Gerry Kelly is a true Second Springer!
Aisling discusses menopause and the latest exciting developments at My Second Spring with Gerry Kelly on LMFM's Late Lunch.
Here's a transcript of the interveiw
Aisling Grimley talks to Gerry Kelly on the Late Lunch on LMFM_260216
Speaker 1: 9831100
Gerry: A couple of years ago I met my next guest for the first time. She's the founder of My Second Spring (www.mysecondspring.ie) and I'm delighted to welcome back to Late Lunch, Aisling Grimley. Aisling, great to see you again.
Aisling: Love to see you, too, Jerry. Delighted to be here.
Gerry: And you're the picture of health and looking well and everything besides. Will you remind them out there, My Second spring. What's it all about? Why did you start it out?
Aisling: So I set it up in 2013 because I find myself at 48 with a whole lot of peculiar symptoms going on which felt very hormonal. Initially I thought that those are risk, as I say, a risk that I might be pregnant but I have four lovely daughters. And I didn't, it wasn't the right thing for me at that time.
So I looked into the hormones, realized I wasn't pregnant and then thought, “What else would be creating hormonal change in my 40's?” And I was quite surprise to realize that it was probably the menopause. So I welcomed the menopause with open arms and curiosity.
But then I realized that there was no Irish website. And the resources that I was reading were generally in the UK or in the US and they were also very negative, very downbeat, with a lot of women pulling their hair out. And you know, it can be very challenging time.
But I'd also store this idea that in China they call this a Second Spring. So there are a lot of challenges going on but definitely I think it's definitely an opportunity for women. And so, call the website My Second Spring because of this notion of finding a new voice for ourselves and kind of a sense of new purpose and new beginnings.
Gerry: People came to in the [00:01:35], ladies came through [00:01:37] and you were more than surprised yourself. These things since 2013 in the autumn has taken real legs and you get an awful a lot of people. I was just looking this morning, you have a busy website.
Aisling: Yes, it's really busy. And it's been fantastic just to get that. And I realized that there are women out there who are feeling very isolated and are looking for support. And it's interesting as well that the range, the reach of the website – like for something before that I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. So I did my digital marketing course.
And it's just incredible to realize that from my laptop in the kitchen, I'm reaching women all around the world who are looking for information, primarily information and also the website offers inspiration. So it's those two things.
But you know what? The other I was looking at somebody on there in Chattanooga in the US - So literally all over the States and Canada and New Zealand but my main readership is in Ireland.
Gerry: Here in Ireland as well. Now, I supposed the last time, when we were finishing up, I said, “Where does this go Aisling? How are you going to move this along?”
I’m excited for you, Vichy. Everybody knows Vichy. They are big international brand and now have come board with you.
Aisling: Yes. So, Vichy got in contact to create a partnership. And it's been fantastic because they have developed a menopause skin care range so I've gone on a little tour, as you actually predicted Jerry that this might happen. And so I've been, we've been to Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway speaking to derma advisers and pharmacies. So my role was to talk to them about the menopause.
And for many of these women, like they range in age from 20's to 70's, it was the first time that I've ever been in a room talking about menopause. So it is genuinely creating dialogue. So it's just a matter of creating information as well and educating women and I think it's really important that we know about menopause because a lot of the time we have our eyes and ears closed and we don't want to look that far ahead.
And I think as it's shown in this Vichy research, a lot of women expect menopause to happen a lot later than it actually happens. Whereas, I've discovered through my research that really menopause most of our symptoms, so menopause itself, on average takes place at 52.
Menopause is defined as one year of having no periods. But in fact a lot of our symptoms take place four to eight years before that time. So a lot of the time we don't really know what's going on. So we're experiencing, as I was, kind of mad, irritability or low mood, different symptoms that feel very hormonal but you're not really sure what they are.
So I think women find it helpful to know, to give some kind of a framework to this and try to understand ourselves on what we are going through and why.
So that's the thing that I get back a lot from women. It’s like, “Thank God, I normal and I feel less daunted by knowing what's ahead from younger women.”
Gerry: So that's one of the big findings of this Vichy research saying that it starts earlier than people think and ladies thought that it was, I think from mid to late 50's but you were saying about 51, 52.
Aisling: That is, and often when we hit menopause, we're over the worst. I mean, we do often have symptoms that carry on beyond the final cessation of periods. But a lot of the time, it's a hundred percent of woman get menopause. It's a natural transition. But a lot of the time our bodies are trying to make those adjustments. And if we have been living quite hard stressful lives, it's more difficult for the natural things to happen.
