I would like to share some management strategies that could help you to manage your menopausal physical and psychological symptoms.
How to manage foggy brain?
Menopause can cause a foggy brain. When our hormones are starting to reduce, this not only effects our menstrual cycles but it can also affect our brain functioning. For example, you might forget words or struggle to make decisions. If you are ever concerned that your memory loss might be more serious, you should consult a GP.
One way of managing the physiological and psychological symptoms of menopause is to reduce your alcohol levels by keeping a diary and recording the number of units drunk in a week.
If you are using alcohol as a way of coping and managing your menopausal symptoms and drinking more than 15 units for a female it could lead you to feeling worse.
How to manage insomnia?
A second way of managing your symptoms of insomnia, anxious feelings and palpations could be to reduce caffeine levels. Too much caffeine is known to increase activity in the central nervous system which can lead to an increase in adrenaline and in turn, the stress hormone.
However, if you are a caffeine lover, be warned that reducing or eliminating caffeine suddenly can lead to side effects such as nausea and headaches for the first couple of days.
How to manage low levels of energy and mood?
Thirdly, the reduction of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone in our bodies during menopause can effect:
reduce our good mood hormone (serotonin)
reduce muscles strengthening which keeps bones strong
increase furring of the arteries
The good news is that exercise can reduce these symptoms by finding an exercise that you enjoy doing. This is important because you are more likely to maintain it.
This can be solo exercise such as running, walking or a team sport like soccer or netball. There are also muscle strengthening exercises that not only focus on challenging the body but improving well-being such as Yoga.
Exercise is recommended to be done in small, regular chunks as over doing it could lead to injury. If a person has never exercised before or is suffering from health conditions, you should take your GP’s advice before undertaking rigorous exercise.
The benefits of exercise are that you start to become aware of leading a healthier lifestyle and you could start to look at what you are eating and investigating how your diet could be improved to reduce your symptoms of menopause.
If you are experiencing chronic stress in your life as well as menopausal symptoms this could effect your levels of cortisol which can lead to chronic illnesses such as Type II Diabetes. By monitoring the kind of food, we eat, the symptoms of Type II Diabetes can be reduced such as chronic heart disease and kidney function.
Some of the types of food that you might want to cut down are take-aways and fried food as they are full of fat and contain a high salt intake. These foods could be replaced by healthier options for example, grilling, poaching or steaming food instead of frying it. Using low fat ingredients or reducing the amount of processed food and cook food from scratch.
How to manage feelings of tenseness and anger?
Finally, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle to reduce the physiological symptoms of menopause by practicing regular relaxation techniques can help us become aware of when we are tense, and our breathing has become shallow and return our bodies quicker to a relaxed state.
An example of a relaxation technique is using visualisation. I would invite you to go to a quiet comfortable area, either sitting or lying down and being aware of your breathing. You could visualise somewhere where you went on holiday or somewhere you have not been to before.
· Imagine what the weather is like – is it sunny?
· How does it feel to be there?
· What smells are there?
· What colours is that person is seeing for example blue skies and sea?
· Are there any noises that they hear such as birds singing?
· Keep that vision in their minds for as long as they need and still focusing on their breathing
Take care, Paula
Read my blog on You, Menopause and I
Palmer S, 1990, Stress Mapping: A Visual Technique To Aid Counselling or Training. Volume 2; Number 2: Employee Counselling Today
Palmer S & Cooper C, 2013, How To Deal With Stress, Creating Success. Kogan Page Ltd: London