Stressed out? Like Menopause wasn't bad enough.
Menopause and stress don't mix. I mean, our lives are stressful enough right? We have problems at work, unruly children and tetchy parents all demanding our attention. Our lives have become more and more stretched and we just can’t find space to think, let alone relax. And them, wham! Our hormone levels start to change. We’ve been riding the oestrogen dragon successfully for the best part of 30, sometimes 40 years, and suddenly it’s doing crazy things. Our mood fluctuates, we can’t sleep and we feel anxious. Anxiety? Where did that come from? We’ve never felt that before. It’s a recipe for disaster and we are sat watching the collision in slow motion as it happens, unable to do anything about it.
We need to get on top of stress
If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll know that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Research has shown than some stress enables us to respond to challenges which has helped the human species survive. Embracing challenges positively allows us to manage everyday strains. But when we are also managing fluctuating hormone levels, even the smallest of challenges can quickly lead us to a place where we are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed on a daily basis. And, stress becomes a problem when it is sustained over a long period of time. And when I say a problem, I mean a BIG problem – like we don’t have enough to deal with! I’m not about to give a long list of all the ways stress affects us on a day to day basis (if you want a long list you can find it my free book, 8 ways to leave stress behind, here). It’s suffice to say, as I’m sure you know, chronic stress can be pretty rough and it will make our menopausal symptoms worse. And when it’s left to its own devices for a number of years stress is a killer – literally! Research has shown that longer term stress can lead to
- Mental health problems such as depression
- Skin and hair problems – acne, psoriasis, eczema and permanent hair loss
- Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastritis
- Poor immunity making us more susceptible to disease
- High blood pressure and heart disease including an increased risk of heart attacks
- And even cancer!
See – a killer! Now I don’t know about you, but I quite like living and I’m not ready pop my clogs and certainly not due to something like stress where I know I can do something about it.
I know your life is busy enough and you struggle to find 5 minutes in the day, but if you are suffering with stress then I urge you – please try! This could be a lifesaver. Find five minutes a day that is just for you and do something to nurture yourself in it. You could set the alarm five minutes early so you can a moment to yourself when everyone is asleep. Or take five minutes at the end of the working day before you arrive home work. You could even have an extra five minutes before bed. Whenever you can find five minutes – think 'me-time'. If you can’t think of what to do in those five minutes (hint it’s not look at your phone), here are some suggestions of things that have been proven to reduce stress:
- Do some exercise – this doesn’t have to a mammoth gym session, just go for walk or do some stretches, anything to get the body moving.
- Do some relaxation – close your eyes and spend a few moment connecting with your body, feeling your breath as it moves in and out, feel how your body naturally relaxes as you breathe out. Or you could try a guided relaxation.
- Phone a friend – spending time with people who make us happy is a great stressbuster so why not give a friend a call? Hint: make it a friend who will cheer you up.
Whatever you decide to do, taking five minutes of me-time is a great way to start reducing our stress levels and help us feel more in control of our lives.
OK so you’ve tried taking five and you still feel stressed, when then? If you still want to continue down the self-help route then there are more tips in my free stress survival guide, “8 ways to leave stress behind” – you can download it here. And if those aren’t enough or you want more support then get in touch. Herbal medicine and coaching are both great ways to help with chronic stress. Finally for more information on how to survive the transition into menopause with your dignity intact, download my free book “Hot Women at Work” – it’s guaranteed to make you feel hot in the right way!