Wow. It’s hard enough to be going through menopause in the best of times. In these uncertain times of the pandemic, our stress levels may be pegging the needle into the red zone. But we can help ourselves. Enjoy this common sense, helpful approach to reducing stress in this guest blog by Isabella Lovett.
Simple Tricks for Managing Your Stress Through Tough Times by Isabella Lovett
77% of adults experience stress on a regular basis. However, going through perimenopause and menopause can increase this, and you may find that you have feelings of being under too much pressure, both emotionally and physically. When you are stressed, the body produces cortisol, this helps us to cope. However, if your cortisol levels are high for a long period of time, then it can be damaging to your body. The natural hormone oestrogen actually helps to balance cortisol levels in the body. If you are going through menopause, the lower oestrogen levels mean that you are unable to regulate cortisol effectively, so you might find yourself increasingly stressed. This is why it is important to try and manage these feelings so that they don’t become too overwhelming.
Cut down on alcohol
Drinking alcohol might help you to cope with stress in the short term, but it is not doing you any favors in the long term. Alcohol can cause depression and anxiety, ultimately exacerbating the way that you feel. It can also affect your skin and complexion, as it depletes the body of nutrients, causing puffiness and wrinkles. This in turn can affect your self-esteem when you look in the mirror. Alcohol is ultimately a depressant, it interferes with the body’s central nervous system and slows down brain function. Over time it will significantly interfere with the way the neurotransmitters in the brain work, impacting your mental health. The feelings of anxiety and depression that this causes will only make any form of stress much harder to deal with.
Increase your exercise
14% of people use exercise as a way of controlling their stress. In fact, studies have shown that is an extremely effective way of not only improving your physical condition but also improving your mental health. Regular exercise helps to boost your memory and concentration, lowers fatigue and makes you feel alert and energized. It directly counteracts the feelings of energy depletion you get from being under stress. Exercise also releases endorphins in the brain that improve your mood and act as a natural painkiller. Aerobic exercise in particular has been proven to be effective in reducing stress levels — even five minutes helps.
Learn some relaxation techniques
It may be that it is impossible to remove the causes of your stress, however, you can learn some relaxation techniques that will help you to manage how you are feeling. Researchers from Harvard University have found that mindfulness meditation is extremely good at helping you manage stress and anxiety. One study found that subjects who had practiced meditation every day over a period of two months showed significant differences in their brain activation patterns when shown a series of emotional and stressful videos. They had effectively re-wired their brains to cope with stress better.
When you are going through menopause, it is important that you find ways to manage situations that cause you anxiety and stress. Through healthy living and relaxation, you can deal with stressful situations in a way that is better for you emotionally.