Long-standing columnist Patsy Kensit talks life, living in the moment and surviving the menopause
I’m thrilled to be asked to guest edit NH! I’ve read the magazine for as long as I can remember, and every single issue teaches me something new.
For me, natural health is about stripping back all the messages we’re bombarded with every day and connecting to what our body needs. It’s about seeing what we eat, drink and how we live as sustenance, medicine and food and working in harmony with what nature intended to feel as good as we can.
My favourite holistic treatment at the moment is a good, old-fashion massage.
There’s one I love that that focuses on lymphatic drainage, which is vital as you get older to help encourage your circulation. I like to use very soothing, calming fragrances and essential oils and it really is my ‘me time’.
If I’m feeling a bit off par, I turn to sleep, sleep and more sleep.
I’ve done years of working all-hours and burning myself out on jobs, and I’ve learned that the most important thing I need is rest, and plenty of it. I find women especially tend to feel guilty when they stop, and it’s so damaging. Allowing ourselves a little silence and stillness is a gift to our minds and bodies. I know it’s a bit of a cliché but I really live by the idea that we should treat others as we ourselves want to be treated. It’s so easy to make time to appreciate the people in your life and it pays such dividends, not just for our relationships, but also ourselves. Kindness is good for the soul.
When I was going through the menopause, it was utterly horrendous.
I really felt like I’d lost myself for a few years. It was lonely at times and frightening and I’m so very grateful for the tidal wave of women now being honest about their experiences. It opened the conversation so at least we’re informed about the changes we’re going through and can advocate for a more considered way of life.
I’ve learnt that being honest and vulnerable when something is difficult is incredibly empowering. Hiding my struggle only gave other people room to make their own inferences about what was happening to me. When I started sharing what was really happening, other women responded to me with nothing but support and generosity. It changed my life.
In terms of coping mechanisms when times are tough, I use mantras and a lot of exercise to help.
I don’t always want to, but I run most days, which is great for improving mood, increasing serotonin, concentration and building bone density, which helps protect us older women against osteoporosis. This was particularly important as I was only in my early 40s and therefore at higher risk.
To those going through the menopause, my advice would be, speak up, always.
Have the conversation with friends, family, colleagues, and anyone who will engage with you. There are some amazing books available now and communities online, like my own, where women are so incredibly generous with their time and support to each other.
If I could give my younger self some advice it would be that kindness will always be better than ‘nice’.
We women are under such pressure to be sweet and lovely, but it’s much healthier to learn boundaries early on and stick to them, even if other people don’t always love them. When it comes to ageing, we’re all told we need to do this, that and the other. I think we should let one another get old however we like, and just celebrate how fortunate we are to be enjoying the journey. The hardest lesson I’ve learnt is that you cannot be everything to everyone, and not everyone will like you. I have wonderful, funny, kind friends and family in my life, but that wasn’t always the case and I’m glad I found them along the way.
2020 hasn’t been easy, I can certainly tell you that – and I’d imagine everyone feels the same.
It’s been a challenge to manage the rollercoaster of emotions that came with lockdown and particularly working in the entertainment industry which has been hard hit, it’s been difficult to see friends struggling. However, I’m grateful to be happy, healthy and well and to be able to say the same about my family. I think we’re more bonded in lots of ways; all those Zoom chats have brought us much closer together and I’m certainly grateful for their love and support. Hopefully 2021 will see some resolution to the current challenges facing the whole world. I really stripped back everything unnecessary this year and mostly spent time with my family. They’re my everything and as long as I have them, I have all I need.
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