Monday, Oct 15th

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Enlisting Your Family’s Support

In most cases, we spend more time with our immediate family than with anyone else in our lives. They are there when we go to sleep at night, and they are there when we wake up and eat breakfast. Given the unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes and the high stress that so often accompany menopause, it's very important to make an extra effort to get along with family members. Unfortunately for some women, the symptoms of menopause can make family harmony extremely difficult to achieve at a time when you need it the most.

HFN 023 Enlisting 1 5407819Proper Communication
In order to avoid turning unfavorable conditions into intolerable ones, it's necessary to communicate to your family what you're going through. You cannot expect men or younger women to fully understand and appreciate the symptoms of menopause, but it's important that they understand that menopause is causing a serious hardship in your life. For example, when the inevitable mood swing or debilitating hot flash causes you to say something nasty and hurtful to your spouse or child over something small and inconsequential, it's important for them to realize that this is a symptom of menopause. If they have no knowledge of menopause and how it is affecting you, you cannot expect them to give you any special consideration when you need it most.

Many women learn that the easiest way to deal with side effects such as hot flashes is with humor. After you've explained to your immediate family what's going on, then you can joke. These are your "power surges," girlfriend, and it's perfectly fine to give them your own name. Tell your spouse you're a "hot woman," and joke with your kids that you're walking proof of climate change.

If night sweats awaken you a few times a night, you're likely to throw the blankets off your body with dramatic flourish. Now your spouse is coverless and shivering. In a minute, you will be, too, with the cooling effect that perspiration has. Working out a mutually acceptable solution, maybe separate blankets for a time, will help at least your partner have a good night's sleep.

HFN 023 Enlisting 2 35075025Your Responsibility
Just as your family has a responsibility to help you negotiate your way through menopause, you have a responsibility to them to help them through this challenging time as well. Your hot flashes and night sweats may or may not directly affect them, but the way in which you react to your symptoms will. Do your best to be aware of how you're acting, and when you do succumb to the occasional tantrum, be sure to say you're sorry. A simple apology can go a long way, while neglecting to say you're sorry can go just as far in the opposite direction.

Finally, take the time to thoroughly educate yourself on menopause and its symptoms. This is the only way you can properly educate your family and gain their support during this time of transition. ♀

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