With the many stigmas surrounding menopause, alongside the physical, mental and emotional strain, it is easy to get swept up in the negativity. However, while you cannot control whether you go through the menopause or not, you can control your reaction to it.
With the right tools and adjustments to your mindset, you have the power to turn the menopause into a positive experience for you. This doesn’t just have to come from a mental perspective; you can also improve your physical and emotional experience of the menopause through education, action and self-care.
Dr Haleema Sheikh, hormone specialist at the Marion Gluck Clinic says: “There’s no doubt that bioidentical hormone balancing can be life-changing for patients. But there’s so much more than just medication to consider when it comes to turning your menopause into a positive experience. We really try to empower our patients by educating them about their hormones. We give them the tools and techniques needed to take control of their menopause and improve their quality of life.”
In light of Menopause Awareness Month (October), we are exploring the ways in which you can become empowered, whether you are approaching or currently going through perimenopause, or have already reached menopause and want to have more control over your wellbeing.
There are two sides to mental empowerment regarding the menopause. The first is to look after your mental health, as brain fog, anxiety and depression are common symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause. The second is to build your knowledge about this important stage in your life. From there, you can make the best decisions about your health going forward.
- Educate yourself on symptoms and treatments: The conversation around menopause is growing; however, there are still taboos about its symptoms, and a lack of common knowledge about the treatments available. By educating yourself using texts, videos and podcasts from reputable sources, as well as talking to medical professionals and other people who are going through the menopause, you’ll be better equipped to notice symptoms and take appropriate action.
- Speak to a therapist: When it comes to caring for your mental health, try to ignore the stigma surrounding speaking to a therapist. Whether you are feeling a bit low, or you are struggling with brain fog and need reassurance, a mental health professional will be able to provide you with practical advice to help you get through this period.
- Lower your overall stress levels: As we know, stress increases cortisol levels. When there is a high level of cortisol in the body, your other hormones take a back seat. This can result in an imbalance and a worsening of menopausal symptoms. Taking steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life is important for both your mental and physical health. Intense or prolonged stress can also result in physical symptoms such as gut issues, headaches and poor sleep.
You might think that you have no control over your body during the menopause; however, this just isn’t true. Every positive action that you take when it comes to your physical health will make a difference, however small. Consistency is key in this case – if you’re going to make a change, stick with it to see the benefits.
- Take up regular exercise: Exercise is not only important for improving your muscle tone and maintaining your weight; it also plays a key role in keeping your hormones balanced. Read our article on exercise and hormones to find out how. Here are several types of exercise that are excellent for improving your fitness during the menopause:
– Resistance training
- Nourish your body: The food that you consume has a huge impact on both your mental and physical health. Consuming alcohol, and processed and sugary foods on a regular basis will exacerbate symptoms of the menopause. Switching to a diet high in whole foods and avoiding alcohol will allow your body to intake and process vitamins and minerals at an optimum level. Your diet is an important foundation for hormonal balance.
- Explore aesthetical remedies: Many women experience changes in their appearance during menopause. Skin loses its elasticity and ability to hold moisture. You may experience complexion issues that you didn’t have before, such as hyperpigmentation, rosacea or psoriasis. Unfortunately, these changes can be a confidence knocker – but prescription hormone face cream can effectively target these and improve your confidence.
The perimenopause and menopause bring with them changes to your emotional state, not only directly caused by hormonal imbalance. You may also have an emotional response to the way in which your body is changing, and the stigmas surrounding the menopause and ageing. This is normal, and your reaction is shared by many women going through the same thing.
However, you can alter the way in which you emotionally react to this stage in life by incorporating small, positive changes into your daily routine.
- Practice gratitude for your body: It’s easy to dislike your body for putting you through the menopause, and with societal expectations on what a woman’s body should look like, this dislike can build up. It can lead to issues with body confidence and dysmorphia. However, try to remind yourself that your body is an incredible thing. It allows you to move, feel, think and interact with the world around you. The menopause is not its fault – it is just a natural stage of life. Know that your body will get you through the menopause, and do what you can to help it!
- Support and find support in others: As social animals, we benefit from emotional support in others. You could share your menopause journey with friends or colleagues who are going through or have experienced the same thing, or look to online forums for support. If you can, providing support for others is beneficial for both parties. By starting conversations around the menopause, we help to break the stigma, which means that those who go through menopause in future will have better support.
- Practice self care whenever you need it: Don’t deny yourself self care when you are feeling low, anxious, or just need a moment to yourself. Prioritising your mental, physical and emotional health is the key to empowerment, so remember to put yourself first. Are your blood tests due? Book them in. Is your follow-up appointment coming up? Don’t put it off!
Take The First Step In Menopause Empowerment
Our hormone specialists can provide advice on all areas of hormonal health and the menopause. If you need support in taking the first step of your journey towards taking control of your wellbeing, we would be delighted to help.
You can book an initial consultation with us using the button below.