Ep 104: Embracing Perimenopause & The Power of Taking A Break

In this episode of Joyful Love, I share with you how I’m choosing to embrace Perimenopause and listen to my own needs right now.

During my 4-month hiatus,  I’ve had so many benefits of hitting the “pause” button on a few things in life.

Slowing down has helped me prevent burnout, make clearer decisions, and deepen my relationships. But it also gave me a little surprise that I’ll tell you about in this episode … a welcome surprise! 

Tune in to hear how I’m approaching my own midlife awakening, what I’ve created along the way, and how you can join me in what’s to come! 

Listen to the end to hear all about the Have A Better Marriage By Friday Challenge coming up and how to register! 

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How I’m Embracing the Challenge of this Midlife Awakening (Perimenopause)
  • 4 Things that have grown from taking a break.
  • The surprise I wasn’t expecting from pausing my podcast.
  • All about the Have A Better Marriage By Friday Challenge.

Mentioned On The Show:

  • Register For The
  • Join me in my Free Facebook group HERE.

Read The Episode Transcript Here:

Hey, this is Rachel Cunningham, and you're listening to joyful Love Episode 104. I am so excited to be back, I've been on a break for this podcast, for four months, it was just going to be three originally, and then it stretched into four. And I'm so glad it was four. Because I really needed that break, I needed the time to hit reset on this podcast, and on my life in a few different ways.

And I've honestly had a difficult few months, and yet some of the most eye opening and transformative few months as well. And you know, I look back on it like today where I'm at right now. And I just find it interesting how those two things often happen. At the same time, you know, a really difficult time and also a really transformative time. But to to have our lives to be eye opening and inspiring.

Sometimes we do have to, you know, hit the pause button on a few things. And for myself, I knew back in about October, I said, I have to hit the pause button on a few things. And it took me a while to finally accept it. But then in November, I said, Yep, this is the time to hit pause. If you are in a mode where you're eating a reset.

I hope we can look at your life and ask yourselves, where do I want to hit pause right now? What can I hit pause on that will be healthy for myself that will be healthy for my relationships that might even be healthy for my business. Right? You know, it was it was a little bit scary hitting pause on my podcast. It's a heart driven thing that I that I do out of love and that I want to give to people, but it's also part of my business. And so I was, you know, I had this fear of will I be shutting down my entire business?

And the answer is absolutely not. But I had to be willing to step out and to embrace a little bit of that fear so that I could do what my heart and soul needed, right. And as I was sitting down to kind of think about what I wanted to share with you guys, Today, I came up with four ways that hitting pause has really helped me and turned a difficult time of my life into a really inspiring transformative time of my life as well.

The number one thing that I believe pausing helped me to prevent is burnout slowing down allows us to prioritize self care. And I've mentioned a few times in my emails over the past six to nine months, that I've noticed a huge shift in my emotional well being the positive outlook that I normally had was it just like kind of flew out the window. Like if, if my positivity was a bird, it flew out the window, and I had a hard time accessing it. And you know, normally I am the positive one in my family, I'm able to look at things and say, you know, where is the good here? And if there's not much good how can we make this good? How can we create it and make it good?

Right and, and that that was harder to come by for me. And I noticed that it was it was not just something to be ignored. I was like there's something major going on within me. And I started suspecting that maybe I was going through perimenopause, I'm 46 years old. In my mid 40s.

I've noticed different fluctuations here and there. Since being 40. And you know being right there in the mid 40s. It's time to start looking at that stuff, right? So. So as my mood shifted as things shifted, I wasn't sure what it was, I wasn't sure if it was just life catching up with me or if it was perimenopause. Now after after being here for several months and getting everything checked out, I think it was a little bit of both.

But in order to get there, I had to pause I had to slow down and really look at my life and say, you know, I am intentionally going to slow down so I can figure out what's going on. So I booked an appointment with my care provider to check all the things my hormones, my adrenals my cortisol levels, my thyroid, my vitamins, like she checked everything. And sure enough, I'm a bit low in progesterone and testosterone.

And I also decided that was like, okay, that's not enough. I'm gonna I'm gonna go back to my therapist, and do some EMDR therapy for some triggers that had been coming up. And I'm so grateful that I'm so grateful to my past self, that I knew immediately that something was not right. Something was was was different. You know, this wasn't just normal day to day mindset shifts that I needed to work through.

