Menopause usually occurs in a woman in her mid or late 40s. The hormonal rebalancing during this phase can give rise to a range of psychological symptoms, apart from physical symptoms like hot flushes, irregular periods, sleeping problems, etc. However, the psychological effects of menopause are not talked about much, but they can be profound and limiting, affecting a woman’s overall quality of life.
Feeling anxious or nervous is one of the most common side effects of menopausal stage, which is exacerbated by insomnia and fatigue. It is important to ensure self-care to alleviate anxiety and irritability that most women experience during this phase. Some of the self-help tips are:
- Talking to friends and loved ones – Oftentimes, when a person feels anxious, he/she tends to withdraw into a shell and fears opening up to others. This is damaging to one’s health. It is important to connect with loved ones and friends during such times who can empathize and provide comfort. Talking about the problem can bring a sense of relief and alleviate stress levels.
- Adding some exercise to routine – Physical exercise leads to release of endorphins that trigger a positive effect on the mind. A woman nearing menopausal stage or living in that phase should include some form of exercise in her routine like brisk walk, cycling, yoga, running, strength training, or aerobics to calm her mind and feel invigorated. Exercise also helps a woman to stay in shape and thereby, fight body image issues, another aftereffect of menopause.
- Focusing on deep breathing – Deep breathing can be immensely beneficial in keeping the anxiety level under check. One can inhale to the count of seven and then exhale on a count of 10 and repeat. Deep breathing provides a sense of tranquility and facilitates clearer thinking.
- Focusing on “me” time – Women shoulder a lot of responsibilities that keep them busy and leave no room for private space. As a result, they tend to neglect themselves. Lack of attention to one’s needs and desires and being constantly burdened with expectations can make a woman highly anxious. It is important to have some “me” time to renew one’s spirit. Indulging in a favorite sport or activity can be a great time to relax and reflect.
- Practicing relaxation techniques – Mind-calming activities like meditation and mindfulness are essential for overall well-being. They bring peace and help a person focus on the present rather than grieving about the past or being worried about the future. They also have a positive effect on heart rate and blood pressure.
- Addressing emotional issues – A woman should take time to reflect, think, forgive and heal. Life is too short to hold on to grudges. One should try to sort out the emotional turbulence, take things in stride and move on. It’s important for mental and physical health, both.
- Taking wholesome diet – One should limit the intake of caffeine and focus on eating healthy. It’s a good idea to incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and healthy fats into daily diet. Diet does have a potential to induce or ameliorate anxiety levels.
Seeking professional help for anxiety disorders
Few other strategies like maintaining a journal and recording one’s feelings and thoughts, limiting alcohol intake, and trying some herbal concoctions or aromatic oils can lower the anxiety levels. However, if the self-help tips do not provide relief, one must seek professional help immediately.