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Menopause and Mental Health

Written by Julia Douglas

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Posted on October 30 2019

 

How Menopause and Women's Mental Health Are Inextricably Connected

There are times when we all feel a bit overwrought. Work, family, and other commitments often leave us with little or no time to consider our mental wellbeing and menopause certainly doesn't make it easier! In fact, it may mean that you are very much more likely to suffer from anxiety, mood swings, low self-esteem, and even depression. So, self-awareness and self-care during these years are crucial to helping you navigate the unpredictable tides of menopause.

Earlier this month, campaigns for suicide awareness and prevention echoed across the globe as we commemorated World Mental Health Day. In the UK, we have seen an alarming rise in suicide rates in women during their perimenopausal and menopausal years, with the Office For National Statistics reporting the 2 highest suicide rates amongst women in the age categories of 45-49 (9.2 deaths per 100,000) and 50-54 (7.2 deaths per 100,000) last year. Why are these figures so high?

Unfortunately there is a lack of conclusive research, we can only piece together a picture of why women may be feeling unable to cope, and each bit of the puzzle is as complex as the next.

It's a sad, sad situation

In an article published last year by the US edition of Good Housing keeping, one interviewee says, "at 54, I don’t feel as hopeful." Mid-life women often feel isolated and unable to keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing world around them. In particular, there is constant sociocultural pressure to be successful on every front, be it our careers and status or our relationships and caregiving. We are expected to defy age and age gracefully all at once. In the midst of all this pressure, it isn't difficult to lose confidence and give in to negative feelings.

Oh, that menopausal feeling

Here's what we do know regarding women's mental health during the peri-menopausal and menopausal years: it's no walk in the park. The physiological changes a woman goes through during menopause not only cause hot flushes, chills, and weight gain but also bring on a plethora of emotional and psychological challenges that make you feel like you're on a hormonal rollercoaster. As the oestrogen level in your body changes, you may experience mood swings and irritability, even aggression. You may feel fatigued, unmotivated and unable to concentrate, wanting nothing more than to stay in bed with a cup of tea. You may even go through periods of sadness or hopelessness. But the good news is, it can all be helped.

It's no walk in the park, but you're not alone

If you are feeling depressed or hopeless, the first step is to consult the experts. When consulting your GP, explain your symptoms and feelings as clearly as possible. The effects of hormonal imbalance can often be misdiagnosed as depression, and you may be prescribed antidepressants when what you may actually need is a little medical help to keep your hormones in balance. Another great way to deal with this emotional period is therapy. It may sound rather overzealous to the average Brit, but therapy is a fantastic way to come to terms with your feelings, and more and more people in the UK are now getting therapy through the NHS as well as private practices.

The little things you do for you

A lot of the emotional bumps on your journey can be smoothed over with little lifestyle changes that can help you reduce anxiety and manage your mood. At the heart of all these changes is the golden rule: good in equals good out.  Be it eating healthier, changing your exercise routine, and adopting mindful practices, every small change you make to your lifestyle can help you stay balanced, energised and calm. Making time for a creative outlet like an art class or short course is another great way to feel good about yourself and stay connected with people. You should also harness the cathartic power of spending quality time with (or even just speaking to) friends and family members who can listen, empathise, and inject positivity and fun into your life.

Another thing to not neglect is your sleep. Sleep plays a massive role in boosting your mood and mental health; in fact, studies have shown that bad sleep often creates a downward spiral of tiredness leading to difficulty coping with daily tasks, which then leads to anxiety and back to bad sleep. So the best thing you can do for yourself is to work on getting good sleep. Come up with a great pre-sleep routine that works for you; it could include some light exercise like yoga, a little meditation or self-reflection, some pampering, or even playing some music and dancing your cares away. And of course, make your bed an absolute haven. Invest in some great bedding that will help you stay fresh throughout the night in every season, and make sure to wash and change the linens every week to keep them feeling great against your skin. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you after every fabulous sleep.

To give your sleep a refreshing recharge, be sure to browse our Cooling Bedding range, created with DermaTherapy® technology to help combat the night sweats associated with menopause.

 

References

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2018registrations#suicide-patterns-by-age

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/a23086079/suicide-middle-age/#

 

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