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Be Stronger Than Your Excuses

How menopause taught me self-care

In 2020, I chose to take care of myself by making my lifelong dream come true. I co-founded a startup called Womaneze with one of my closest friends.

We started Womaneze in early February, just in time to save me from this COVID19 year, the year that I intend to return as an unused item to its rightful owner — the Universe.

Next January, I intend to be 60 all over again… well, maybe 60.5, if I manage to make proper use of what is left of it!

I didn’t use half of this year in what I would normally think of as exciting ways. I didn’t use it on travel, new adventures, hanging out with friends, nor discovering new countries and cuisines.

I did use it to go on one exciting adventure: starting to develop the Womaneze platform and hot flash app.

Work as self-care?

A decade earlier, the mere act of pampering myself was a challenge, which I had to overcome. I learned how to take better care of myself. Still, work continued to be a source of stress.

Thinking of work as self-care is a complete novelty. I am now re-learning how to work. I had to make it a journey with many adventures and new things to discover and learn along the way.

When I was a busy mother, wife and executive, I had a creative collection of excuses for not going to the gym, eating healthier, or allocating time for myself. I had to fight against each excuse fiercely in order to put the necessary lifestyle changes high on my priority list.

The most amusing of my excuses were: “I will spoil my hairdo with all that sweat!” or “The chlorine in the pool will destroy my skin.” Oh! and the one I loved to use: “In my next reincarnation, I will love vegetables and be a lovable person.”

Not surprisingly, I learned to style my hair so that sweating would not mess it up, I discovered a swimming pool that didn’t use harmful chemicals and I found a way to eat lots of vegetables by zapping them into smoothies.

The Excuses again…

The same thing happened with starting my own business, but I had to be stronger than all my excuses. This time, I had an ace up my sleeve in the form of my friend and co-founder. I would be accountable to her, which made all of this much easier. She saw right through me and called me up on my excuses.

Just like I did 10 years ago, I found a way around my defenses. This time they were much harder to overcome, but I did it.

My main excuse for not starting a business on my own was that I thought of myself as not capable enough. So, I asked myself some questions: How do I know this? Did I ever try?

Then came the next justification — I don’t know enough to make this a success. The answer to this one was:” So, spend time learning as you have done with so many other things in your life. At least you are good at learning.”

Inner dialogue changed

Another rationalization became an obstacle. I thought that I would give up if things weren’t really moving. I changed my inner dialogue to become: “Oh, no, you won’t. It is not just you in this endeavor. You have to think of your co-founder. Also, let’s face it, you want this.”

Thinking of work as self-care is not automatic; I had to train my self to think of it this way. My main motivation was that on my deathbed, I will be sorry for the things I didn’t try and not the ones I attempted, even if I failed at them.

I have to admit that thinking of work in this new way was not easy in the beginning. Now that Womaneze is taking shape, the work is fun and exciting.

Even now, my mind invents new excuses every day, but they face a mighty warrior. I have learned how to be stronger than the strongest of them.

M

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