Menopause Mood Swings

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Menopause Mood Swings

Menopause Mood Swings
14 Ways To Deal With Menopause Mood Swings Naturally

Hot flushes are the best known symptom through the peri-menopause years and beyond but for many women, menopausal mood changes are far more devastating.

Many experience anxiety, low mood, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, lack of confidence and self-esteem and low energy levels for up to ten years.

You may find yourself feeling tearful for no reason, or constantly snapping at your partner and children. I know when I was (unknowingly) going through the menopause in my 30’s this anger really frightened me. I felt I was totally out of control of my actions and reactions.

These negative emotions that so often arise when you need to be firing on all cylinders, on the ball, because you may have a high-pressure job, or be sandwiched between caring for teenagers and elderly parents. It’s all added STRESS, and you all know how increased stress is the greatest pre-cursor to unpleasant menopause symptoms and weight gain.

Mid-life can be tough

Why exactly does menopause impact on mood?

Unfortunately hormone levels don’t drop in a steady, consistent or considerate way. The hormonal discord that occurs, particularly during peri-menopause (4-10 years before your last period), can lead to common symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats, depression, disturbed sleep, irritability, anxiety and memory problems.

It’s a hormonal roller-coaster!

Which means your mood swings are affected by what is going on in your body as well as what is going on in your life.

How do these factors affect your mood through menopause?

There are oestrogen receptors all over the body, including the brain.

One of the roles of oestrogen in the brain is to block the breakdown of serotonin, the happy chemical.

So when oestrogen levels drop during peri-menopause, so can serotonin levels, which impact on how you feel emotionally.

Changes to the adrenal glands also mean you can become more sensitive to stress hormones during the menopause, which means you are more likely to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, maybe even find that you are more tearful?

This low level of serotonin is also thought to be why so many women experience increased levels of rage, anger and irritation at this time of life. This was so me! If only I knew then what I know now things could have been so very different.

Why does this take its toll on confidence?

When you feel anxious, and your stress hormones are raised, your brain is on the receiving end of ‘fear chemicals’, which can make you question your ability to cope with things that you may previously have taken in your stride.

In evolutionary terms, it was designed to make us retreat into our caves and stay away from danger, which is why you may want to retreat from social events like parties or meeting new people, and suddenly start struggling with big meetings or presentations at work.

Studies show that hormone imbalances can also trigger negative thinking which can undermine your confidence.

When you have low confidence or self-esteem, all you can see is your weaknesses and failures.

When things don’t go well, you blame your personal failings which means you’re less likely to try again.

Does this sound familiar?

How to cope with emotional changes during menopause.

Important note: Although symptoms can be attributable to menopause, if you are feeling irritable and sad and finding it increasingly difficult to cope please do visit your doctor to explain how you feel.

Often these feelings can be managed quite easily with lifestyle style changes, for example learning simple ways to relax and reduce stress.

Here are some tips that can help you naturally manage your fluctuating hormones, create more balance, calm and harmony in your life:

Top Tips to manage menopause mood swings
  1. Get active, and do it regularly. Exercise is like a magic bullet for lifting mood and energy levels and improving sleep. Regular exercisers produce more feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, which can reset your mood thermostat a few degrees higher. It doesn’t have to involve morning boot camp rituals in the local park! Walking briskly in the fresh air for 20 minutes/day can boost those feel good hormones.
  2. It’s good to talk! There’s still a taboo around the menopause and women often don’t even tell their good friends how they feel.  Feeling isolated can further lower your mood and confidence. Try to be open with your partner about what you’re going through and why you may seem more irritable or tearful, and don’t forget the Beyond Menopause UK Facebook group is here to support you too!
  3. Find a self-calming practice that suits you, these will help you remain mindful, in the ‘now’, take your focus away from worries and anxieties. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi are excellent. For an emergency strategy you can employ rhythmic breathing e.g. breathe in slowly to the count of four, pause, breathe out slowly to the count of four, pause again and repeat. Always concentrating on your breath, bringing it down from high up in your chest to your stomach. Relax and really feel your stomach move in and out with each breath.
  4. Count your blessings. When you’re low you tend to focus on the negative and overlook the positives. Try thinking of three things that have gone well, or that you’re simply grateful for, before you go to sleep at night.
  5. Take small steps. Even small achievements can help rebuild confidence. Make a list of things you’ve been putting off, rating them from easiest to hardest, then try to tackle just one thing a week, starting with the easiest tasks. Please do be realistic about what you can achieve in one day.
  6. Be kind to yourself. Women can be very self-critical, as if you didn’t know! Treating yourself with the same kindness you show the people you love can have a knock-on effect on self-esteem and mood. Don’t feel guilty about making time in your day for a chat with a good friend, a walk in the fresh air or a cuppa in a nice café.
  7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, they increase your stress hormones which have priority over all others.
  8. Drink water. I know I keep saying this, but removing caffeine, alcohol, sodas and drinking just plain water is a) cheaper and b) so effective helping reduce all menopause symptoms. The brain is 80% water, being adequately hydrated is essential to help balance moods.
  9. Ensure good Omega 3 intake. Omega 3 oils are the precursors to happy hormones. 60% of the cell membranes in the brain are also made of these essential fats and women in countries who eat a lot of fish have the lowest levels of depression. Found in abundance in salmon, mackerel, trout, avocados, and a variety of nuts, seeds.
  10. Eat tryptophan rich foods. Tryptophan is an amino acid which helps make the happy hormone serotonin. Its found in turkey, fish, nuts, seeds and pulses.
  11. BREATHE! Making time to relax every day and keeping stress levels in check can make a big difference to mood, but also other symptoms such as hot flushes. A simple breathing exercise like 7-11 breathing can help – sit quietly for five minutes and breathe in for a count of seven and out for a count of 11.
  12. Make time for your family and friends. Staying connected is important. As our emotions hit a low point it’s easy to become cut-off, isolated, less motivated to socialise.
  13. Ask for help if you need it! As women we are experts at ‘coping’, there should be neither shame nor guilt in asking for help. You’ll probably find that people are very willing and happy to do so. Of course you can always ask for help and support in the Beyond Menopause Facebook group. Apply to join HERE
  14. Do something that helps others. This one action nurtures so many of our basic human needs you are practically guaranteed to feel good about yourself after.

If at any time you feel totally overwhelmed, please do go and see your doctor as soon as possible.

All the above embrace the philosophy of the Vibrant Life membership programmes. Remember, however low you feel, you are not alone in feeling this way, and there is always something you can do to help yourself.

Wishing you health and happiness as always.

Clare 🙂

Helping busy ladies naturally create harmony and  health through the menopause years and beyond.  Regain control, confidence, and be free to live the life they choose.

A full hysterectomy in her 30s led nutritional therapist and health coach Clare on an amazing adventure exploring the many opportunities available to manage her enforced menopause and create long-term health.

Clare prefers the natural approach, and qualifying in nutritional therapy gave her the confidence to come off HRT, take back control of her life and health, and look forward to living the best third of her life free of prescription drugs. Understanding the importance of creating harmony of health of both body and mind through menopause and beyond, she’s now on a mission to inspire, educate and empower other women, too. Help them create their ‘new life’.

Click HERE to find out more about how Clare shares her years of exploring, experience and knowledge through 1:1 consultations, speaking and online programmes, and where you can request a FREE 30 minute consultation with Clare to discuss any personal menopause/health concerns you may have.

Registered Nutritional Therapist

Member of the British Menopause Society

Award winning Menopause Coach & Educator

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