My body was telling me something, you know, and 10 years ago, I would have pushed this off for years. This time I just said no, I'm going to get through this. I trust myself. I repeated that line to myself over and over. I trust myself to figure out this time of my life.

You know, I'm I'm prioritizing myself care, I'm listening to my care provider, I'm, you know, cutting a few things out of my schedule, so that I can make time for myself. And because of that I haven't been burnt out instead, through it all, I've, I've actually created some new things, I've created this new aspect of coaching that I am absolutely in love with, and that that's really giving so many more people the opportunity to heal their relationships, and you know, not only with their partners, but with themselves too. So that's number one, right? If you are feeling a bit burned out, the way to prevent that from getting worse is to hit pause on something and say, Where do I need to take care of myself? Right?

Where can i What can I let go of what can I temporarily pause so that I can care for my for myself more. The second thing that hitting pause has done for me, is to really help me to make clearer decisions. Sometimes we can spin in confusion, so much on making decisions and taking time to slow down really enables us to make more thoughtful and deliberate decisions, which I honestly believe leads to better and quicker outcomes in our lives.

So if we're intentionally slowing down, we have to ask ourselves, Am I making this decision? For the good of the whole? For the good of myself? Or am I making this decision just to please someone else? So that I don't feel bad? Right?

So how many times do we do that, as women? Say yes to a decision or, you know, make a decision based on whether or not we're going to feel guilty because someone else wants us to write. So I really had to slow down and say, You know what, this is a time to slow down, it's a time to care for myself making this decision, is it going to be wise for that?

Or is it not going to be and it really helps me prioritize, and know how to make decisions for the good of the whole. So when our overall goal is to slow down our decisions on these matters become crystal clear.

And the more you say no to people pleasing, and yes to what is really needed, you are going to feel less resentful, and really more open to connection in your relationships. And this brings me to the third thing that has improved since hitting the pause button. When you hit the pause button, your relationships improve.

Slowing down gives us the opportunity to connect with our loved ones more, it gives us the opportunity to to pause when we're feeling resentful and say, Well, what do I need here? What do we need here?

Right? Let me pay attention to my irritation to my frustration to my, my, my, you know, even anger at times, let me pay attention to it, and understand it so that we can work through it. Pausing gives you an opportunity to actually deal with the things in your relationship that you need to deal with. So you know, we have more time, even to get to know our partners to get to know each other, and to say, hey, tell me more about that thing that you're interested in,

I want to hear what you're saying, I want to understand your point of view, right, we have more time to slow down and do that we also have more time to share our feelings when we hit the pause button on something, you know, and when we the more we can share and be vulnerable, the more we're going to feel seen and heard as well.

And then the last thing number four, actually came as a surprise to me this month, I was not expecting this at all. I actually had had put off this aspect of my life for a little bit. I said no, it's not the time for for creativity. But creativity has been sparked in me by slowing down. And so So hitting the pause button number four is that it improves our creativity, you know, by allowing that space in our lives, right? It's almost like we're allowing ourselves to breathe and just do nothing.

When my therapist, one of the first thing she said to me was, you know it sounds like you've been really busy creating a lot of new things and doing so many things for your business and and doing so many things for your family and all the things and lots of projects and things juggling, and she said when's the last time you just sat down and had some tea and I said well I sit down every morning and have tea and at work coffee and and I journal No.

And she said, No, no, no. She was like journaling for you is like something like that, that you that you do intentionally that like that you feel like it's necessary that you feel that you feel inspired by Yes.

But I just want you to sit down and have some tea and do nothing. I was like, Oh, you mean just like sit and stare at the fire or sit and stare at the sun? And she was like, yes. So so I took her advice. And I said, Okay, I'm gonna just sit and do nothing for a while. And, and you know, and when I did, what happened? My creative brain started flourishing. I started, I started feeling inspired again, I started having new and fresh ideas, right. And, you know, so in my time away from the podcast, I actually took a writing workshop and, and I have reignited a writing passion, a passion for writing that my fifth grade teacher pointed out, but you know, you get to teenagehood. And then you stop writing. And then you let that you know that passion lie dormant. And that's kind of what I did for for writing.