We may be depleted nutritionally. It can be a time of a lot of adjustments. And that's what's confusing about it because no woman has the same experience with menopause. It's very varied and very variable.
Jerry: And the other thing is that seven out of ten, it's an incredibly high number, didn't know. You mentioned, “What's happening to me, how am I feeling, what's happening?” They didn't realize, didn't know.
Aisling: Yes. And I'll put my hands up, I'm one of them.
Jerry: You were one of them, yes.
Aisling: Yes. So you don't know. You kind of thinking, there's definitely something up but you don't want to blame everything on hormones either. And also there can be a lot going at mid-life. You can be caught between, you know women are looking after teenagers; they’re also sandwiched between elderly parents. There’s just different stuff happening, maybe difference in relationships. And so it can be – it’s hard to decipher which bit is which.
But I think it's definitely helpful to understand that it could be some of the symptoms could be to do with menopause, particularly the psychological ones that are least known.
You know the ones that we all hear about are hot flushes and night sweats. But psychologically that can be anxiety, kind of low grade nervousness; insomnia's a big one and you know how you lose your perspective when you're not sleeping properly.
So it means that women can try and get help with these individual symptoms if they understand what's going on, if you have a framework for it.
Gerry: You have a five step plan.
Aisling: Yes. Well, I think, I find it very worthwhile to – and I think it's really important for women in their 40's to know what's ahead. Because if we're physically and mentally as healthy as we can be, obviously there's always room for improvement, it will definitely, we’ll try to have an easier time of menopause.
So the five things. The first one is around nutrition. A lot of us are nutritionally depleted by the time we get to our late 40's because we've flying around the place doing all sorts of stuff. So it's definitely worth looking at nutrition, maybe having some blood tests. See if you're deficient on [00:07:01], deficient in B’s. Other people may be deficient in calcium. So it's definitely worth just having an assessment of your nutrition. And you know just trying to be as healthy as possible in your eating habits.
And there's a great incentive that we know – we may be thinking we might have some heart disease or cancer maybe on the horizon but we don't know for certain but we know for certain that menopause is going to take place. So it's worth investing in ourselves for that. So that's diet.
And the second one is exercise that no matter, we need to up our game because we do lose muscle mass as we age. So we need to become more active. We need to move more whether that’s dancing or swimming. Actually, weight bearing is important but to walking, just being on your feet while actually – swimming isn't the best example but moving more towards walking or doing some light weights just to build up, just to be toned really.
Then the next one is to try and look at our stress levels. Obviously you can't reduce stress and stress keeps us, taken over as well but to look at ways to reducing stress or trying to avoid stressful situations as possible. So maybe mindfulness or yoga whatever. It's a real time to find what you like, like trying to see what makes you tick.
And the next one is to find purpose in life because your purpose can change particularly if it's been very much focused, as it was for me around child rearing. So to look at whether you can find something.
Purpose is kind of something that's bigger than yourself, maybe your community, family, some kind of involvement where you're giving something back gives you great sense of purpose in life. And again, it's very individual and there's lots of options.
And the last one then is passion. So looking for something that makes you feel good about yourself, that makes you happy, something that you’re good at, something that gives you sparkle because I think it's really important that we stay engage and interested and interesting if possible. It can be a lot of fun as well. You can look up some hobbies that you've kind of have left behind on the way.
But I think it's really important that we stay connected as well to family and friends because connection will actually mind our brains, which has very [00:09:14]. Being connected is another way of warding off dementia and so human relationships are very important for us as we head on to second half of life.
Gerry: So nutrition and exercise, stress, purpose and passion are the five keys.
Aisling: I think so.
Gerry: To make sure your second spring blossoms into a full summer.
Aisling: Absolutely. The full summer, we’ll go for the full summer.
Gerry: If they want to find out more your website again is www.mysecondspring.ie.
Aisling: That's right.
Jerry: All the information is there. The findings from Vichy as well is there for you and it's rattling on; that is certainly it for Aisling Grimley. Thank you for dropping in to me today. I really do appreciate you for a catch up and well done to your continued success.
Aisling: Thank you very much Jerry for all your support. You've been great second springer yourself.
Gerry: There you go. I have purpose in my day today and passion after that remark. Aisling thanks a million. Thank you for joining me. Wish you well. That's it on Late Lunch for another week. I want to say a big thank you.