You’re not alone if the mere mention of the word menopause makes you anxious. Every woman goes through it and many suffer alone through the process. Menopause is just not openly discussed and if it is, it’s not in a positive manner. According to studies, women who have preconceived notions about the horrors of menopause report more severe symptoms than women who perceive the experience as a positive or normal part of life. We will talk about my five keys to menopausal stress relief.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, women with the highest levels of anxiety throughout menopause had five times as frequent hot flashes compared to women who had a positive outlook on menopause. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you are causing your hot flashes, but do understand there is a strong mind/body connection. I see it all the time in my acupuncture practice. The mind is a powerful thing. And, if you’re experiencing increased anxiety with menopause, there is help for you. Managing your stress is the first step to lowering your anxiety which in turn, will help all aspects of menopausal symptoms.
Here are my 5 simple keys to stress relief
#1: Call a Friend
When dealing with so much stress and anxiety, it helps to be able to share your feelings and emotions with a close friend. Find a companion with whom you can share your worries without judgement. Sharing your concerns and sentiments with your friend can help ease anxiety and help you gather insights and advice from them. A problem shared is a problem halved, as the proverb goes.
If you don’t have a friend you who is non-judgemental or feel like you can trust, then it might be worth seeking some counseling to support you. I love cognitive behavior therapy.
Calling a friend who can make you laugh is even better. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. The mere notion of laughing, according to researchers, helps manage stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol levels that are consistently high have been related to weight gain, sadness, exhaustion, and heart disease. So being able to laugh and manage cortisol levels in your body, both provide short and long-term health benefits.
There are other options for lowering your cortisol levels such as herbal supplements. If you feel like that might help you, please contact me as I have several very effective formulas.
#2: Get Your Heart Pumping
Working out and exercising increases your heart rate and oxygen circulation, which helps to relieve stress. Running, swimming, and dancing are all great ways to relieve stress. All of these activities will get your heart racing and provide an excellent workout. But don’t be disheartened if it feels difficult or if you’re out of shape! Start with a brisk walk or just do something for 10 minutes twice a day to work up your strength. Also, remember to breathe only through your nose while exercising as it will increase the oxygen in your blood and improve your endurance.
Good workouts don’t have to be stressful or difficult. The most important thing is that you’re having fun and being consistent. Try to plan your exercises to have at least 150 minutes every week. A good starting point is to have a 30-minute walk every day, or a 15-minute walk twice a day.
Even exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can help alleviate sadness and anxiety symptoms. Researchers studied nearly 400 peri-menopausal and menopausal women and discovered that those who walked at a moderate pace daily reported less stress than those who did not exercise at all.
#3: Distract Yourself
Sometimes the best way to de-stress is to not think about it at all. Have you ever noticed how time flies when you’re having fun? Well, this is the same idea. Being occupied or absorbed in some activity can take your mind off your anxiety and other symptoms.
One of the best ways to reduce menopause symptoms such as impatience, moodiness, and anxiety is by doing something you enjoy. It truly is the best time to get into different hobbies you have always wanted to try, whether it’s cooking, baking, gardening, knitting, sewing, or DIY. Be open to discovering what might bring you joy.
Spending time doing activities you enjoy will also help to divert your attention away from unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, making your menopause symptoms appear to be less severe. When you focus your attention on something it becomes your dominant thought. So you have a choice, you can focus on something pleasant or something negative. And your body will respond to the energy you choose.
#4 Self Care Day
Self-care is crucial throughout menopause as it helps you enhance your physical and emotional health. Most women experience physical changes in their body, and it can be difficult to accept. Taking the time to look after and care for yourself is extremely important and beneficial. Most women spend much of their life caring for someone or even an beloved pet. Self care is usually put on the back burner in the process. Always remember the analogy of the oxygen mask on an airplane. Put yours on first before helping anyone else.
Need some ideas about how to care for yourself? When was the last time you had a massage? When you’re stressed and anxious, your muscles tend to be tense and cause more pain. Getting a massage will help you relax and unwind. Massage therapy also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol while increasing levels of the hormone oxytocin, which is linked to feelings of well-being.
Get some acupuncture. It not only keeps your body healthy, but it also relaxes your mind. Acupuncture decreases stress hormones like cortisol while increasing happy hormones like endorphins.
Sleep can be a real issue in menopause. Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms women experience during their menopause. Up to 72% of menopausal women and 61% of postmenopausal women have major sleep issues daily. Not only do these issues make you weary, but they also make you angry and stressed.
When you’re having trouble sleeping, try to set up a sleeping routine. On weekdays and weekends, stick to a consistent pattern, go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. This makes is it easier for your body clock to register and know that it’s time to sleep. Also, keep your room cool, dark, and quiet, and avoid sleeping with the TV on because the light inhibits melatonin production. You need melatonin to fall asleep. You might consider taking a supplement as melatonin production naturally decreases with age. Acupuncture can also be quite effective in aiding better sleep quality.
#5 Reclaim Your Sex Life
Let’s face it, sex can sometimes be less satisfying for menopausal women. The lining of the vaginal wall thins causing pain during sex and even urine leakage. What I have found to be most helpful with my patients is either an estradiol cream prescribed by your doctor or 2x Bezwecken hydration ovals suppositories with or without DHEA.
Orgasms can help you relax and decrease tension. Remember, you don’t need to have intercourse to experience an orgasm. Sex may change for you after menopause so experiment and find out what works best for you.
Your overall health and happiness make take a different path in menopause. Be open to what is going to help you feel better. Moving your body, staying hydrated, finding a passion and having joy are all the things that will support you in reducing stress and moving through menopause with ease. Remember, menopause doesn’t have to be miserable. If you need my help or would like to try one of my supportive menopausal programs, just go to www.HealthCoachDonna.com to connect with me.