Besides my news newsletters, right, I write my newsletters, I write in my journal, I'm, you know, I'm a writer at heart, but like to explore the idea of writing a book or writing for the fun of it, I haven't done that, until, you know, this time of my life, when I said, I'm hitting the pause button.

So now I'm finding more joy and freedom in writing, just for the fun of it than I ever have before. So, you know, all of that to say, like, these four things have have been a catalyst for for just growth in me and I had to slow down in order to make space for them. So my encouragement to you is that if you feel stunted creatively, if you feel burned out, if you're feeling like your relationships, like you're always missing each other, if you're feeling any of those things, I would just encourage you to ask yourself, What can I pause in life right now?

What can you let go of, you know, it might be an aspect of your business like I did. Or it might be telling your kids that you know what, guys, there's not, there's not going to be as many after school activities for a few months, we're gonna hit the pause on all the going, right, or it might be letting go of perfectionism in an area, it might be you know, you might be be someone who spends like hours and hours doing something until it's perfect. And maybe the thing you need to let go is of is, you know, creating that a level work and be okay with a C plus level work, right?

Or it might be you know, it might be simply, you know, you asking for help more right now, for your own self so that you can create more time and space for yourself. So what is one small or big thing in your life that you can take a break from? It'll serve you well, I know it will.

You know, I read a friend's post about a year ago that said, she she said something like perimenopause was her opportunity to really get to know herself, and to radically accept and care for herself on a whole new level. And she said it was it was her opportunity to really see her own beauty and worth of just being and not doing. And you don't hear women saying that, that very often. Right?

That, you know, there is beauty and just being there's beauty, and not doing all the time. So when I when I started going through my own emotional and physical struggles last year, her words rang in my ears, and I said, Okay, this is my time. This is my time to pause, to reflect, to discover what I need and want and go get it.

Even if that's just sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, right? With no journal and and with nothing. With no mindset work to do right with nothing was nothing to do for anyone to just sit and be. And in order to do that I had to let the podcast go for a while. I had to let go of social media. I had to say it's fine that I only post once every week or two right?

And I had to let go of those things in order for me to begin my own journey through perimenopause. So if you're one of the people that is that has stuck with me by reading my newsletters and you've kept up with me over the last six months.

I just want to give you like a huge Virtual hug right now and say thank you, and I'm just so honored and glad to be back in your earbuds as you do the laundry or cook dinner and and blasting through your car speakers as you drive to work or going on a walk with you in the rain or this the sunshine. And I'm thrilled to be back.

So if you're going through something big right now, whether it's raising kids or you're affected by the economy as so many are or if if you're going through a midlife awakening, also known as perimenopause, like I am, I just encourage you to trust yourself to get through this, right.

Just like I told myself in the beginning, when I realized something was going on, that I needed to really seek help for. I said, I trust myself to figure this out. I trust myself to get through this right, I encourage you to adopt that sentence with whatever you're going through, and then make the decision to do everything in your power to radically care for yourself in every way possible.

Before I end this episode, I do want to tell you what I have been creating and doing over the past four months instead of the podcast. So since I've taken a break from the podcast, I've had the space to create an incredible community inside of the stoked marriage mastermind. I've been creating the foundational program, and it is complete.

Well, I'll keep adding to it and everything but like that foundational program is complete inside stoked right now are, you know, are so many classes that when you join, you can, you can get started healing your relationship immediately. And some of those things are the relationship series, where you're going to learn everything from how to connect with your partner's heart, to how to communicate and how to regulate your nervous system with and without your partner.

There are goal setting workshops in there. There's even a six week sexual intimacy series in there. All of these classes have workbooks, to guide you through each step to creating a married life, from your relationship to your lifestyle that you're stoked to be in. Right. And I look at that word stoked.

And you know, at the beginning, like when I first like created my website, and the stoked marriage mastermind, I was so excited about it. And then a few minutes months later, Iwas like, I'm having all this emotional drama, I feel anything but stoked, right? When you think of the word stoked you think excited, happy, you know, like, fulfilled all of these things. And I was feeling anything but that.

