No doubt about it, the physical and emotional symptoms of Menopause can cause a great deal of stress for women. But there are ways to manage and alleviate some of the tension and anxiety that can surround this time of your life.
Q. Why do I feel so stressed out? Is this normal?
A. If you are going through Menopause and feeling stressed out, you have lots of company. Hormone fluctuations and uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, joint pain and more can disrupt your life and sense of well-being. Women may also have to simultaneously care for aging parents and teenage children as well as have to deal with other personal or family issues such as college planning for their kids while trying to save for retirement, career changes, and more.
Q. Is this stress dangerous and does it affect my health?
A. Some stress is normal, but too much chronic stress can cause numerous physical problems including gastrointestinal conditions, headaches, anxiety attacks and depression. Research has shown that chronic stress can increase blood pressure as well as put strain on the immune system, making a person more susceptible to illness and infections. Stress can also great diminish your quality of life, work performance and relationships.
Q. How can I reduce stress?
A. Fortunately there are many ways to reduce stress naturally:
• Exercise is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and has lots of benefits beyond stress reduction. Whether you ride a bike, take a yoga class or go for walks, exercise can release the "feel good" hormones in your brain while building muscle and improving cardiovascular health.
• Eat well. Nutrition plays such an important role in both our bodies and our minds. Build up your immunity and your bone health by consuming three healthy meals daily, filled with lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy products and whole grains. If hot flashes and night sweats are problems, avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol. Try to stay away from over processed foods, sugars, white flour and products that contain empty calories like soda.
• Relax. Relaxation strategies can help relieve anxiety and assist in stress and anger management. There are many books, CDs and DVDs available that can teach you techniques such as positive thinking, deep breathing and meditation.
• Get enough sleep. A good night sleep of 6 – 9 hours is essential for good mental and physical functioning. Since fluctuating hormones can wreak havoc on your sleep quality, it is important to do everything you can to encourage adequate and refreshing shut eye. Keep your room dark and quiet, avoid consuming caffeine or sugar, keep a fan on to prevent night sweats, exercise during the day and try relaxation techniques. Drinking warm milk or eating a snack of tryptophan-rich foods like turkey or peanut butter before bedtime may also help promote sleep. Cigarettes should be avoided since they contain the stimulant nicotine which disrupts sleep. Smokers can also wake up at night because they may actually experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms while sleeping. Yet another reason to quit for good.
• Talk. Discussing your concerns with family and friends can be cathartic. You may want to also consider speaking with a therapist or psychologist. These professionals can offer you objective guidance as well as give you tips and strategies on how to manage your stress.
At Last Naturals specializes in helping women manage Menopause naturally. Browse our Menopause relief products or, if you have any questions, call us at 1-800-LAST-123 (1-800-527-8123).