How Stress Builds in Menopause
However, you are more likely to deal with a surge in stress and anxiety if you have:
- Previous anxiety issues. Women who have experienced panic attacks in the past are more likely to experience them in the future. However, with proper treatment, many women can drastically reduce their risk of experiencing a second attack.
- More physical symptoms. Those who suffer with more uncomfortable symptoms tend to experience more physical and emotional stress, and in turn, are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. The better you can control your symptoms, the better your chances of controlling your stress level.
- Negative life events. Menopausal women who go through a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or a layoff are certainly more prone to anxiety. Since big upsets tend to interfere with sleep and self-care (two important factors during menopause), they often breed more physical and emotional discomfort.
In severe cases, chronic stress can lead to depression. The constant anxiety coupled with a continuing chemical imbalance is simply too much for the body to fight, and you may find that feelings of isolation, sadness or helplessness begin to take over. Although stress is inevitable for every woman, don’t ignore serious warning signs – if you suspect that you may be depressed, talk to your doctor right away.
Beating Stress for a Better Life in Menopause
Stress affects people differently, and you’ll need to find your own way to treat it. However, there are a few general ways to approach your stress, and for many women, they promise quick and deep relief.
- Broaden your support network. Supportive friends and family are crucial for a better menopause experience, but so are professional counselors and menopause experts. Stay in close touch with your doctor, and consider visiting a behavioral therapist or menopause therapist to help with the finer points of stress management. Stay open and honest to help build an action plan that’s well tailored to your personality and unique circumstances.
- Commit to self-care. Put yourself first. This means you need to learn to say “no” when you know you shouldn’t take on more obligation, and create space and time for yourself each and every day. A bubble bath or a few minutes of deep breathing can be helpful, but be prepared to try new approaches to stress relief and new hobbies that enforce a calm and positive perspective.
- Live in the moment. It may be easier said than done, but appreciating your immediate reality can bring you a world of peace and a refreshing perspective. Let go of mistakes from the past and worry about the future, and learn to simplify and focus your thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is extremely effective for centering your mind and letting go our emotional baggage, plus it brings a host of measurable physical benefits.
As you move through menopause, you must listen to your body. Keep track of the types of changes you experience, the rate of change, and anything that seems out of place or particularly uncomfortable. You know your body best, and although doctors and therapists are important, your own monitoring and self-care is what will keep you on the right track to a happier, healthier menopause experience.