Do you have tips for how to get by now that it seems my memory has gone bye-bye?

Temporary memory loss is a common symptom of menopause, so you’re right in looking for ways to just get by until it passes. Here are a few work-arounds, along with one or two new suggestions that might surprise you.

  • Use your smartphone. As soon as you get a deadline for a project, or make an appointment, or commit to something on a certain date, enter it into your phone and then set reminders a week, a day, or an hour before. (My personal preference is two days before and two hours before.) 
  • Keep a notebook with you so you can take notes about anything you need to remember later—people’s names, a file you promised to send someone, a book recommendation—and check it at the end of the day. (If you’re afraid you’ll forget, set a repeating reminder on your phone.)
  • Cut back on sugar. Research shows that sugar reduces the brain’s capacity to store short-term memories.
  • Practice mindfulness. Focusing on your breathing and being able to gently bring your attention back to the present when it wanders improves certain kinds of memory retention, according to research.
  • Exercise benefits many aspects of your health, including your cognition. Walking for 30 minutes five days a week will also help you destress, and stress can be an enemy of clear thinking and memory.
  • To remember medications, swallow your pride and buy one of those pill boxes that has different compartments for the days of the week. Once you get your memory back, you can pass it on to a perimenopausal friend.

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