It began quite unexpectedly for me. I’d seen the old ladies fanning in church since I was too young to understand the complexities of life. In my earliest years, the fans were provided by the local funeral home and it was a service our little non- air-conditioned church appreciated. Little did I know why many of those precious female saints were fanning or what difficulties they may have been maneuvering through as they made their way toward the “other side of womanhood.”
As I sit here in my nice air-conditioned home, typing happily away on my trusty little laptop, my internal temperature has suddenly begun rising. Right now, my face is flushing intensely, the back of my neck and head are on fire and little droplets of sweat are forming. Soon they’ll be running down the side of my face. And in a few moments (if things go as usual) I will be freezing (and may have to grab the couch throw to knock off the chill). It is a never ending up and down temperature battle.
Last week, I spent several days sharing with you my struggles with this season of life and I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but for those of you who have recently entered the “M” zone and may be wondering what in the world is going on . . . before you check into your local psyche ward, let me offer a few thoughts and share some things I’ve learned along the way.
- Keep reminding yourself that the “M” season is temporary!
When you’re in the midst of it, it feels like you’ll never get out. Remember that scary season with your first newborn—when you thought you might not ever sleep a full night again? You thought your life was over? That season is just a blip on the screen now, it’s long past and you lived through it. This season too, will soon pass (for some women it lasts longer than others). Just keep reminding yourself . . . This is temporary!! I’m far enough into this now, that I actually get a full night’s sleep (occasionally)!
Here’s a great Scripture to memorize for those days when it seems you’ll never make it through:
[box]Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)[/box]
- Go to Battle!
My husband says that sometimes my hot flashes spread across the mattress, through the sheets and almost set our bed on fire. He says when he touches the back of my head it is so hot, it feels to him like I could literally internally combust!
I’ve gone into battle mode with the “M” season and these are some simple things that I’ve found helpful in dealing with the intense heat and insufferable insomnia:
- All my life I’ve been “cold natured” but now I’ve learned I need to turn down the thermostat before crawling into bed.
- I sleep with a fan (even if you can’t sleep with it blowing on you, the sound has a hypnotic effect that has helped with my insomnia).
- I keep a bottle of cool water nearby to counter the hot flashes.
- I’ve stopped drinking caffeine in the afternoons. Period. None. I saw an immediate effect when I made this change.
- I found some lightweight pajamas made with moisture-wicking fabric (and I’d like to wear them everywhere!).
- Prepare for the PIT days!
Pit days will happen. It comes with this crazy terrain. There are real chemical changes going on in your body. Even though a major physical/hormonal event is occurring, there are some things that help me navigate my way around the pit:
- I have a couple of faithful prayer partners I call when I feel it coming on. All I have to say is, “I’m having a really dark day . . .” and we launch into a time of serious spiritual battle through prayer.
- I listen to good praise music and even though I don’t “feel” like it, I sing and WORSHIP. Worshiping God really does deliver me from the pit!
- I’m tempted to turn inward on “pit” days, but I’ve found that every time I serve someone else instead of indulging myself . . . it completely turns my heart and mind around!
- Spending time outside. I don’t know if this has been scientifically proven, but just stepping outside for a bit and spilling your heart to God, improves my attitude and provides a more objective perspective.
Tomorrow, I’ll address the crazy “losing your mind” state, but today I’d love to hear how you navigate the “pit days.”
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