October is World Menopause Month, with World Menopause Day taking place on October 18th, so there’s certainly no time quite like the present to think about how you can get a handle on your symptoms so they don’t end up ruling your life for the next 15 years or so.
With so much change happening, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed at times – particularly when you consider that you largely have little to no control over which symptoms will get you, when they’ll get you and to what extent they’ll get you.
No one likes feeling powerless, which is why it’s important to take back what control you can so that you can remain resilient and strong, no matter what occurs.
One aspect of menopause that is often overlooked in favour of addressing the physical symptoms of the transition is the mental health impact of what’s happening.
Back in the day, menopause came with a certain amount of stigma and shame attached to it, thanks to its association with ageing and ‘being old’. Now, of course, we know better and early menopause can start from the age of 40… which no one could possibly describe as old.
But because it’s been so stigmatised, it’s still very hard to talk about and there’s still a lot of ignorance and misinformation floating about, which can make it very hard to know where to go, what to do and who to turn to. And this is when your mental health could well take a serious dive.
Hormone changes can also impact how you’re feeling and you may start to experience symptoms like anxiety, anger, irritability, low mood, feelings of depression or sadness and a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Prioritising sleep can help you promote good mental health, particularly given the fact that many women experience insomnia during the transition.
Sleep hygiene is something worth investigating if you are struggling to drop off, with strategies including the likes of staying off screens for a few hours before bedtime, avoiding alcohol, reading a book, making sure the bedroom temperature is conducive to sleep and so on.
Exercising for your mental health is also something that could prove particularly useful if you’re struggling, with studies showing that people who exercise regularly enjoy better mental and emotional health and wellbeing, as well as lower rates of mental illness.
And, of course, don’t forget about your diet. Interestingly, research was just published by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health revealing that eating high amounts of ultra-processed foods (typically those that have five or more ingredients and lots of additives not found in home cooking) may increase the risk of depression.
There are lots of tasty treats you can enjoy to promote good health, everything from wholegrains and legumes to seeds, nuts, tofu, meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. Produce of this kind features a chemical called tryptophan, which helps to build serotonin – or the happiness hormone, as it’s also known!
If you’d like any further help or advice relating to diet and mental health during the menopause, get in touch with Charlotte today to find out more. You don’t have to go it alone!