50% of the world’s population will go through the menopause at some point in their lives, and yet due to a lack of understanding and embarrassment around the symptoms, talking about the menopause remains a taboo.
However, this is slowly changing thanks to women speaking out in the media about the impact menopause had on them. Furthermore, October marks World Menopause Month with World Menopause Day taking place on 18th October. The theme for 2022 is cognition and mental health so here are some tips on how to navigate certain symptoms of the menopause and boost your mental health.
Fatigue and poor sleep
Menopausal fatigue is very similar to the fatigue felt in the first trimester of pregnancy - feeling exhausted throughout the day and often needing a nap in the afternoon. This is often compounded by poor sleep where your sleep is often interrupted (by needing the loo) or you sleep very lightly and are easily disturbed.
A good night sleep is vital for not only our mental health but body too. Good sleep hygiene and routine can help break the fatigue cycle. Having screen free time 30 minutes before bed, going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday and having a cool, dark room free from distractions can help improve your sleep.
Changes to body shape
During the perimenopause, your body tries to conserve oestrogen so lays down more fat around the abdomen (as fat cells can produce a very weak form of oestrogen). This means that women can often gain weight around their core. These changes to your body can have a knock on effect to your mental health too.
Eating a varied diet with plenty of fresh ingredients and avoiding processed food will help maintain a healthy body. Incorporating food rich in Omega 3 essential fats, such as oily fish, nuts and leafy green vegetables can help protect you against low mood.
Alcohol is a depressant and affects your mood, thoughts and feelings so reducing your intake will also help your mood.
Muscle and joint pains
This is so common and so often gets misdiagnosed as arthritis or muscle sprains. These pains can range from feeling stiff when turning in bed and struggling to “get going” in the morning, to having very painful joints which mimics arthritic pain.
Exercise produces endorphins – hormones that relieve pain, reduce stress and improve mood. Win, win, win! Exercise doesn’t have to be high intensity either, yoga, tai-chi or a gentle walk around the park all counts! All movement, is good movement.
Low mood and anxiety
Feeling low and flat, loss of joy and interest in things, panic attacks, mood swings, feeling tearful or frustrated to the point of rage (in some women), or crippling anxiety stopping you from leaving your home are all common feelings in the menopause.
Making time for you by spending it doing the things you love can help you feel better. Whether it be reading a book, having lunch with a friend or going out for a massage, add “me-time” to your to-do list and stick to it.
Going through the menopause can be hard on your mental health sometimes, so this World Menopause Month focus on you to help boost your mental wellbeing.
If you would like further information about how your body is changing through your menopause, or would like Menopausal MOT to help you laugh, book in with Róisín today.
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