Menopause can feel overwhelming and never ending. However, if you take it day by day, then you will slowly start to take control of your life again. If you have trouble making sense of the long slog of menopause, here are eight daily reminders to help you check in with yourself every single day:
Keep in mind that this is a phase.
Menopause can seem endless — and in some women, it does last for years. However, menopause comes to an end for everyone, even if it seems like it’s taking forever. If you feel like you’ve always been going through menopause, and will always be going through menopause, remind yourself that your symptoms will subside eventually. Try to focus on the silver linings, such as no longer having to manage your menstruation. Menopause isn’t all bad, and being done with menopause is even better.
2. Remember that you aren't alone.
Like many other women’s health topics, menopause is often considered taboo. Whether you’re struggling to find menopause relief for hot flashes or experiencing bladder leakage, you may feel utterly alone and unable to talk to the people in your life. Even if you can talk to them, they might not understand menopause like someone who’s going through it. Seek out other women in a similar stage of life who will be able to sympathize with your struggles. It’s not only about the physical symptoms. Having a support network you can rely on emotionally is critical to getting through this new phase of life.
3. Keep cool and collected.
Hot flashes are one of the most common menopause complaints. Not only do they often come on without warning, but they can also stop you in your tracks, even if you’re in an important meeting or at your kid’s soccer championship. Make an effort to keep yourself cool and avoid your hot flash triggers. Wear breathable clothing, stay inside on hot days, and keep a fan close by, especially in your bedroom at night. Watch out for caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, all of which have been known to trigger hot flashes. Practicing slow breathing when you feel a hot flash coming on can help shorten the duration of the episode.
4. Manage your stress.
Stress makes pretty much all menopause symptoms worse, including hot flashes and mood swings. Menopause can ironically be a major source of stress in itself, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to manage other sources of stress. Try to minimize or eliminate your personal triggers when you can. When you can’t, find stress management reduction techniques that work for you, whether that’s meditation, exercise, an artistic hobby, or something else. Different stress reduction techniques work for different people, so you might need to experiment to figure out what works for you. Just because someone else swears by herbal teas doesn’t automatically mean they will work for you.
5. Establish an exercise routine.
Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve menopause symptoms. Not only does it reduce stress (and therefore hot flashes), it also alleviates mood swings, weight gain, and bone loss. If you find that strenuous exercise triggers hot flashes for you, focus on gentle exercises that don’t make you become overheated, such as Pilates and yoga for menopause. It may take some trial and error to find a workout routine that works for you, but that effort will pay off once you get in the habit of exercising several times a week.
6. Change up your diet.
Diet can also be a major factor in your menopause experience. First of all, you should avoid common hot flash triggers such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, as we mentioned above. What you eat also affects a particular subset of your gut bacteria called the estrobolome, which plays a huge role in how your body metabolizes estrogen. To feed your estrobolome, you need to eat a diverse range of produce, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs. You should also eat healthy fats to protect your gut lining from inflammation while avoiding sugary, highly processed foods that can trigger irritation. If you stick with your dietary changes, you might start seeing results within weeks.
7. Experiment with natural remedies.
Natural remedies such as herbs and essential oils are a relatively new frontier, and thus don’t have as much research behind them as, say, medications. However, many women say that these natural remedies help relieve their menopause symptoms in conjunction with other techniques. Peppermint oil in particular is supposed to be good for hot flashes, so try diffusing it in your home or rolling some diluted oil onto your skin so the scent can calm you.
- Get creative in the bedroom.
Many women find themselves facing new challenges in the bedroom during menopause. Their sex drive often temporarily decreases, and certain physical changes — such as a thin, dry vagina — can make sex more uncomfortable and even painful. As a result, many of their go-to bedroom practices are no longer fun or enjoyable. If you haven’t used it before, then definitely get some vaginal lubricant to help relieve dryness. Pelvic floor exercises can help restore some strength and stamina to the area. Try experimenting with new techniques in the bedroom to find out what feels good now that your body is changing. You might be surprised to discover a whole new type of intimacy with your partner!
If you just take menopause one day at a time, it will be over before you know it. Practice these eight daily reminders to keep yourself centered and on track with managing your menopause symptoms. Remember that you’re not alone and that you will make it through this! Menopause really does get better with time.
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