Modern-day living comes with stressful factors on a daily basis. This could include work pressure, impending deadlines, tension at home, and so on. When all of this is combined with the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, it leads to most women facing stress like never before.
A woman’s health gets impacted in a significant way during this period of transition, and anxiety and depression are added to their stress. The worry of getting older, witnessing physical changes, watching their kids move away, and various other events cause emotional changes.
Menopausal symptoms related to one’s mental health include:
- Loss of confidence
- Irritability and anger
- Brain fog/poor concentration
- Low self-esteem
Stress can worsen menopausal symptoms such as weight gain, insomnia, and hot flashes. In this article, we will be discussing stress management techniques during menopause and how stress affects women as they go through menopause.
How is Stress Related to Menopause?
When we’re stressed, the cortisol hormone is released into the bloodstream, which increases one’s heart rate and blood pressure and causes human beings to activate the fight or flight response under certain situations.
Cortisol levels are high during the day, thereby providing us with energy, and it reduces during the evenings to allow the body to relax and sleep. However, the long-term activation of this stress response can have adverse effects on the body.
Here are the ways in which stress is linked to menopause:
Tolerating Stress is Tough During Menopause
Stress levels are high for women during menopause due to all the bodily changes they face, and this stress causes the cortisol levels to go higher, which in turn affects progesterone production. As a result of this, women find it tougher to deal with stress and also experience symptoms like:
- Worsening signs of PMS
- Tender breasts
- Periods that are heavier and more painful
Affects Your Sleep
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is directly linked to our cortisol levels. While melatonin levels are low during the day, cortisol levels are high at this point and give us the energy we need to go about our daily tasks.
On the other hand, cortisol levels keep reducing throughout the day, and melatonin levels get higher, giving us the peaceful sleep we need.
However, when you’re constantly stressed, the cortisol levels stay elevated, impacting the melatonin levels, causing you to get less sleep. With multiple sleepless nights, women find it tougher to handle their stress levels while going through menopause.
Messes Up Your Digestive System
As menopause heightens stress levels, it causes a leaky gut, and larger food particles enter the bloodstream. This causes women to face an increased risk of food intolerances and can lead to:
How to Reduce Stress During Menopause
While it’s not possible to keep the symptoms of menopause at bay, there are things you can do from your end to reduce the stress levels, and they include:
Improve Your Diet
- Maintaining a balanced diet helps keep your body in shape and stay stress-free during menopause.
- Make sure to include a lot of vitamins and minerals in your meals, and remember that whole grain carbs directly impact your digestive system and mental health.
- Giving up smoking, caffeine, and alcohol can bring about a lot of goodness for the women facing menopause.
Indulge in Exercise
Exercise releases endorphins, which uplift one’s mood and aid in getting rid of stress. Even getting 30 minutes of exercise about five times every week can work wonders. You can pick any physical activity you enjoy, whether walking, swimming, or dancing.
Many women also try weightlifting and exercise using resistance bands. The more consistent you are with your exercise routine, the better it will be for your stress levels.
Get Adequate Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is one of the main steps involved in feeling less stressed. Create a calm and relaxing environment for yourself before going to sleep. Listen to soothing music, read a book, and keep all sorts of electronic devices away before going to bed.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Different people prefer different activities to relax. Women going through menopause can try yoga, meditation, and also get a massage as it reduces the tension in their muscles and makes them feel rejuvenated.
Talk About It
Keeping all your thoughts to yourself during menopause isn’t healthy. This is why it’s imperative to discuss it with those around you, be it your friends, family members, and fellow buddies who are going through menopause.
You can also join a support group that can help you have enlightening and informative discussions. It doesn’t always have to be serious talk because even talking to a friend can bring about laughter and peace.
Yes, emotional changes do cause stress to women during menopause.
Yes, stress is known to amplify menopausal symptoms in women.
Yes, maintaining a well-balanced diet helps in dealing with stress during menopause.
Yes, better sleep automatically reduces stress levels.
Yes, exercising is a great way to reduce stress levels during menopause.
There is no way to deny that menopause is one of the most significant life-altering moments for a woman, and the stress that comes along with it is inexplicable. However, you don’t have to feel helpless thinking that you need to live each day with elevated stress levels.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what’s causing you the stress and make the changes accordingly.
If it’s a lack of sleep, then you must fix your sleep cycle. If it’s a poor diet and lack of exercise, you need to immediately change your diet and engage in exercise as many times as you can during the week.
Once you take control of the situation, you can bring down the stress levels and lead an everyday life as possible.