9 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Menopause
Menopause is the beginning of a potentially exciting, fulfilling time in your life… even if it doesn’t feel like it. Due to dramatic hormone changes that take place during perimenopause (and a very different baseline after), it can be a challenge to fully appreciate it in the midst of all the adjustments you have to deal with. Mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats are common symptoms, but there are also more subtle ones. These can include changes in body composition, energy, and appetite. Full stop: Menopause is a major life change. There’s no need to suffer unnecessarily, though. Here are 9 ways to take care of yourself during Menopause.
1. Prioritize Exercise
Movement is essential during menopause. I personally enjoy Yoga! You may opt for intense training or more meditative, slower exercise (think Tai chi). Whatever you decide, be sure it contains cardiovascular, strengthening, and stretching components and is effective without stressing you out. The benefits are numerous — including a boost of growth hormones and endorphins that’ll make you happier and calmer.
2. Consider a Supplement
Carefully chosen supplements can help stabilize your mood, increase heart/brain and bone health, decrease inflammation, and balance hormones. Check with a trusted health practitioner to get a read on your needs in addition to monitoring your own health status. Try an online search for a good hormone balance supplement that can address common menopausal symptoms and help you feel more serene and energetic.
3. Prioritize Sleep
This is an area where you absolutely shouldn’t skimp: Having healthy sleep habits is vitally important for detoxification and hormone balance. It can be more challenging during perimenopause and menopause to get the recommended 7-9 hours per night, so create rhythms that allow your body to relax as you get close to bedtime. Avoid electronics (or at least blue light) an hour before turning in, avoid caffeine after lunch, and be sure your bedroom is completely dark and on the cooler side.
4. Stop Smoking and Limit Your Drinking
The downsides of smoking multiply during menopause; the nicotine and toxins are especially harmful. Quit — get help if you need it — there’s much more assistance and support available than ten or twenty years ago. Drinking’s also something to keep tabs on around menopause. It not only can dehydrate you and interfere with sleep, but excess consumption can lead to an increased likelihood of heart problems and cancer. Drink moderately or not at all.
5. Adjust Your Diet
Want to feel better and decrease your menopausal symptoms? Try some foods that contain phytoestrogens; they’re compounds that are plant-based and bear a similarity to human sex hormones. Flaxseed, celery, parsley, fennel, sesame seeds, and miso are particularly potent sources of phytoestrogens.
6. Enjoy Your Veggies
One of the most important things to take care of before and during menopause is your level of inflammation. There’s nothing quite like eating vegetables to help keep your inflammation in check. Superfood vegetables and fruits (think broccoli, blueberries, onions, and pomegranates) are especially effective for this purpose. Decreasing inflammation has a host of benefits, including weight stabilization and more elastic, moist skin and connective tissue.
7. Enjoy Healthy Fats
Eating healthy fats is pleasurable, filling, and good for your health. Go for the Omega-3 types and MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) as your main fat sources. Your heart and brain will benefit, and your level of inflammation will decrease. Coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats, as are fatty wild-caught fish like salmon and tuna. This is another area where getting a supplement can be helpful to help ensure you’re ingesting enough healthy fats.
8. Stay Connected
It’s always important to cultivate life-affirming relationships with supportive friends and family; and during menopause, it’s especially crucial. Connection with other women experiencing similar life changes helps you to feel not so alone, and staying involved with your community decreases stressful isolation. Your family situation might be changing as you move through midlife; don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support if you need it. It might also be a time to re-calibrate all of your relationships so you can establish and maintain healthy intimacy and appropriate boundaries.
9. Stay Mindful
Connection is key — and so is solitude and paying attention to your inner world and what matters to you most. Menopause can be a time of profound growth and deepening of your spiritual capacity if you provide yourself with enough time, space, and self-care to go within. What you do during this time will vary; it might be gardening, making art or music, dancing, meditating, praying, or serving others selflessly. You might revisit beloved feelings and moods of your childhood as you allow what’s unnecessary to fall away, leaving space for wonder and thankfulness.
Taking care of yourself during Menopause is a holistic process that encompasses body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Keep these ideas in mind as you consider your options and make healthy choices.
How do you take care of yourself during life and body changes? We would love to hear from you in the comments at the bottom of this page.
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