Written by Geri Ann Higgins
“Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”
Translation: “A hot flash is starting and I will soon lose every word you’re saying.”
If you’re not sure you’ve had a hot flash, you haven’t.
My unique brand of electrical surges start in the lumbar region and slowly rise up. The increase in temperature then reveals itself on my forehead, cheeks, neck and chest.
And, no, I don’t look dewy.
I look sweaty.
If addressed fast enough, they can dissipate. I’ve actually timed some of them. After a year and a half of casual measurement, I can share that mine typically last 90 shiny seconds, approximately once an hour.
Since we’re all in this together, I humbly offer the following tips and tricks:
Go barefoot. As soon as I get home, I rip those socks right off! Living in Vermont helps in the winter. I can easily step out to my front porch or back deck. Body temperate regulates super swiftly. Slippers are a great idea. Cool? Pop on the slippers. Start to heat up? Kick ‘em off! When flashes come, you do want to KICK.
Toeless shoes. I wear these year round. I keep an extra pair in a tote at work and in another in my car. This way, if I have a business meeting, I can easily change into them prior to. Tootsies stay cool under the table, stacking the deck in your favor.
Move! If you are in a meeting and a flash starts, try to calmly excuse yourself and walk down a hallway. Gentle movement can quickly dissipate the heat radiating off your body.
Sitali (or Cooling) Breath. This is a yoga breathing technique with curled tongue. You can watch a demo here. This one hasn’t been a game-changer for me, but I remain open to it.
FANS! So many options in this area – collapsible, pretty, practical. Ceiling fans, small electrical fans, hand fans, purse fans, plug-into-the phone fans. I’m obviously a fan.
Choosing Chairs – Whenever possible, choose ones with open back slats. If those aren’t available, sit forward enough on the chair so there is adequate air flow between your back and the back of the chair. This summer I discovered camp chairs with mesh netting on the back. Niiiiice.
Comin’ in HOT! Want a flash? Drink caffeine (coffee or tea), wine or eat anything.
Yes, eating increases temperature because you are converting energy through the digestion process. Since spicy food takes it to another level, I don’t eat (or drink caffeinated beverages) when I’m in a meeting. Instead, I’ll bring in some water with ice, so I can place that on my pulse points. Flashes have definitely reduced the amount of wine I drink. Talk about a buzz kill.
Peppermint oil. Place a drop of this on the base of your neck and you’ll drop your body temp a few degrees. You will smell like a candy cane, but, it could be worse!
Shower cap. Invest in a quality one, because you’re gonna shower A LOT more often.
Hearing from other women. At a recent women-only dinner, conversation shifted to menopause. It’s real. It’s either happening or it will eventually be happening. Better to be open about it and help each other out. Take the shame out of sweating!
Make like an onion. Take a peeling and layering approach. A sleeveless top in the winter? Yes. Just pair with a jacket, decorative scarf or shawl. Get hot and BAM, take off a layer or two. You’re welcome. You might want to skip turtlenecks and hats altogether, though.
Here, Kitty, Kitty. Oh, those jokers. A hot flash is like a beacon to them. Mine immediately crawl on my lap. Which means I cannot move. Which is hard when your body temperature is rapidly rising. But, they are finally coming to cuddle! Fellow cat lovers appreciate the irony.
Laughter. Seriously. Well, not seriously. You gotta laugh. It’s a natural part of life. Ride the waves and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Ceiling fan!
- Kick your foot or leg out from under the covers for a quick temp drop.
- Sleep on your side instead of your back.
- Stand in front of the air conditioner (in summer or in hot climates)
- Get out of bed and walk around – bare feet on tile flooring is cooling.
- Keep lavender water in your bathroom or at bedside to spritz on your face.
- Explore the idea of a BedJet climate sheet – a friend mentioned this to me. I do not have one. It’s expensive, but may be worth it for some of you.
- Have a hot partner? Escape to the guest room, as needed. You can always return!
Stay cool, Sisters.
Until you’re not.
What has worked well for you when you’ve been hit with a flash?
Next Up: A Valentine’s Pledge to Myself
Medical Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health professional.
Geri Ann Higgins, owner of Fully Present, is a breast cancer survivor, Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Yoga4Cancer Teacher, Reiki Master, Tarot coach and Marketing & Communications professional. Learn more at http://www.FullyPresentwithYou.com