just focus on breathing deeply for 3-5 breaths to calm the nervous system and reduce stress.

  5. Look to the light - just a few minutes each morning looking towards daylight whether it’s standing outside with a cup of coffee or through an open window can boost mood and energy levels for the day.

  6. Get moving - move your body at regular intervals whether that’s stretching, squatting, swinging your arms or star jumps to wake your body up and boost energy levels.

  7. Headspace - set a timer for 3 minutes to just sit with your thoughts and feelings as this can help calm the mind and organise your priorities for the day ahead.

  8. Stay connected - when you feel like your social interactions whether at work or home have been draining, pick up the phone to a friend or someone you care about who fills your emotional cup again.

  9. Eat mindfully - try to eat at least one meal of the day more mindfully, really focusing on what you are eating without distraction and chewing your food carefully as this can improve digestion.

  10. Hydrate - try adding in more water or herbal teas into your day to help reduce brain fog, cravings and fatigue which can be symptoms of dehydration

  11. Smile!- try smiling at yourself in the mirror or even giving yourself a high-five first thing in the morning and you’ll be amazed how this can lift your mood if practised regularly.

A cup of herbal tea

Understanding the importance of self-care and how you can incorporate daily practices in a manageable way is a key element of the 6 week Menopause Plan programme that I offer. To find out more please click on the link below to contact me.

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