And I had to remind myself why I chose the word stoked. I chose the word stoked for two reasons. Because we are creating a life and a relationship that we are happy and joyful and stoked to be in. But there are going to be those times those times when we're climbing some mountain, or you know, feel like we've fallen down a hill and we have to climb our way back out that we're not going to feel that excitement that the word stoked means.

And that's when we have to know how to use the second meaning of the word, which is like stoking a fire, feeding a fire growing a fire, we have to learn how to tap into that on those other times right of knowing, hey, I got this, I know how to give this fire oxygen, I know how to build this backup, I know how to take care of this fire that is my soul and heal it and grow it again.

Right. So either we're creating marriages and lives that we're stoked to be in. And we're doing that the creation of it is the verb, right, the action part we are stoking the flames to get there. And that's what we do in the membership as well.

We we are actively you know, with these classes and the the workbooks that take you through your own journey of healing. That is what we're doing in that mastermind. Plus, I go in there a couple times a week and coach the members for when they get stuck, I coach them and help them get unstuck so that they can continue to make progress.

Right. So the past six months of creating this, this heart driven, passionate community has been a pure joy and just an honest privilege to to be a part of this community and to help create this community.

So many women are healing their relationships and and you know me by now they're not just healing their relationships with their partners, their healing their relationships with themselves and their children and their relationships with their minds and bodies.

And they're doing it in committee. In a day, they're supporting each other, like the beautiful, caring, Soul driven women that they are. And I'm just seriously so impressed by by the women in that community. You know, it's not just me that's creating this community.

It's, it's them, it's their intention and their desire to be all in for what they signed up for. So if you are curious about Stokes, if you're like me, I wonder if that that membership is for me, if it would help me in my relationship in my life, I want you to know that I am opening the doors again to the stoked marriage mastermind on March 29.

Right now, the doors are closed, you cannot get in, you can join the waitlist, but you can not get in. But I am opening the doors again on March 29. That's just two weeks away from when this episode airs. So I want you to join us, I want to invite you right now to join us in there. But I want to give you a little taste of what it's like before you join.

So on March 25, I'm offering a free five day marriage makeover challenge, I'm going to share with you the four top skills to make over your marriage. And I will coach you after those classes when you get stuck. This is very similar to what I do in the stoked marriage mastermind.

When I teach a class or when I teach a workshop, I stay on after and I coach people or we come on a few days later and we coach on on you know any questions or any struggles that come up on any area in life. So you're gonna get a taste of that, in this five day marriage makeover challenge. And I will also save time in that in that five days to show you the behind the scenes in Stoke. So if you want to make over your marriage in five days, and get a taste of what it's like to be in the Stoke community, I want you to join us.

Now you will need to register for this because it is not open to the public. You can sign up at Rachel Cunningham coaching.com forward slash challenge. Again, that's Rachel spelled with an AE L. Cunningham coaching.com forward slash challenge.

So go sign up right now. I recently sent out an anonymous survey to the stoked members to check in with them and just see how they felt about stoked to get the vibe to you know, to give them permission to complain about anything or to say hey, change this or, or I love this and I I received so many incredible responses. And I'm going to share them with you over the next few weeks in my in my newsletter and on the podcast.

But I want to give you some of the answers from one member. She said my life has improved since joining stoked because I don't feel so alone anymore, or that our problems are unique. I'm learning to stick up for myself and I am also learning to accept and understand my partner for who he is. Without just arguing with him.

She said my favorite thing about stoked is the community of amazing women who support each other, the weekly coaching sessions with Rachel where you can just drop in if it works for you. Rachel genuinely is invested in all of us. And you can tell because she doesn't ask you to re explain your problems. Each time you get coached by her. I love that.

And when asked what she would tell others who are on the fence about joining stoked, she said, jump in and just do it. It's the best money I have ever done for myself. It's better than a haircut, a massage, etc.

For me, the feeling that I am not alone and learning that I am stronger than I think I am are two major things I've received from joining stoked stronger than she thinks she is I I just I love that.

So if you are on the fence, I encourage you to join on March 29 when the doors open. But to begin, start with the free marriage makeover challenge on March 25. Again, you can sign up at Rachel Cunningham coaching.com forward slash challenge. All right, I will see you guys in just a few weeks on that challenge.

Enjoy the Show?