Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, however many find themselves struggling with symptoms they’ve never experienced. Menopause marks the end of your childbearing years and usually happens in your late 40s or early 50s. While some women glide through the menopausal years, others battle physical and emotional changes. If you’re cringing at the thought of your midlife change, here are six self-care tips to make it as easy as possible.
- Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re approaching menopause and are starting to experience problems, it’s time to reach out and talk to your doctor. It’s important to build a support system and your physician will be able to tell you what’s normal as far as mood changes, weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia and breast tenderness menopause symptoms. Your doctor can also answer all your questions about hormone replacement therapy if you decide to go that route. Also, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a therapist if you are feeling overwhelmed and need help navigating your emotions through this stage of your life.
- Reduce Uncomfortable Hot Flashes
Most women going through menopause complain about hot flashes. Hot flashes come on suddenly and feel like a wave of heat creeping up your upper body and face. They sometimes disappear for a few weeks before returning with a fury. To reduce annoying hot flashes, dress in layers that can be easily removed and light clothing in the summer. Keep a portable fan nearby and talk to your doctor about herbal remedies or hormone replacement if hot flashes are extreme.
- Lighten Up Your Diet
Most physical changes that a person experiences can be alleviated by simple tweaks to their diet, and menopause is no different. During these years, women are likely to put on excess belly fat due to hormonal changes, so it’s a great time to clean up your diet. Aim to eat more fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fats and drink plenty of water every day. Begin phasing out sugar and processed foods, as well as caffeine and spicy treats that exacerbate hot flashes and insomnia.
- Start an Exercise Routine
Even if you’re not an exercise enthusiast, the menopause years are a good time to get moving. Exercise relieves a multitude of midlife problems in women such as weight gain, insomnia and hot flashes. Nevertheless, don’t pressure yourself into thinking you’ve got to make up for lost time with strenuous exercise. Something as easy as walking will improve menopause symptoms. However, since you lose 3-5% of muscle mass each year after age 35, incorporate a weight-bearing exercise a few times a week.
- Ditch Those Bad Habits
Another tip to get you gently through menopause is to ditch all those bad habits you’ve been meaning to. If you smoke, stop! You’ll decrease your risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and make hot flashes easier to cope with. If you consume too much alcohol, it could make your insomnia worse. Caffeine also creates problems with restlessness, but cutting back will lighten your mood and improve your sleep.
- Work on Acceptance
Perhaps one of the best things you can do for your emotional health during menopause is to work on acceptance. Unfortunately, midlife changes can leave you feeling overweight, unattractive and anything but youthful, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out and talk to your partner, a trusted friend or a therapist. Lift your mood by experimenting with new makeup, clothing or a different hair color. Menopause doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom when you learn to take these changes in stride.
Menopause is different for every woman and if you’re struggling, self-care is important. By building a support base, adopting an exercise routine and a healthy diet, you’ll make your midlife transition as easy as can be.