Entering the menopause can be a stressful time in itself with hormonal changes and symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disruption. Everyday stresses in addition can really affect menopausal women and can actually worsen symptoms.
During the menopause, the adrenal gland (the place where our bodies produce the stress hormones) take some of the work of the ovaries and produce small amounts of progesterone and oestrogen. However when we’re stressed the adrenal glands can’t produce these hormones effectively when they are constantly pumping our stress hormones and the body will always choose survival over fertility.
So what can you do to reduce stress levels?
The age old question, but as you enter the menopause it really is the time when you need to think about your lifestyle and really taking care of your body inside and out. Make sure you make time for yourself every day, you’ll thank yourself for it, believe me.
Free and easy to do, if you’re feeling stressed stop, take check, and spend a few minutes concentrating on your breathing. A really simple technique is the four and eight breathing technique. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four, pause for a few seconds, now exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound, for a count of eight. Repeat this for several breaths.
Meditation may sound a bit far out there for you, but it doesn’t mean siting cross legged on a yoga chanting for hours. There are so many great guided meditation videos on YouTube which you can listen to that will just give you some time out from your daily routine. It can be as little as 5 minutes a day.
A lovely soak in a hot bath after a long day is a great way to relax and reflect, why not add some herbs like sage, not only is it great to drink in tea to help reduce menopausal symptoms, chuck a handful into your bath, or you can buy bath tea bags, or soaks – sit back, relax and feel the days’ stresses soothe away.
Balance your blood sugar levels
Take stock of what you’re eating and drinking and focus on keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. Although eating that bar of chocolate may reduce your stress levels in the short term, it plays havoc with your blood sugar levels which in turn releases cortisol one of the bodies fight or flight hormones. Which will actually make you feel more stressed.
Exercise is a great stress reliever as it produces endorphins, the body’s feel good hormone. It’s also great to keep active and can help to reduce menopausal symptoms. If you’d like some inspiration on what exercise you can do, pop over to my YouTube channel.
Talk about it
Get talking with family, friends or a healthcare professional or counsellor. Remember the saying a problem shared is a problem halved? Sometimes talking through what’s going on with someone else can make the problem seem less daunting or troubling. If you want to talk with likeminded women we’d love you to join our facebook group.
If you’d like advice on nutrition for the menopause or what exercises are suitable for you, why not get in contact with me, I’d be happy to help.