Right, picture the scene: you’re lying on a hammock, taking in idyllic paradise views, looking forward to a lunch of nutritious, organic food and a couple of fruity cocktails packed full of goodness. The 9-5 is miles away – literally, because you’re at a menopause retreat at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences – and you can indulge yourself in looking after the most important person in your life: you!
A menopause retreat is certainly something I could do with after the last few months (and my apologies for not posting, but between work, family and the next stage of Pausitivity – all that I will be updating you on soon – it’s been non-stop).
Looking after yourself is one of the things I bang on most about on 50Sense because the last few years (and all the comments and DMs I receive) has taught me that HRT alone isn’t enough. Menopause is a holistic condition that affects your spirit as well as your body and we need to nurture that just as much as slap on an HRT gel.
Meet the coach
Which is what naturopath and wellness coach Claire O’Sullivan (that’s her above) will be doing at Amilla Maldives.
When it comes to the ideal life, Claire had it all: a happy marriage and two “beautiful boys” and they’d left the grey skies of Britain behind for beautiful Cape Town.
But then Mother Nature came knocking, as she does, and in her early 40s, Clare found herself hit for six.
Mood swings, weight gain, anger, tiredness, insomnia, hot flushes, night sweats – you know the drill. Menopause at its strongest.
She’d already been studying health and nutrition, but changed her focus to women’s hormones to learn how to treat menopause in a more natural way than HRT.
She now works full-time as a health and wellness coach, helping others take back control, and sounds like my sort of woman.
Amilla Maldives Perimenopause & Menopause Retreats
Claire has structured a five-day wellbeing journey that will explore natural ways to boost your hormones and teach how to manage symptoms through movement, nutrition and mindfulness (something that has been a lifesaver for me over the last few months).
Days are based around the likes of yoga, meditation, Pranayama breathwork – that’s deep breathing exercises to absorb more oxygen, to you and me – and dance to help your mental wellbeing.
But there are also talks and discussions on perimenopause and menopause and workshops on eating well to help your hormones and try to avoid that pesky midlife overhanging belly (now I know that’s not just me…)
There are also some incredible sounding treatments included, such as foot reflexology (j’adore) and Sensora light therapy, which uses light, sound and vibrations to help with insomnia, depression, burn-out and the sort. Plus the use of the steam and sauna facilities in the Amilla Maldives spa. Love a sauna…
And let’s not forget – you’re in the Maldives! The timetable has plenty of time to enjoy yourself so you can go snorkelling among manta rays and whale sharks (no, you don’t need a bigger boat for these gentle creatures). If that isn’t going to chase away the menopause blues, then I don’t know what will.
Why? Because you’re worth it
Now I know what you’re thinking: this from the woman who brings us Thrifty Fifty and rants about women being charged a fortune for menopause healthcare?
But… yes. Otherwise, as you know, I wouldn’t share it.
The last few months have been tough. I’ve been watching my mam slowly slip away from me with dementia and seeing the woman she was disappear, while it seems every day I hear about friends getting ill or dying far too young.
Add to that the general funk around menopause: feeling older, noticing aches and pains, my FFA hair loss, wondering what I’ve done with my life and – don’t hate me – thinking about how long I’ve got left.
It’s all made me think about life and I’ve realised it’s for living and loving and enjoying.
I’ve always been the sort of person who keeps things “for best” and then never wears them, or doesn’t buy something because it’s “too good for me” or “not worth the money” when it is but I think I don’t deserve it.
But menopause can be a hard enough transition without this self-imposed flagellation and austerity.
We are worth good things and nice things, especially when they can make us feel better. Somedays, putting on “my best” has been the only thing that has made me able to face going out into the world.
I’ve learnt that I am worth looking after and taking care of and do deserve to splash a little self-love at myself at times. There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact, it’s essential because if I feel better about myself, then I’m nicer to the people around me. As Mr 50Sense can attest!
So now I say, yes, if you can afford it, go for it. Because you are truly worth it.
And send me a postcard!
Amilla Maldives Five-day Perimenopause and Menopause Retreats from 23 June-7 July 2022, from £4,839 per person – saving £810 per person. Contact inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk