“What can you tell me about menopause and house cleaning when you just don’t care? I know I should clean my space, but since menopause, I’ve got hot flashes, low energy and I’m always fatigued.
With menopause, I don’t feel like cleaning. My hormones are out of whack, I have weight gain and I’m too exhausted to clean my messy house. I think I need someone to come clean with me.
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru cites Mom Syndrome and gives tips to create new habits that trigger a sense of accomplishment.
You don’t have to do speed cleaning or spring cleaning, just put systems in place that serve you through the change.
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Listen: Menopause and House Cleaning When You Don’t Care
Watch: Menopause and House Cleaning When You Don’t Care
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: Menopause and House Cleaning When You Don’t Care
“Angela, I’m going through menopause and I wake up in the morning and I don’t even want to get out of bed. And so, cleaning my house is this huge extra task that I don’t feel like I’m up for. What do I do?”
Answer: Menopause Makes You Want to Pause
This is an excellent question. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with lots and lots of women, some of which are also going through menopause.
Okay, so there are a couple of things that we know to be true about menopause and house cleaning. Cleaning doesn’t get more fun as you get older.
At the beginning your reproductive years as a teenager, your hormones completely go out of whack. And you spend your adult life learning to deal with it. At the end of your reproductive years, usually about a year after that, you go through what we know as menopause. Now you have dwindling hormones and dwindling energy.
In Your Youth, You Can Plow Through Tough Days
Now, as you go through menopause, all the things that transpired in the early stages of your youth kind of dwindle down and all your hormones change. The estrogen and the progesterone diminish in your body. So, lots of things start to happen to your body that did not happen before.
Now, this doesn’t have so much to do with house cleaning as it does to do with how you feel. And how you feel affects your ability to clean house and keep on top of other household chores.
Symptoms of Menopause Include
There are menopause symptoms and signs that your body is changing. Like your fingernails will get brittle and they will feel like they’re cracking. Your skin will dry out when you need lots more moisturizer. Your body is not producing the same youthful glow that you had when you were young and all your hormones were in effect. Another thing is that your hair will start to thin and maybe even fall out. So, there are a bunch of body changes that your body goes through.
You wake up in the morning tired and feeling worn out even before the day begins. So, it’s easy to wake up in the morning fatigued and exhausted. Along with that, there are also hot flashes and night sweats. And just a bunch of other things that happen like weight gain. It’s just not a fun time for most women.
Menopause Triggers Mental Exhaustion
Many women will wake up in the morning and they just feel like, “Whoa, I’ve spent my whole life caring for other people. It’s time for me.”
Instead of jumping out of bed and feeling vivacious and active, you just want to roll over and pull the covers back over your head and not even get up.
When you do get out of bed, there’s no incentive to pick up after yourself or to clean house.
Often, you’ve raised children and you’ve gone through a whole life of caring for other people. We call it Mom Syndrome, where you take care of everyone else first, but you never take care of you.
Women Talk Themselves Out of Self Care
Menopause hits and you’re like, “Why should I even clean the house? There’s no one here to notice my efforts or thank me.” It’s a thankless job being on the other end of raising your kids.
So, here you are, lethargic, you have hot flashes, don’t feel well, and then you get up. And you have this messy bed that just takes so much energy to make. Make it anyway.
All, so this is the first task of the morning. Not just for menopausal women but women and men everywhere. When you get up in the morning and make your bed it sets the tone for the day.
Your Environment Affects the Way You Feel
Sure, you feel like crap, but your bed looks amazing. You just woke up and already you’ve accomplished something – and you have a tidy bed to prove it. This accomplishment is the first gift that you give yourself at the top of the day.
Now that you’ve made your bed, you’ve created a great daily habit. And every time you walk back through your bedroom you’re not tempted to go back to bed.
And you may take a nap in the afternoon – but when you get up – make your bed again. It only takes a minute. (Note: A nap in the afternoon is common for menopausal women.)
Create Supportive Habits to Pull You Through
Once you’ve made your bed in the morning, jump in the shower.
Don’t think about it and don’t rationalize your way out of it. Don’t put it off until later. It is so easy to drift into 11, 12, 1 o’clock in the afternoon and not take a shower, or get dressed.
Do the small things that add value to your life. The cumulative effect will make you feel better.
Get dressed, do your hair and put your makeup on.
Do it for You – if No One Else
I know that sounds so overwhelming and so exhausting for many people that are going through menopause. But the reality is this. Every time you use the facilities during the day you walk past that bathroom mirror.
If you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and you look unkempt, it etches a feeling of despair into your psyche.
If you look like a ragamuffin, messy hair, no makeup, and you look exhausted – it’s hard to trick yourself into feeling like a million bucks.
Give yourself a boost by putting forth the impossible effort of getting dressed at the top of the day when you have the most amount of energy. The boost will pull you through the day.
Menopause is Tough Enough Without Making Excuses
Tired and worn out Menopausal women become reclusive. It’s just too much trouble to go out and socialize. Even running routine errands can be a chore. And if you haven’t showered and you’re not dressed – that’s just another excuse to stay at home. Getting ready to go out then seems like a huge ordeal.
But if you’re up and dressed, looking mighty fine and you catch a whim to run out – you’re ready to go. Go before you get tired again and change your mind.
Create Habits Now That Serve You
All right. So, when it comes to house cleaning, there are a lot of little tasks that you can get in the habit of doing right now. For example, let’s suppose you eat a bowl of soup.
When you’re done eating, wash the bowl. Rinse it and put it in the dish drainer. Bam! You’re done.
But if you set it on the counter, now the soup dries, andnd flies get in the bowl. And when you try to wash it, the stuff is stuck on the inside. And you have to soak the bowl and scrub it out with soap and a scrubby. The caked-on food creates extra work for you later.
The later work is putting the clean dry bowl away, not soaking and scrubbing.
Menopause is a Time to Do Less Not More Work
So, get in the habit and look around your house of little things you can do as you go that will streamline your effort. Then doing those things becomes second nature to you. Then when you hit this weird phase of your life, everything doesn’t just crumble because you have no systems in place.
Create systems that serve you. And do it for you because you deserve it.
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Resources For This Episode
Menopause Confidential: A Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Thriving Through Midlife – https://amzn.to/2GVi0Jf
Mayo Clinic The Menopause Solution: A doctor’s guide to relieving hot flashes, enjoying better sex, sleeping well, controlling your weight, and being happy! – https://amzn.to/2JiB2b
The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change – https://amzn.to/2GBkzx0
Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause – https://amzn.to/2JjHMoV
Menopause: Your Management Your Way … Now and for the Rest of Your Life – https://amzn.to/2JjRpEh
The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back! – https://amzn.to/2IuSvvs
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