First published at www.menopausemission.com in November 2012 http://menopausemission.com/services-saves-your-emotions
Many women do not realize that Menopause provides a free pass for women to re-invent themselves. With the amount of wisdom women have accumulated at this stage in their lives, they have grown to the point where they know for sure what they no longer want in their lives, but going forward and doing what they really want can be a scary thing. One of the safest and easiest ways to see if their new choice in career and lifestyle is what they really want, and will feel comfortable doing, is by volunteering their time somewhere doing the work they are truly interested in. What many don’t realize, is that being of service to others ironically ends up making people a lot more whole because focusing on a chosen interest is what makes a life fulfilling. It’s that link that helps people understand who they are, and overcoming negative emotions menopause can trigger. The key is genuinely caring about the people/organization you are helping, as opposed to helping out of obligation or for recognition and a title.
In Ancient Chinese Medicine there are a few components that make up one’s ability to be a healthy and whole individual. One of these is by paying attention to the lifestyle and relationships you have and how they affect you emotionally and physically. Optimum health generally comes when you surround yourself with positive people, and work in an environment that brings you much joy. When your surroundings are balanced, your health becomes balanced. This concept is also discussed in detail in the book, “The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, MD.
The unfortunate side effects of menopause can include mood disorders like depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and withdrawal, agitation, feeling overwhelmed, sadness, anger, fear and dread. Knowing these symptoms are a sign of menopause makes it understandable at how difficult it can be for menopausal women to take that first step outside their box and explore the world of change. Women are so used to giving to everyone and not giving to themselves. Women can however give their time to an organization in their local community by volunteering doing work they always wanted to try. If helping women around the world is an interest, organizations like Women for Women International (https://womenforwomenintlcareers.silkroad.com/wfwintl/Volunteers.html) could be what you are looking for. If travel, gardening, and food are interests, there are some international and national organizations, botanical gardens, urban garden programs and farms that need help to either teach people how to work the land, or will teach you all you want to know in exchange for your time. If children or child development is your passion, there are a number of international organizations that look for volunteers to help orphanages look after children in need, or head to your local boys and girls clubs. These are just a few examples to get your mind to open you up to think about what really interests you. Trying something like this becomes a win-win situation for all involved. A skill and/or profession you always wanted to do is learned, and at the same time you are giving back to a community doing something you are passionate about.
When you try something that you always wanted to do and realize you absolutely love what you are doing, the quality of your life instantly improves. It changes your mind chemistry and helps you overcome a lot of the negative emotions that go along with menopause. Better yet, it opens you up to a new world where you are no longer afraid to try new things, and even pursue your new interests at the career level. The energy you give to something, the ancient Chinese believe, will attract a corresponding energy. When you are of service to others you are in essence practicing universal love. When you give to others unselfishly, you also have the ability to heal yourself.
Remember volunteer work, no matter what you do and no matter how passionate you are, is challenging. Don’t expect that because you are passionate about something that all the people you work with will have personalities easy to work with or that you won’t face challenges in your work. Be realistic and remind yourself why you are trying this type of work and that everyone’s goal is to help the best they can, with the limited skills and/or resources that they have. Learn what your limitations are, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when your service work is beginning to suck all the energy out of you. Overcoming challenges will give you such an inner strength and confidence that it will prepare you for taking on your next interest.
Think about what you want to do and who you want to become in order to be happy. Don’t think about the past and what you may or may not have been able to achieve. Don’t think far into the future into what may or may not happen if you make this change. Stay in the present moment, enjoy every second, learn from the people you have surrounded yourself with, and know that because your service/volunteer work is something you are passionate about, joy will continue to flow your way.
Volunteer, give back to society, your community and family, share your wisdom, and your service to the world will open new doors to happiness and a balanced healthy life. Taking these steps will help you overcome the difficult emotional challenges that come with menopause.
Photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.com