Let’s not beat around the bush, for some of us perimenopause and menopause can be a real fu*ker!
I saw the anxiety I suffered for years – and had got under control – start to sneak back.
What the hell was happening to me? My hormones were making me regress. All of a sudden, I started over-analysing situations, doubting myself, sweating when I’d even as much as looked at an elevator (long story, but many moons ago when I was at my height of anxiety, looking at, or even entering an elevator, was torture).
As I aged, I had gotten over, or learnt how to manage anxiety, then all of a sudden, my hormones started changing and it was all over rover!
I needed to take control back, and fast.
I am very lucky that with my job that I have access to professionals. I work alongside a leading psychologist who I asked for some sound and simple generic advice that I could forward onto others.
These simple tips have worked for me and my anxiety, but everyone is different, and these are just tips – if you need urgent help and are suffering on a daily basis, please see a professional as soon as you can.
Let’s be frank here. Changing hormones can play havoc with you, your body and your mind.
But there are many things we can do to help ease some of the symptoms.
- Talk to someone, communicate how you feel, know it will pass and share your feelings, because it really does help. I call a friend and chat, once I end the call, I feel 100 times better. Know that you are not alone in this. It happens to the best of us, it’s common and we can overcome/manage it.
- Exercise. You don’t need to go crazy; it can be as simple as going for walk and getting some fresh air, or run, swim, do whatever makes you feel happy. When I feel anxiety coming on, I get out and go for walk – even if it’s just around the block. It makes me feel better, especially if there are other people around. I just feel less alone, and the fresh air does help. Yoga, meditation and Pilates are also good options. I’m not one for meditation because I just can’t sit still long enough (I know – completely defeats the purpose) but I love hot yoga and aerial yoga. After an aerial yoga class not only do feel physically amazing, but mentally as well.
- Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. I cut out caffeine over 15 years ago. I drink herbal tea, hot chocolate etc, and for me it made a big difference. I got major withdrawals, had a migraine for a week but it was worth it. I do however still have a wine with friends, or if I am out for dinner, but in moderation. Life is too short to give up everything.
- Eat well (this you can control), get sleep (which can be hard if you are suffering night sweats or insomnia), be kind to yourself and take time out. Changing my diet to reduce my sugar intake, heavy carbs and processed foods have helped. I still have treats, because there is no way I am not going to enjoy myself, but I feel much better when I am eating healthily. It has made a massive difference. I also feel more in control – which I think is the main issue.
- Practice your breathing. Slow it down. Breathe in for four or five seconds (tummy getting bigger like blowing up a balloon) and out for 10 (tummy deflating like a balloon going down). Slow, steady and controlled. For years I was breathing incorrectly – practicing breathing correctly has worked miracles. It sounds silly saying I wasn’t breathing correctly, but I wasn’t.
The best thing for me, is I still have that confidence that getting older gives you. I am just navigating another change, the hormonal change. With it brings a raft of unwanted things, hello sweats, mood swings etc, but it also brings me courage, that I can get through this. I laugh about it, because it’s not all that bad, and the best thing is, we have a community that can support each other.
Everyone’s experience is different. As long as we have support, coping strategies – and if that’s a shopping trip, facial, holiday, screaming at the top of your lunges, or a night out with your friends, then do it. Here’s to getting through this madness in one piece (I’m talking more about the hubby here!).
Lastly, I need to clarify that not everyone struggles with perimenopause or menopause, some ladies sail through it (I am positively green with envy), but for some like myself it creeps up when you least expect it, and bites you on the ass, big time!
I want to share as much information that I learn along the way, so others coming up to this new stage in life, have more information, from real people, in real speak and hopefully it helps.