ACH Blog

Mid Life Transitions

Isobel Cosgrove - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I am doing a Webinar, “40 years of Treating Menopause” this week, and I have been reflecting on all of the life transitions we go through.


So many school leavers have been unable to do a proper ending with friends, teachers and mentors this year. This is a big loss for each student, as acknowledging this ending facilitates the process of moving on into work or college. In a similar way, those who are graduating from University or college this Summer are doing so without the familiar rituals which have marked the end of higher education. There has been a loss of closure.


group of fresh graduates students throwing their academic hat in the air


After graduation, we begin to form our adult lives, both professional and personal, between the early 20’s and early 40’s. In Chinese Medicine it is understood that the period from 42 to 49 is a time when we can make some lifestyle changes. In the West we now call this time Peri Menopause. Chinese doctors have long understood that to transition through a healthy Menopause we can prepare by making sure that we start paying more attention to eating well in our 40’s. Instead of coming home late, and having a main meal at 9 in the evening, we can eat protein early in the day [as it takes 6 hours to fully digest protein] and have a lighter meal earlier in the evening.


cooked dish


To avoid menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and insomnia, daytime hot flushes and dryness, anxiety and low moods, we need to find a different rhythm to our working days, taking short breaks, drinking more water, avoiding intense exercise so that we can wind down slowly before bed. And perhaps most important, we must challenge and put aside the negative cultural messages we hear in the West, that maturity and reaching Mid Life is inevitably accompanied by physical decline. We are told that “ 50 is the new 30”, and encouraged to “stay young” by continuing to do intense exercise regimes in gyms, stay up late, drinking or clubbing or both, eat as we have always eaten: to ignore the changes in our hormones, and in our lives and bodies in general as we enter the Mid Life phase.


bird drinking water


These messages undermine the work we all have to do to make the transition from Peri Menopause into Menopause, and into the mature time in our lives. Moving from youth into maturity brings many opportunities and gifts. Transitioning from a predominantly Yang stage of life, which usually is career and action oriented, into a more Yin phase, offers us the chance to have a deeper relationship with ourselves, and then with others.

Life can move at a different pace, we can go through our days more gently, having more time for reflection, for creativity and for contact with those we love and care for. We can move into the next stage of our lives as Second adults, who support and nurture the growing alpha adults of the next generation.


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Transition Out Of Lockdown

Isobel Cosgrove - Wednesday, June 17, 2020
What can we all take out of this period of lockdown, which is valuable and relatively new for us in the next stage of our lives?

For myself I have been fortunate to have an extended family, husband, daughters and grand daughters, who have all, in their different ways, helped me to expand my online skills and the platforms I use. For example, since March, I have been working on Zoom with clients who want some time with me as a practitioner. Through acting as a practitioner online, I have been able to help patients in many different ways. I have also used twitter to widen the readership of my blogs and my digital presence. I hope I will take all these attributes forward into the next part of all of my life. To further the therapeutic connection, I will also be doing a webinar on Menopause later this month.


Flowers, Flower, Tulips, Menopause

Colleagues I know have designed new websites, and updated existing ones. They are also offering Tai Chi classes, yoga groups and meditation online. I have personally gained a great deal from spending some time each morning doing Qi Gong exercises, followed by a meditation before bed. Both have given me a sense of somatic awareness which I want to continue to develop as I get older. I need all the help I can get to take care of myself in the later years of my life. These professions have offered many different forms of support for health and wellbeing to people of all ages, which can be taken forward into the future.


The other highlight from lockdown is that I now know many more of my neighbours. We had a socially distant cello recital in early Spring, when we stood under umbrellas in the rain and heard part of Beethoven’s 9th. Later we had a gathering when we all brought drinks outside, still maintaining social distance, and exchanged greetings, news and names, while children rode around on bikes. Since then artists of all ages have given us wonderful foxes, fish, birds and uplifting messages as chalk drawings on the pavements. And more recently, Bramshill Forest, a big and very beautiful wall mural, has appeared, and is the collective expression of an enlivened community spirit in the street. Connections with neighbours are more alive and well now than I have found them in the last 10 years, and I very much hope they will continue.


  



So what will you take into late Summer and Autumn this year? How will your life be impacted after this time spent differently, increasingly at home? What opportunities have we been given to change how we live and work? And how can we continue to grow and develop our new skills, contacts, connections and perspectives? 

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