Getting Your Rage Under Control
Decreasing the frequency and severity of mood swings can be achieved sometimes with simple lifestyle changes. Get more sleep, eat a nutritious diet with regular small meals, and maybe think about adding dietary supplements suitable for menopausal women if you know your diet isn't the best. The jury is out on the effectiveness of such supplements but they are available, so they're worth a try if all else fails.
Ensuring I eat little and often works for me – I find myself reacting negatively to comments and situations much more regularly when I am hungry. If this is true for you too, start carrying low GI snacks with you to keep sugar levels stable.
Try dried apricots, air-popped popcorn (without sugary or salty toppings), grapes, an apple or a handful of peanuts- even a few chocolate covered peanuts are better than many high sugar and fat treats like doughnuts. A family-sized bag of sweet treats or a giant white-flour muffin might make you feel happy and satisfied for a short while but the sugar high and subsequent plummeting low will just make things worse in the long run! In the supermarket many packaged products may have GI (glycemic index) ratings on the bag or box. Aim for foodstuffs with a GI rating of 55 or less.
Exercise is well known to reduce PMS, and it can also work for menopause-related mood swings, lifting your mood by flooding your body with feel-good endorphins. Exercising will also help you get a better night's sleep, as long as you make sure you allow around two hours before bedtime to wind down.
If high impact isn't your thing, try relaxation techniques like yoga or tai chi, meditation or massage. I always walk away from my tai chi class feeling calmer and more ready to face the niggles of the day.
There are also drugs available – selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – which may work even if you don't feel you are particularly depressed. HRT may help too, by regulating the hormones in your body. It's a personal choice but I found that both of these options helped me not just with anger and anxiety but with other symptoms and medical issues unrelated to menopause. As always, go and chat to your healthcare provider for the best advice based on your individual circumstances.
A simple solution might be just to talk about how you feel. Find a qualified counsellor, search for a menopause support group in your area or online, or just meet up with some good friends and open up. Realizing that you are not alone trying to cope on this strange new journey often helps.