During the menopause transition, the threshold for stress can be reduced, meaning prioritising relaxation is essential. Working to reduce and manage stress is something we should actively do in this life stage.
Some stress is actually a good thing, it keeps us motivated but when stress becomes too much it can cause problems. Too much stress can have a negative impact on hormonal balance and can aggravate menopausal symptoms. It can also contribute to sleep issues, weight gain, digestive problems, fatigue and mood and memory problems. By reducing or managing stress it can have long term benefits for physical and mental health.
6 Ways to Manage Stress
Increase magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is known as nature’s relaxant. It is used up in the stress response, meaning it can become depleted. Eating foods such as green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses, avocado, salmon, halibut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds or 2-3 squares of 70% and above cocoa dark chocolate, can all increase magnesium levels. Try to eat these foods regularly to help manage stress.
Make sure you are getting your B vitamins
B vitamins are used in the stress response, so when there is repeated or prolonged stress they can become depleted. B vitamins are found in dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, meat, salmon, mackerel, sardines and eggs.
Prioritise regular breaks for relaxation and to help manage stress. This can be for just a minute to do some deep breathing, or 5 minutes to do a quick guided meditation, read a magazine, do a word search or longer for reading a book, having a bath, doing some gardening or going for a walk. Whatever relaxes you, prioritise time each day to do it.
If you are sleep deprived or having poor quality sleep this can worsen stress. On the flip side being stressed can worsen your sleep!
Prioritising sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene such as turning off your phone/computer an hour before bed. Keeping your room cool at around 17-19C. Dimming the lights an hour before bed. Having a warm bath in the evening and trying to be in bed by 11.00pm at the latest, will all be helpful. For more information and tips check out my sleep blog.
Prioritise and organise
Planning, organising and prioritising tasks, responsibilities, work and social engagements can help manage and reduce stress. It is also worth asking, if it isn’t really important, can it be done tomorrow?
There is research to support doing regular yoga can help manage and reduce stress, anxiety and depression in women. Yoga can also help improve hot flushes, cognition and increase muscle mass which can improve body composition. All important things to consider in the menopause. Either join a class or there are lots of practices online. I love https://www.yoginimelbourne.com/
You can also participate in yoga in one of our Finding Me In The Menopause Workshops. Myself and my yoga teacher colleague Claire Smith run menopause workshops, using yoga, nutrition and wellbeing advice, to help you move through the menopause transition. Contact me to find out more or email us a email@example.com
Approaches to stress with EFT by Michelle Milton
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT / tapping) involves tapping on the correct points (the body’s acupuncture / acupressure points along the meridian lines of Chinese medicine) whilst bringing the negative thoughts or emotions into awareness. Tapping is a very gentle technique where you talk as much or as little as you want to. The details of an event aren’t necessary for tapping to be beneficial.
The aim is to find relief, relaxation, and promote healing around the emotional or physical issues that hold us back.
Even if we ignore the pandemic of the last 2 years and the current situation in the Ukraine, sometimes life throws things our way and makes it really difficult to even just smile.
Both the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine have led to uncertainty and a lack of control in our lives, which is highly stressful. With both, we can’t see an end – which is more uncertainty.
We may feel disconnected or isolated from friends and family as well as from the lives we used to lead.
I’ve been listening to a fascinating session with an American psychologist called Dr Damon Silas who regularly uses tapping with veterans who have PTSD with remarkable results. Dr Silas was saying psychologists are noticing an increasing number of people reporting a reduction in motivation, focus and energy and an increase in depressive symptoms. I’m sure most of us can relate to at least one of those things – I know I can but I put it down to winter/dull and miserable summer last year and having COVID.
Dr Silas explains a new word being used to describe how many people are feeling in 21/22 – languishing. Languishing doesn’t mean you’re experiencing burnout or severe depression. Instead, languishing is the in-between point of depression and flourishing – when you’re feeling stagnant, demotivated, and more than a little ‘blah’.
And if you’re feeling a little ‘blah’ it can be hard to work out how to move from ‘blah’ to flourishing.
As part of the session with Dr Silas we tapped on the feelings of anger, fear and languishing. Acknowledging them as OK and valid to have, given what we’ve all been through in the last few years.
The Benefits of Tapping
Since I’ve known about/ been trained as an EFT Coach I’ve used tapping for myself and with clients for anxiety, stress, health and grief.
During the last two years, many of us may have experienced some of the situations below – these unaddressed affect our ability to be our best, to move on and to get the best out of life.
- weight loss issues and cravings
- grief – for the loss of parents, siblings, children (even just moving on in life)
- low self-esteem and lack of confidence
Negative emotions from previous experiences can stay within our bodies and affect our lives now. Tapping can help us see the emotions holding us back, allow us to acknowledge them and allow us to release those emotions. This helps people feel lighter, calmer and freer to move forward with less stress.
If you’d like a free 20 minute chat to see how Tapping can help you or if you’d be interested in a group tapping session for stress, please call me on 07890 442 548.