Let’s be honest.
Winter is hard.
Cold weather, short days, dry skin, seasonal depression — do you feel like all of these things are even harder to deal with as you go through menopause?
We feel you, and we’re here to help.
We’re exploring the all-too-familiar effects of menopause and how to deal with them during the winter months.
With a few daily habits and some effective products (we have that part covered for you), let’s make winter more enjoyable… and hopefully pass in the blink of an eye.
Hot Flashes + Night Sweats
While hot flashes might be more common in the summer, I’m sure you’ve noticed they can still happen in full force in the winter.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean hot flashes and night sweats suddenly become more bearable.
In fact, the indoor dry heat makes them tricky — and makes you reluctant to use a fan that’ll dry out your skin and sinuses even more.
Instead of reaching for the fan, try to:
- Take a stroll outdoors. Cool air and regular exercise can help keep your hot flashes at bay. The sunlight and movement will help improve your mood too!
- Wear layers, so you can peel them off when the heat starts to come on.
- Take a cool shower before bed.
- Regulate the temp inside your home.
- Reach for a cold compress.
- Use creams with wild yam regularly.
- Relax with deep breaths, meditation, or stretching.
Making a habit of these can help provide natural menopause relief and prepare you for the worst hot flash experiences.
Energy + Mood
While most of us can admit we’re moody year-round, there’s no doubt that winter brings on a mood of its own.
It’s not uncommon to feel seasonal affective disorder (SAD — yes, sad) in the fall and winter months. Nicknames include winter blues and seasonal depression.
Less daylight in the winter months can throw off your body’s internal clock and decrease your brain’s production of serotonin, the hormone that steadies our moods and feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
This is worsened by the fact that you tend to spend less time outside in the winter, so you get less sunlight altogether.
The effects of SAD include but aren’t limited to:
- (More) mood swings
- Daytime fatigue/low energy
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Weight gain
What a dream for someone already going through menopause!
If this sounds like you, just know you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 10% of the U.S. population has at least a mild case of SAD, and women are 4x more likely to be affected by it than men.
The good news is, you can start daily habits that’ll combat the effects of SAD:
- Light therapy: there are plenty of options for light therapy lamps. You’ll want to review recommendations for choosing a lamp. Verilux HappyLight lamps are a popular choice.
- Vitamin D: since you’re getting less sunlight, you might want to increase your intake of vitamin D through diet and supplements. Our diet advice guide has plenty of recommendations for foods high in vitamin D.
- Consistent sleep schedule: this will help in a lot of areas of life. Here are some general healthy sleep tips.
- Exercise: we know we’ve mentioned this one before. But really, this doesn’t have to be anything major, just something you enjoy. By the way, walking is so underrated.
- Time outdoors: again, sunlight and fresh air can work wonders.
Do you feel like the pounds just go on easier in the winter? Well, there’s actual science to back that feeling (beyond the SAD stuff we just talked about).
- Evolution actually urges us to gain weight in the winter. Apparently, our bodies fear starvation way more than weight gain, and winter brings on a natural instinct to avoid starvation. This can lead to overeating and weight gain.
- Less sunlight can increase our cells' effectiveness in storing fat, whereas more sunlight can shrink our fat cells — allowing for less fat storage.
- Lifestyle and psychological factors like less time outdoors, wearing layers and oversized clothes, and the holiday season all play into winter weight gain too.
Yes, we sound like a broken record (and you might hate to hear it), but a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are the solutions here!
Seriously, we want you to live a long, enjoyable life, and it is possible to find the right balance of health and fun to achieve that.
Check out our advice on easy-to-follow eating suggestions that can help manage your weight during menopause and the winter months, and aim for 30 minutes of (enjoyable) exercise per day.
You’ll thank us later.
Dryness is another area where menopause and winter do not mix well. Isn’t it crazy how much the change in weather and drop in humidity can affect your skin?
Of course, you’ll want to keep plenty of moisturizer on deck, but don’t forget — naturally-derived moisturizers are the way to go. Be careful not to lather your skin with synthetics and toxins.
Focus on moisturizers with Vitamin E, like our MSM Cream and Wild Yam Cream with Vitamin E. Not only will these provide moisture, but other ingredients like Wild Yam can help with mood regulation, hot flashes, and providing overall natural relief for menopause.
Changing seasons (literal seasons & seasons of life) can also lead to more headaches.
Our heads are in sync with atmospheric pressure, and this pressure changes with the seasons — especially with winter snowstorms. The cold, dry winter air can also lead to dehydration, another headache trigger.
One of the biggest tips for avoiding winter (and menopausal) headaches is… keeping a schedule. Your internal clock and your headache-prone brain love to stick to a schedule. Your schedule should be consistent when it comes to sleep, eating, and exercise.
On top of that, you’ll want to increase your water intake. Since the outdoor air and your indoor heating are drying out your body, you’re gonna need more water. Humidifiers can also help with replenishing a little moisture in your home.
Remember, staying ahead of the headache is your best form of defense.
At the End of the Day...
Self-care is key!
Investing in products that will ease your experience and focusing on healthy habits is your best bet when it comes to navigating every season of menopause.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the advice above or which ALN products are right for you.