Hi, I'm Maryon Stewart B.E.M, a world-renowned healthcare expert and pioneer of The Natural Menopause Movement. I am delighted to sit on Become's panel of experts.
Most years we look forward to family time over the holidays, an abundance of delicious food and our favourite tipple, and giving and receiving gifts. But menopause often brings a different perspective to a woman feeling overwhelmed by her inability to function due to invasive symptoms that leave her feeling washed out. Instead of feeling excitement, she dreads the additional demands the holidays place on her at home as well as in the bedroom.
If only we could control our moods, cope with the stress and sleep peacefully without being plagued by hot flushes. Well it is possible. A little knowledge and planning goes a long way, making it an attainable goal for women to feel better, taking the edge off symptoms even in just a few short weeks. Diet and lifestyle are key, as are science-based products that help to calm the symptoms and allow you to relax and enjoy the holidays.
Coping with Mood Swings
Although it’s the season to be jolly that’s the last thing you feel like. Your hormones are running riot and your moods are swinging up and down like a yo-yo. One moment you feel like laughing the next your eyes are welling up with tears.
- Consume a nutritionally dense diet with plenty of naturally occurring phytoestrogen, including soya products and flax seeds.
- Eat wholesome food regularly to get a constant supply of nutrients through to your brain and nervous system, even including mid-morning and afternoon snacks.
- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum for now, even though it may be tempting to drown your sorrows. It won’t help the flushes and night sweats and will lower your nutrient levels, so look out for good alcohol-free alternatives.
- Take a strong multi-vitamin and mineral supplement like Fema45+ to help boost your fallen nutrient levels. And the licenced herbal product KarmaMood which will help to level out your moods, ease depression and make you less anxious.
- Make it part of your routine to exercise four or five times a week to release those feel good hormones, the Endorphins. Even singing and dancing to your favourite music will help to raise your spirits.
- Try to set aside some special time every day for relaxing. Half an hour of yoga or meditation can work wonders.
- Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Share them with your family and friends. Once they know what is going on they may be more understanding than you think.
- Remind yourself that these feelings are a normal part of the hormonal and physical feelings you are going through at the time of the menopause and they will pass.
Feeling overwhelmed and stretched to the point of distress? You can’t think straight. You still haven’t bought the turkey or Christmas pudding, the tree remains outside the door where the delivery man left it, your cards are in a pile unwritten, while your presents are still in a carrier bag waiting to be wrapped, that’s if you have had time to gather them yet. You are starting to panic as you can’t see how you are ever going to get time to do everything.
- Planning and delegation is the route to sanity. Assign a task to each of the family. Get one wrapping, another decorating the Xmas tree, another writing the cards and so on. Cultivate a calm, quiet atmosphere while they are doing it by playing carols or other uplifting music. You will feel the weight lift off your shoulders and who knows they may relish the responsibility.
- Tap into your favourite supermarket’s website and start buying your festive foods online in advance. Don’t leave it until the last moment as you need to secure a delivery spot.
- Work out which traditions mean the most to you and scrap the rest to reduce your workload. For example, go for the fake holly if it is easier, and forget homemade mince pies unless you enjoy making them. Instead, go for the best varieties available at your local supermarket or health food shop.
- For instant stress relief put a quarter of a teaspoon of ginger and honey in a cup of warm water and sip slowly. Alternatively, try the following simple breathing exercise. Take 10 long, slow deep breaths. As you inhale, hold your breath for three seconds and then breathe out in one easy exhalation.
- Use the Clarity Mindfulness App routinely, but particularly when you need a reboot!
- If you need a bit of extra help you can try the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola which can help the body deal with stress.
Peaceful sleep evades you. Apart from your usual jolts from nights sweats leaving you wakeful and with all the additional tasks ahead of you, it’s even harder to get back to sleep. Instead your active mind kicks in wondering what on earth are you going to get everyone for Christmas, how are you going to get all the food shopping done by December 24th and who is going to decorate the Christmas tree? It’s not surprising if you can’t get to sleep at night or start waking up at 4am with your thoughts running around in all directions.
- Try not to take your worries with you to bed. Making a ‘to do’ list last thing before turning in can sometimes help to relax you.
- A warm soya milk drink or a cup of valerian or camomile tea in the evening may help as can listening to some soothing music.
- A lovely warm bath to which you have added a couple of drops of a soothing essential oil such as lavender can help you to unwind.
- Avoid watching, reading, or listening to anything too stimulating in the evening as it could keep you awake.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night take the valerian rich NiteHerb to help your mind relax and at the same time recount your day to yourself from the beginning in a slow boring voice.
- Use the Pzizz Sleep App as it has been shown to promote restful sleep. The code BESTPZIZZ will get you a 80% discount.
You wake up covered in sweat. It’s cold outside so you’ve put on the winter covers, but although it’s lovely to snuggle into when you first get into bed, by the early hours it’s a different story. You wake up at around 3am dripping with sweat and then you find it hard to get back to sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool at night and keep a fan, wet wipes and a cold drink by your bed.
- Use cotton sheets, pillowcases and Become™ Vest and Knickers, made from an intelligent fabric that cools you down, absorbing perspiration and preventing the after chills.
- Avoid hot water bottles and electric blankets.
- Say no to spicy foods and alcohol at parties, as both can trigger night sweats.
- Use alternatives to caffeine, even cutting out decaffeinated drinks as they will keep you awake and make the flushes much worse, sometimes even causing scary palpitations.
- Try to relax as much as you can as stress and anxiety, especially around bedtime, are other triggers.
- Keep your summer weight covers on and use a bedspread or blankets that you can throw off when the heat is on.
- Keep a flask of cold water by your bed so that you can cool yourself down as you awake.
- If you need a bit of extra help you can take MenoHerb in the night to calm the thermal surges.